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Committee members

ACART must have a minimum of eight members and a maximum of 12 members.

Members of ACART are appointed by the Minister of Health. They represent a broad range of disciplines and perspectives. Members bring expertise in assisted reproductive procedures, human reproductive research, ethics, law, Māori values and practice, and children and consumer advocacy.

The current members of ACART are listed below.


Alison Douglass (Chair)Image of Alison Douglass

Membership role: Expertise in relevant areas of the law

Alison Douglass was appointed to ACART in May 2011 for three years. Members selected her as Deputy Chair in July 2013, and she became Chair from January 2015.

Alison is a barrister and has been a practising lawyer since 1985, and specialises in health and disability law.  She is the 2014 recipient of the New Zealand Law Foundation international research fellowship and is a law reform project on updating New Zealand’s mental capacity law and practice.   Prior to moving to the independent bar in 2008, Alison was a partner, then consultant, to a Wellington law firm, Tripe Matthews and Feist. She completed an LLB at the University of Canterbury (1984) and has a Master of Bioethics and Health Law from the University of Otago (1999).

Alison is the former convenor, now member, of the New Zealand Law Society Health Law Committee, which provides submissions on health law reform and until July 2014 Alison was co-chair of the ACC Research Ethics Committee.  She was the legal member to the Interim, then National Ethics Committee on Assisted Human Reproduction (1993–2002) prior to the enactment of the HART Act, and is a former chair of the Wellington Ethics Committee.  She has worked part-time as a senior lecturer in health law and bioethics at the University of Otago, Wellington.  In July 2014 Alison was appointed Adjunct Senior Lecturer to the Bioethics Centre, University of Otago.

Alison has published journal articles on assisted reproductive technology, and in 2006 prepared the Report on the Regulatory Framework Governing Assisted Reproductive Technologies in New Zealand for the Ministry of Health.

She lives in Dunedin and is married with three children.


Michael Legge (Deputy Chair)Image of Michael Legge

Membership roles: Expertise in human reproductive research, and expertise in ethics

Associate Professor Michael Legge was initially appointed to ACART in October 2011 for one year with the role of expertise in ethics. When he was reappointed in 2013 for two years he took on the additional role of expertise in human reproductive research. He has been appointed until October 2017.

Michael recently retired as Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Associate Dean of Medical Education and Director of Medical Laboratory Science at the University of Otago, and holds an Honorary Associate Professorship with the university. He was previously National President of the Infertility Society of New Zealand (1995–1998).

Michael was a member of the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (2000–2011). He is a member of the European Commission Ethical Review Panel (2006–present) and the European Commission Life Science Expert Panel (2003–present).

Michael completed a PhD in Experimental Embryology at the University of Essex (1988) and a Bachelor of Science in Mammalian Physiology at London South Bank University, United Kingdom (1972). He also completed a Fellowship with the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (2010), and is a Fellow of both The New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science (1978) and the Institute of Biomedical Science United Kingdom (1973).


Jonathan DarbyImage of Jonathan Darby

Membership role: Disability perspective

Jonathan Darby was appointed to ACART in April 2013 for three years, and has since been re-appointed until April 2019.

Growing up in Christchurch, Jonathan has lived experience of disability having being a paraplegic since birth.  He is an enrolled barrister and solicitor of the High Court who has significant experience in the disability sector. He was a member of the Canterbury District Health Board Community and Public Health & Disability Advisory Committee (2011-2013). He is the current presiding member of the Lottery Individuals with disabilities distribution committee.

He holds a Bachelor of Laws (2007), a Bachelor of Arts (2007), a New Zealand Diploma in Business, and a Diploma in Management. He is employed by Auckland Disability Law as their Community Worker.


Gillian FergusonGillian Ferguson

Membership role: Consumer perspective

Gillian Ferguson was appointed to ACART in April 2016 for three years.  

Gillian has been appointed to the role of a member who is able to articular issues from a consumer perspective.  She has used assisted reproduction in having her two children.

Gillian has a Masters degree in law from Cambridge University, and completed a law and arts degree at Otago University.

She has extensive public policy experience in senior roles in Australia, most recently as the Executive Director of the NSW Office for Women's Policy for four years. Other roles in Australia have included providing policy advice in the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and at the NSW Law Reform Commission. Her earlier work in New Zealand included being an Assistant Crown Counsel in the Bill of Rights team at the Crown Law Office.

Gillian was recently appointed to the Film and Literature Board of Review. She is actively involved in the disability sector, including as a member of the Management Committee of The Family Network.


Image of Dr Kathleen LoganKathleen Logan

Membership role: Ability to articulate the interests of children

Kathleen Logan was appointed to ACART in April 2015 for three years.

Kathleen works for the Children's Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills, and advocates for the rights and wellbeing of all children in New Zealand. Kathleen joined the Office of the Children's Commissioner in 2013.

In the past, Kathleen had a 13-year research career in human and animal reproduction and genetics, graduating in 1998 from Newcastle University Medical School (UK) with a PhD in reproductive physiology. Subsequently, she was a policy analyst in science research and investment for the Royal Society of New Zealand and then a science strategy advisor for the New Zealand government.

