Advancing cancer care for 12-24 year olds


The AYA Cancer Network Aotearoa : A Membership Organisation 


The network connects hands-on health care and support providers from many disciplines and organisations to improve AYA cancer services in New Zealand.


The Network  provides a forum for nurses, doctors, social workers, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists, dieticians, educators, counselors, other allied health professionals and patient and whānau support providers to  find new and innovative ways of delivering care to 12-24 year olds with cancer.


At the heart of the Network’s endeavors is open communication, cross-agency and sector collaboration and information sharing. This transparency strengthens linkages between organisations, disciplines and regions to ensure the best interests of young people are met, regardless of where they access health care and support.


The Network is resourced by the Ministry of Health to provide clinical guidance and project management expertise to translate the ideas and knowledge of passionate practitioners into implementable, national solutions.


The Network uses small working groups of health and non-government organisation (NGO) sector specialists to examine specific issues and develop best-practice advice to guide service delivery across the country.


The Network welcomes participation of young people, their  and whānau anyyone involved in the delivery of care to 12-24 year olds with cancer in New Zealand. This includes medical, nursing, allied health and NGO front line support providers. 



Network Leadership 

Heidi Watson
Clinical Leader 

The Clinical Leader is responsible for providing clinical leadership and national oversight of the network . 

Heidi is a passionate and experienced health professional with a strong clinical, education and leadership background. Her enthusiasm for, and commitment to youth health has focused on improving the outcomes of youth with cancer and chronic health conditions. Previously, Heidi held the position of AYA Cancer Nurse Specialist for Auckland District Health Board. Alongside her AYA clinical leadership role she holds a youth health academic position at the University of Auckland.

Richard Sullivan
Chair of the Governance Group 

The Chair is responsible for guiding the Governance Group to develop a national strategic direction for  the network.  

Richard is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at Auckland Hospital, Director Cancer and Blood Directorate, Director Cancer Outcomes Auckland District Health Board and Director of the Northern Cancer Network. He is Medical Director at Canopy Cancer Care and the current Chair of the National Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Network. Richard completed his medical training at the University of Otago and was awarded FRACP in 2004. He works as a Medical Oncologist and is Principal investigator in many clinical trials in his area of expertise - Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma.

Tristan Pettit 
Chair for AYA Standards of Care 

The Standards of Care Chair is responsible for providing the clinical leadership to the development of the AYA Standards of Care. 

Tristan is a paediatric oncologist from Christchurch. His interest in AYA oncology grew from witnessing first-hand the barriers in care that exist for this patient group. Tristan is a member of the AYA oncology team at Christchurch Hospital and worked with the Sydney Youth Cancer Service during his fellowship training. He played a critical role in the leadership of the Standards of Care Working Group, ensuring relevant, representative and measurable Standards of Care were developed for AYA oncology patients in New Zealand.

Rochelle Moss
Programme Coordinator 

The Programme Coordinator is responsible for providing oversight, support and guidance to the planning, implementing and maintaining of network projects and initiatives.

Rochelle has a nursing and research project management background. Her most recent role was as the Project Manager at the University of Auckland managing three studies exploring outcomes for young people with cystic fibrosis.

Rochelle has completed a postgraduate diploma in youth health (distinction) and is undertaking her thesis at present looking at the transition process from paediatric to adults for young people with chronic health conditions.

Governance Group 


A governance group of senior-level specialists and sector experts are responsible for setting the national strategic direction for AYA Cancer Services in New Zealand. They will ensure the projects and activities undertaken by the Network both inform and support the high level objectives of the network.


The Governance Group includes:

Karyn Bycroft                                   Paediatric Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Auckland DHB

David Hamilton                               Radiation Oncologist, Capital & Coast DHB

Anna Hocquard                               Consumer Representative, CanTeen New Zealand

Natalie James                                  National Nurse Lead - Cancer Nurse Coordinator Initiative and Clinical Advisor Cancer Services, MOH

George Laking                                  Medical Oncologist, Auckland DHB

Kiki Maoate                                       Paediatric Surgeon, Canterbury DHB

Scott MacFarlane                           Paediatric Oncologist, Auckland DHB, National Clinical Lead, NCCN and Clinical Advisor Cancer Services, MOH

Ellyn Proffit                                       AYA Keyworker, Waikato DHB

Rosemary Simpson                       FCT Service Manager, Capital & Coast DHB

Ruth Spearing                                 Haematologist/Clinical Lead of Canterbury AYA Cancer Service, Canterbury DHB

Richard Sullivan                             Medical Oncologist, Director of Northern Cancer Network and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Auckland DHB

Claudine Young                              Acting Chief Executive, CanTeen New Zealand

Tristan Pettit                                    Peadiatric Oncologist, Canterbury DHB and Chair of the AYA Standards of Care Working Group, AYA Cancer Network