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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.


Gillian FergusonGillian Ferguson (Chair)

Membership role: Consumer perspective

Gillian Ferguson was originally appointed to ACART in April 2016. In June 2017 she was appointed as the Chair for a three year term ending on 22 June 2020.

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. 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 is also a member of the Film and Literature Board of Review.

She lives in Dunedin and has two children.


Colin Gavaghan

Membership role: Expertise in relevant areas of the law

Colin Gavaghan was appointed to ACART in May 2017 for three years, for the period from 23 June 2017 to 22 June 2020.

Colin is the first holder of the New Zealand Law Foundation Chair in Law and Emerging Technologies, at the University of Otago, where he also teaches medical and criminal law. Prior to that, he was a lecturer at the University of Glasgow.

In 2006, Colin completed a PhD focusing on the law and ethics of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. This formed the basis for his book, Defending the Genetic Supermarket: The Law & Ethics of Selecting the Next Generation (Routledge-Cavendish 2007). He has also published quite widely on issues relevant to the work of ACART.


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.


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.


Karen ReaderKaren Reader.

Membership role: Expertise in human reproductive research

Karen Reader has been appointed to ACART from December 2017 for three years.

Karen is a Research Fellow in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago, undertaking research and teaching in reproductive biology and ovarian cancer. She was awarded a Rutherford postdoctoral fellowship in 2015 and a Lottery Health fellowship in 2017.

Karen completed her PhD in 2014 at the University of Otago and AgResearch, studying oocyte (egg) quality. Prior to this she worked in the Reproductive Biology Group at AgResearch for 13 years researching ovarian factors that regulate fertility. During this time, Karen established an IVF laboratory for sheep fertility research. She has a strong interest in both the scientific and ethical aspects of human assisted reproductive technologies.


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 and was a contract analyst and project assessor with the Ministry of Health. Barry sits on the science assessing committees of the Health Research Council and the National Heart Foundation and is a current member and former chair of the Health Research Council Ethics Committee. He currently chairs the Lakes DHB Research and Ethics and Clinical Ethics Committees and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Interim Ethics Committee. Barry has contributed to the recent redrafting of the National Ethics Guidelines.

He is a member of the Auckland Regional Tissue Banks Governance Advisory Board and the Podiatrists’ Board of New Zealand. Barry sat on the 2014 and 2015 National Science Challenge international health assessment panels organised through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and has been appointed to the Governance Committee of the Ageing Well Science Challenge based at the University of Otago.

His research work on ethics in Māori contexts has been supported over a number of projects by the Health Research Council and the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund.

Barry 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 for services to both ethics and the performing arts.


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.