Our People

National Board of Directors


Kirstin Mead - Chair

Kirstin is part of Callaghan Innovations' Regional Business Partnership. Her role is to connect Bay of Plenty companies to the support that is available - this could be connecting you to specialists to help solve technical problems, helping business access programmes of support to build innovation capability or supporting and guiding businesses through the publicly funded R&D grants opportunities (sometimes all three at the same time!). She qualified with a BMS (Hons) in economic and strategic management from Waikato University

Maria Livingstone small

Maria Livingstone - Treasurer

Maria is a senior accountant with Young Read Woudberg Ltd in Tauranga. She joined the board as treasurer in September 2019


Joseph Wright 

Joseph has spent his adult life in the service of developing people. He now considers himself an agent for producing potential – closing the gap between what is and what can be. He is a secondary science and biology teacher and a founding trustee of the Wright Family Foundation who are cornerstone partners of the House of Science.


Natasha van der Wal

Natasha is a senior solicitor whose expertise is focused on commercial law, property and Maori legal issues. She advises on a range of property and commercial matters for individuals, corporate entities and local government. She also provides advice on Maori legal issues for individuals, Maori trusts, Maori incorporations and post settlement governance entities. Her academic achievements include a LLB and BSc from the University of Auckland. She was admitted to the Bar in 2009. Natasha brings a fresh legal face to the House of Science board of directors.

Laura Sessions
Craig Bryant

Mackenzie Nicol

Mackenzie is a Medical Laboratory Scientist by training and is deeply passionate about science and STEM in schools. She works for the Measurement Standards Laboratory of NZ where she is responsible for strategy and leadership. Mackenzie has governance experience on large government science investments and is a member of the Institute of Directors. She is passionate about social justice, sustainability and climate change.

Laura Sessions

Laura is an experienced higher education and business professional with governance experience in non-profits and small to medium enterprises. Currently, Laura is Head of First Aid at the New Zealand Red Cross where she is responsible for the overall leadership of NZ Red Cross's First Aid portfolio, which includes first aid and psychosocial training for over 70,000 New Zealanders annually, as well as the national distribution of a growing range of first aid products and AEDs. She is also a senior consultant in international education and a freelance science writer and editor who specialises in translating complex technical subjects into clear and comprehensible language. Her strengths lie in communications, strategic planning and innovation. She is a member of the Institute of Directors.

Craig Bryant - Associate

Craig is a project director and principal at Beca. He has managed multi-million dollar, multi-year programmes of work and brings strengths in strategic and complex systems thinking. Craig is also the Board chair for the House of Science Wairarapa branch, having been involved in the formation, set up and running of this charitable trust since its inception.

National Office Staff

Chris Duggan - National Founder & CEO

Chris trained as a Biochemist at Massey University and taught secondary school science, biology and chemistry for 15 years in the Bay of Plenty. Throughout her teaching career Chris had a growing sense of concern about the lack of science knowledge students had when arriving at high school. When she read an E.R.O. report in 2013 that stated over 70% of NZ's primary and intermediate schools lack an effective science programme, she decided something needed to be done. She left her middle management and teaching role mid 2013 and the rest - as they say - is history.

Chris now leads a small but effective team that develop new science resource kits, assemble kits to send all over the country, train new staff and support the growing number of regions establishing their own House of Science trusts.

Top of the Mt Sep 2019

Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles

House of Science Ambassador

“The House of Science model is brilliant – the science kits are amazing and make science accessible for all primary schools. Science is a resource-hungry subject so by sharing these kits among a group of schools it allows access to quality resources covering the whole science curriculum. I feel very honoured to be given this role as Ambassador for the House of Science. I hope that I will be able to help the charity raise awareness of their amazing and important work."