Kathleen lives in Wellington with her husband and two primary-aged children.


Sue McKenzieImage of Sue McKenzie

Membership role: General layperson

Sue McKenzie was appointed to ACART in April 2013 for three years, and has since been re-appointed until April 2019.

She has had two careers over the last 30 years – lecturing as a senior academic at tertiary level and a private business consultancy advising corporates and small business clients. Sue has had a long voluntary association with various business and community groups at a local and national level.

Since the Christchurch earthquakes she has relocated to the country and now works fulltime on her Board positions. Her Board positions and responsibilities include:

  • The Medical Radiation Technologists Board - Convenor of the Education Committee and a member of the Professional Standards Committee.
  • Trustee of the Rata Foundation – Chair of the Housing Committee and a member of the Investment Committee
  • Deputy Chair of the Greater Canterbury Response Forum working with the Ministry of Social Development re transforming Social Services.
  • Member of the Canterbury/Aoraki Conservation Board – member of the Land and Water Committee and chair of the Awards and Marketing Committee.

Sue is also a member of the Institute of Directors and a Justice of the Peace.


John McMillanJohn McMillan

Membership role: Expertise in ethics

Professor John McMillan was appointed to ACART in April 2016 for three years.  

John is Director of the Bioethics Centre at the University of Otago. Prior to this appointment he was an Associate Professor at the School of Medicine, Flinders University, Senior Lecturer at the Hull York Medical School (2004-9), Cambridge (2002-4) and Oxford (1998-2002) where he taught ethics to philosophy and medical students. 

He is the author of over a hundred book chapters and articles, including the following that are particularly relevant to the work of ACART.

  • Snelling, J McMillan, J. Equality: Old Debates, New Technologies. In Law and Regulation of Biotechnology Oxford University Press 2016 in press
  • McMillan, J. Conservative and critical morality in debate about reproductive technologies. In The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate Oxford University Press 2016 in press
  • McMillan, J. “Sex Selection” The Encyclopedia of Bioethics 4th edition MacMillan Reference USA 2014 
  • de Lacey, S. L., Peterson, K., & McMillan, J. 2015. Child interests in assisted reproductive technology: How is the welfare principle applied in practice? Human Reproduction 30 (3) 616-24.
  • McMillan, J. 204. “Making sense of child welfare when regulating human reproductive technologies” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry. 11(1) 47-55.

He brings his expertise on policy within New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom to ACART.


Catherine Poutasi Catherine Poutasi

Membership role: General layperson

Catherine Poutasi was appointed to ACART in April 2016 for three years. Catherine is Samoan and has close contacts with the Pasifika community.

Catherine holds a Masters degree in Psychology from Auckland University, and completed Bachelors and honours study at Otago and Victoria Universities;

She is Director and owns Integrity Professionals Ltd. Integrity Professionals is a consultancy business based in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand and Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. The firm’s services include evaluations, monitoring, organisational reviews, research projects, service reviews, strategic planning, and senior management advice, support and mentoring. Much of her work for central government and the community sector has had a health focus.

Before establishing her business Catherine worked in policy and planning roles in central government agencies.

Catherine is a member of the Australia – New Zealand Evaluation Association, the Australasian Evaluation Society, the International Coach Federation, and the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. Catherine is also Chair of the Pasifika Foundation (2014 – present).


Barry SmithImage of Barry Smith

Membership role: Expertise in Māori customary values and perspectives

Barry Smith (Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu) was appointed to ACART in April 2013 for three years, and has since been re-appointed until April 2019.

Barry is a Population Health Analyst with the Lakes District Health Board based in Rotorua. He was a contract analyst and assessor with the Ministry of Health. Barry is a member of the Health Research Council College of Experts and chairs the Health Research Council Ethics Committee and the Lakes DHB Research and Ethics Committee.

He is a member of the Auckland Regional Tissue Banks Governance Advisory Board and the Podiatrists’ Board of New Zealand. He was a member of the 2014 National Science Challenge international health assessment panels organised through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Barry’s current research work on ethics in Maori contexts is supported by the Health Research Council and the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund.

He holds a BSc in chemistry and mathematics, an MPhil and PhD in sociology, a Grad Dip Arts in music and a Dip Tchg. He was awarded the Queens Service Medal in 2008.


Dr Sarah Wakeman Dr Sarah Wakeman

Membership role: Expertise in assisted reproductive procedures

Dr Sarah Wakeman was appointed to ACART in 2016 for the three year period beginning on 2 December 2016.

Sarah is a graduate of Otago Medical School and trained as an obstetrician and gynaecologist in Hawkes Bay and Christchurch. She then went on to subspecialise in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, spending time working in Christchurch and Melbourne, and gained her CREI (Certificate of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility) in 2008. She has been working in the area of infertility for 16 years. She is the medical director of Fertility Associates, Christchurch, which provides both public and private fertility related services. She has special interests in recurrent miscarriage, genetic testing and fertility preservation. She has ongoing involvement in clinical research and teaching of medical students and graduates.

Sarah is married and has three school age children.