Our Trustees

Vanassa McGoldrick – Chairwoman

Vanassa McGoldrickVanassa is a foundational trustee who brings to the Trust a wealth of experience. She is a practicing solicitor and brings a variety of legal, accounting and business knowledge. Vanassa was born with Nail Patella Syndrome, and whilst she today uses two crutches to mobilise, has had periods in a wheelchair and has personally experienced the difficulties in obtaining suitable accommodation. She is passionate about achieving accessible housing for her disabled community.

Elinor Niha – Trustee

Elinor Niha - TrusteeElinor Niha comes on board bringing great energy to the Trust’s kaupapa. She is currently the Chairperson of the Whangarei District Council Disability Advisory Group. She is also Chairperson of Disabled Persons Assembly Northland and on the CCS Local Advisory Committee.

Elinor has Cerebral Palsy and mobilises using two crutches or a mobility scooter. She has personally experienced the housing issues that arise in terms of accessibility and has a good understanding of the issues our Trust faces in providing accessible and affordable housing. She is an active member in the disabled community having started her own business called CreateAbilities whose focus is on the disabled community.

Carolyn Passmore – Trustee

Carolyn Passmore - TrusteeCarolyn is a Trustee who joined the board in December 2018. Carolyn has lived with tetraplegia following a spinal cord injury in 2006. She uses a powerchair to mobilise and knows first-hand the difficulties that can be encountered when trying to find an accessible rental initially in Christchurch and again upon her move with her husband to Upper Hutt in 2009.

In 2016, she was involved in the planning and building of their own wheelchair accessible home here in Whangarei, so is familiar with the process of building an accessible home.

Carolyn is a foundation member of the Burwood Academy Consultation Committee, a member of the Spinal Cord Injury and Chronic Pain Consumer Leadership Groups with Burwood Academy of Independent Living in Christchurch. She is an ambassador for the Catwalk Trust which raises money to fund research to cure spinal cord injury and was also a committee member with Riding for the Disabled in Upper Hutt prior to her move back to her hometown of Whangarei. Carolyn worked for Otago University as a research assistant for a spinal cord injuries research project.

Kevin Anderson – Trustee

Kevin has been involved with the trust since 2015 while has working as the Senior Coordinator of the Youth and Adults team of CCS Disability Action, based in Whangarei.

Prior to joining CCS Disability Action, Kevin worked for the Brain Injury Association as a Field Officer for seven years. He also worked for IHC for seven years in the 1980’s at the time that many of the larger institutions were closing down and much of this work was supporting people to transition from institution living, to a community setting. Added to his time at CCS Disability Action, this means he has over 20 years experience in the disability sector. He was also an enrolled nurse and worked in a hospital setting for five years.

Kevin has worked extensively alongside people with disabilities, supporting them to achieve their goals, including furthering their education, finding a job, or a home to live in. This gives Kevin first hand insight into the difficulties that mobility-impaired people face when looking for accommodation that incorporates accessible design, along with being affordable and sustainable.

Carol-Ann Porter – Vice Chairwoman

Carol-Ann Porter - TrusteeCarol-Ann joined the WAHT in September 2020 and has been a member of the CCS since she was young.

Carol-Ann’s work history includes Case Management for people who sustained injuries in the work place. This included all aspects of rehabilitation and back to work programmes, or sourcing alternative employment where a return to work was not possible. She has a Graduate Degree in Law and Legal Reasoning and worked as an Enrolled Nurse for many years.

Carol-Ann was born with Congenital Hip Dysplasia and has undergone over 50 surgeries, including bi-lateral hip and knee replacements and many hip revisions. She sustained a crush fracture to her spine in her early working life and mobilises with crutches and a mobility scooter for shopping and distance travel.

Carol-Ann’s past has given her insight into the challenges of living with a permanent disability and the strength required to face a decrease in mobility and function as her physical condition deteriorates. Carol-Ann is able to maintain her independence with an accessible home and home help services. She understands that many are not so fortunate and says: “The WAHT provides a vital service to people in the disabled community by providing accessible homes which enable them to maintain a measure of independence and achieve their own personal goals”.

Susanne Scanlen – Trustee

Susanne is a foundational trustee and returned to the Trust in 2024 after a gap of 16 years. As the inaugural Chairwoman in 2006 the Trust embarked on its journey by retrofitting eight houses. The Trust is now nearing owning 37 houses/units. Susanne is very impressed with the Trust’s development and progress as a high performing social housing provider focused at meeting the accessible housing needs of the disability community.

Susanne has been hearing impaired since birth along with the vast majority of her family members. She has an indepth understanding and experience of the disability services sector and her roles have included being an initial Health and Disability Consumer Advocate in Whangarei, General Manager of Northland Disabilities Resource Centre, inaugural Chair of Tiaho Trust, and Secretary of DPA Northland. Up to 2021 she managed the portfolio of home and community support services and
residential services funded by Northland DHB, and since then has been contracted by Health NZ to
carry out a range of projects within Ageing Well services. She looks forward to being part of the
Trust’s ongoing journey as it continues to develop and deliver affordable and accessible housing.


The Trust thanks and bids farewell to Trustees: Auriole Ruka and John Povey and Linda-Kim Silvey.