Te Kāhui RangatiraOur Executive Team

Our Executive Team

Our Executive Team run the day-to-day tasks of managing Mary Potter Hospice.

Tony Paine – Chief Executive

Tony comes most recently from Life Unlimited Charitable Trust, a national disability service provider, where he was Deputy Chief Executive. He took up this role after leading the AccessAbility Group into a merger with Life Unlimited in 2021. He has over 30 years experience in not-for-profit leadership and management working in the health, social service, and cultural sectors.

Tony’s career includes work with the NZ AIDS Foundation, the Christchurch Methodist Mission, and in CEO roles at Comcare Trust, the Christchurch Arts Centre, Victim Support, New Zealand Red Cross, Philanthropy New Zealand and the AccessAbility Group. 

Tony served on the Board of Housing New Zealand for five years, has a Masters in Management, is Chair of the Silver Noodle Soup Trust that runs drama and film making with young disabled people, and lives in Wellington with his partner Bernadette and their two daughters, Sally and Maggie-Rose.

Dr Alex Lavigne – Medical Director

Alex moved to Wellington in 2024 from the United States where he was working as a Palliative Medicine consultant for AdventHealth since 2017 in Orlando, Florida. There, he has helped develop the Palliative Medicine service line for the Central Florida region, assist with quality improvement projects, as well as serve as faculty for the AdventHealth Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program.

Alex is eager to share his clinical and leadership skills with the team and build on the amazing work taking place here at Mary Potter Hospice.

Alex obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biological Engineering from the University of Florida. He received his medical degree from Nova Southeastern University. He completed his Internal Medicine training through Atrium Health in North Carolina followed by a fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in Tampa Bay, Florida. He is a member of both the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC).  He lives in Wellington with his wife and three children. 

Donna Gray – Director Clinical Services

Donna is qualified as both a Registered General Nurse and a Registered Sick Children’s Nurse, with post-graduate certificates in Palliative Care, High Dependency Nursing and Teaching and Assessing, as well as a post graduate Diploma in Professional Practice, with a focus on clinical leadership and research in the field of palliative care. She has worked in a number of management and leadership roles in the UK and New Zealand across inpatient and community settings and contributes to regional and national work.

Donna has been with the Hospice for over 15 years and is committed to the provision of high quality, equitable palliative care for those in our community.  As well as leading the clinical management team, Donna also leads the Quality and Education team, supporting the implementation of the Hospice Strategy, Our Place in Palliative Care.  Donna is a member of Nurse Executives Aotearoa.

Peter Sewell – Director Retail

Peter joined Mary Potter Hospice in May 2021 to lead the retail operations. He brings a wealth of experience guiding the performance of retail and hospitality businesses, and leading sales and service teams to deliver a great customer experience. 

Peter is looking forward to further developing operational practices and working with the team to provide value to local communities through our charity shops and important revenue for the hospice service.

Julie Watson – Director Support Services

Julie started her career as a nurse. She has worked in support services in government departments and comes to us with 15 years’ experience at Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand; first as Business Services Manager and then, as the organisation grew, moving into a GM Corporate Services role where she was responsible for HR, Health & Safety, ICT, finance, assets, and volunteering, with a strong focus on HR.

Julie is looking forward to working with the team to provide the best possible services to support the wellbeing of our palliative care patients.

Ross McLeod – Director Fundraising, Marketing & Communications

Ross joined the Mary Potter Hospice from Operation Mobilisation, a provider of relief services and international volunteer opportunities, where he was National Director.

Leading the development of fundraising, philanthropic, and marketing activities for more than 20 years, he has worked extensively with both local and international not-for-profits. An accomplished leader and manager, Ross has worked in the corporate and charitable sectors with organisations such as Standard Corporate Merchant Bank, World Vision, and Blind Low Vision NZ.

Born in South Africa, he is committed to seeing lives positively impacted, is an advocate for philanthropy and a keen sailor. Ross lives with his wife and two children in Wellington.

Karen Jacobs-Grant – Director Health Equity
Ngāti Whatua Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Torehina

Tēnā koutou katoa, Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa

My career has centred on health. Many of the values, work experience I have developed over time will help me in the work I will be involved with here at Mary Potter Hospice. Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Equity were the focus of my daily mahi working during the Covid pandemic at Manatū Hauora and more recently at the National Public Health Service, Te Whatu Ora.

My management of people, project and programme management experience in both the private and public sector includes national and global sales and marketing roles in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and Sweden. On my return to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2005, I worked at Pharmac, leading different programmes working with whānau and community and national organisations to create, develop and implement programmes that stretched into communities most underserved by the health system. This continued through to working as an Equity leader during the Covid Pandemic.

A Registered Nurse (NZ) qualification was very useful when I chose to travel and live in different parts of the world. I enjoyed living for a few years in the UK where I completed a Masters of Business Administration at the University of Warwick Business School. My husband Michael and I are relatively new empty nesters. Hanna and Richard have flown the coup and are now working and studying in different parts of the country.

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