Debbie is a New Zealand-born Tongan, a health strategist and management expert specialising in projects that address the health challenges that face Pacific communities in New Zealand and in the Pacific region.
She played a leading role in the establishment of the Pacific health sector in New Zealand and continues to be active in the pacific region in delivering specialist health services and building workforce capacity and capability in partnership with Ministries of Health.
Debbie has received a number of awards. In 2011 Debbie was awarded a prestigious ANIVA Fellowship which enabled her to travel to Harvard University to undertake additional executive development study. In 2015 Debbie was invested with the Royal Order Crown of Tonga, Dame Commander by His Majesty King Tupou VI in recognition of her services to the people of Tonga. She was recognised with a Life Service award from the Pasifika Medical Association in 2016. Debbie was also awarded the Pacific Business Executive Award at the 2016 National Pacific Business Trust Awards. She has been awarded the Westpac Women of Influence 2019 Public Policy Award where judges praised Debbie’s tireless work as a leader, a volunteer, and an advocate.
Debbie is a member of the Pacific COVID-19 Ministry of Health Advisory group and the Pacific Health Expert Advisory Group reporting to Minister Salesa. She has recently been appointed to the Kingdom of Tonga Privy Council Health Advisory Committee.
Debbie is currently Chief Executive of Pasifika Futures, the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for Pacific families in New Zealand, Chief Executive of the Pasifika Medical Association, Director of international consultancy firm Health Specialists Ltd, and Chair of “Make a Wish” Pacific and a Trustee of the Fred Hollows Foundation; and a trustee of the Consortium of Tongan organisations.