Trust Board


Dean Abel - Chairperson


I am 54 years old and am married to Debbie and have one son, Joshua. My wife and I owned and operated Snow Bros Auto Electrical Ltd for 21 years which we sold in 2016. Before this, I worked in the capacity of Manager for Lucas and Repco for 17 years. I served on the Board of Trustees of Tikipunga Primary School for a period of time when my son attended there. I am Electorate Chair of the National Party Whangarei Electorate. I am Treasurer of the Whangarei Community Patrol. I was an Adult Leader in all sections of Scouting for 10 years rising to District Commissioner. I am Deputy Chair at NorthAble Trust and Chair of Encompass, a NorthAble Company.

My wife and I enjoy Northland and all it has to offer, we enjoy getting off the beaten track and meeting the locals. We also enjoy travelling when possible.

NorthAble is a wonderful organisation to be part of. It offers opportunities and help where none were available to families before.

I first learned about NorthAble when we were looking after a young man with a disability, NorthAble were able to help point us in the right direction and get his and our lives on track.

Alistair Drake - Treasurer

I come from Glasgow, Scotland arriving in NZ in 1983. I am married with one son and two grandchildren. I graduated from Strathclyde University Glasgow and am a qualified Chartered Accountant. I am a member of both the Scottish and New Zealand Institutes of Chartered Accountants. I work for the Department of Conservation in Northland and Auckland.  I was manager of the Corporate Services Department of the Whangarei District Council for 7 years.  Before that I was with Thomas de La Rue-Banknote Printers in financial roles in NZ, England and Kenya. I am also a graduate of Leadership NZ. I look forward to new learnings during my contribution to Northable 

Sandie Waddell (MNZM)

I am delighted to be back in Northland after several years working in the Wellington region and particularly being able to be involved again with NorthAble. As a founder of the Northland Disability Resource Centre back in the 1980’s, it is exciting to see how that small seed has grown into the significant organisation NorthAble is today. It is a real credit to the people who have been involved in that journey.

I have been a board member of a number of national NGO’s as well as working both in government and community organisations in senior management roles. Currently I work part time as a lead quality auditor of Health and Disability services nationally.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to be able to contribute as a NorthAble board member as this organisation moves forward in these very interesting times.

Rupert Wakeman

I am a lawyer with twenty years experience practising both in New Zealand and overseas in a wide range of areas of the law. After several years living abroad my wife and I are enjoying bringing up our young family in beautiful Northland.

I admire the amazing work that NorthAble does in the disability area and it is a privilege to be able to contribute my skills to NorthAble through my involvement on the Board.”

Carol Searle 

I am new to the Whangarei area, moving to live in Parua Bay with my husband Don last year. We moved from the Manawatu to live a little closer to our children and the majority of our grand- children. We love living in Northland and have felt a great sense of community here already, and of course it is much warmer here.

I have worked at senior levels in the health and disability sector. I was appointed as General Manager Disability Services in the Health Funding Authority on the recommendation of many families and people with disabilities and later became the first Deputy Director General of Disability Issues in the Ministry of Health. During my time working in government departments, I was committed to making sure that the voice of the people using services was heard and, where possible, was able to influence policy development.

After leaving the Ministry of Health, I ran my own company for a number of years working with clients in New Zealand and Australia in the health and disability sector. In 2005 I was asked to manage MASH Trust in Palmerston North while the Board recruited a new CEO. My three month contract at MASH turned into a 13 year role where I worked with a group of amazing people to improve services for people with an intellectual disability, people with mental health issues and those with addictions.  

I have experience in managing staff, management development, government contracting, strategic and business planning. I have assisted in the establishment of several organisations including writing Trust Rules, policies and procedures and recruiting senior staff for The New Zealand Disability Support Network, LUCK Trust and Take My Hands Trust. I am currently the Chair of the Whangarei Budgeting Service. I love working with people to assist them to develop their full potential.

I have worked with NorthAble during my time at the Ministry of Health and in my own business. I believe I have skills that will complement those of the existing Board Members to assist Noel and his Team to continue to showcase the services and innovation that is NorthAble.  

Stephen Waite


Profile to come..