Our Team

Asthma New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation committed to creating a healthier New Zealand, where every Kiwi with Asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) lives a full life.  As New Zealand's largest asthma educator, we have been at the forefront, fighting for a New Zealand that breathes easy since 1965.  Education is the most powerful tool in reducing hospitalisation and improving the way we live with asthma and COPD.  

Our mission is to see a 50% reduction from asthma and COPD hospitalisation by 2029.  We cannot do this on our own so we partner with health professionals and community groups to make reaching, referring and supporting patients simple.  

What we do:

  • Provide free education, training and support to patients with asthma and/or COPD where they need it, when they need it
  • Support families and enable them to live well with asthma and/or COPD
  • Deliver education to junior school students and teachers, increasing their health literacy and equipping them with asthma emergency skills
  • Support High School students as they venture into a world of independence and self-management
  • Deliver asthma and COPD education to Health Professionals
  • Assist Doctors and Specialists by providing asthma and COPD support and education to their patients

Meet the team that delivers the above!


Katheren Leitner

CEO Asthma NZ

Katheren has been heavily involved in the innovation and entrepreneurial sectors and has a number of directorships including, Chair of the NZ Institute of Management board, past Chair and current board member of the YMCA, and board member of Papakura Netball.

Asthma New Zealand - Katheren Leitner

Bekitemba Maseko,

Team Lead and Asthma Nurse Educator (Auckland)

Registered nurse originally from Zimbabwe. Moved to New Zealand in 2007. Bekitemba previously worked in the Age Care Sector and also as a Bureau Registered Nurse. He started at Asthma New Zealand in January 2019 as an Asthma Nurse Educator and he is loving it.

Asthma New Zealand - Bekitemba Lead Nurse Educator

Ann Wheat,

Asthma Nurse Educator (Auckland)

Ann is originally from the UK and trained as a nurse and midwife in the 1970’s at Auckland Hospital, eventually becoming a Practice Nurse. Ann joined Asthma Auckland in 2002, having completed the Asthma NZ/Unitec Asthma course, and has since completed her COPD Nursing Course. In 2005, Ann also gained her Bachelor of Nursing Degree. 

Asthma New Zealand - Ann Wheat

Brianna Hosken, 

Asthma Nurse Educator (Auckland)

Brianna completed a double degree in Nursing and Psychology in Australia in 2002. Since then she has worked in the public, private and not for profit sectors in both medical and surgical nursing, before becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Post Anesthetic Care. She started with Asthma NZ in 2020 and having lots of personal and family experience with respiratory illness, is very passionate about helping clients with Asthma and COPD.

Asthma New Zealand - Nurse Educator Brianna

Grace Fusha,

Asthma Nurse Educator (Auckland)

Grace has over 5 years nursing experience with various roles, including most recently working for a Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme. Grace is passionate about studying and completed her BHSc (Nursing) 2017, PGCert Advanced Nursing Practice 2018, PGDip Public Health 2022. Grace has a strong interest in public health and wellbeing in Aotearoa.  Grace enjoys working alongside her clients to ensure the best possible health outcomes and helping them live well with asthma. In her spare time, Grace enjoys spending time with her family, and keeping active.

Asthma New Zealand - Nurse Educator Grace Fusha

Jen Stevens

Asthma Nurse Educator (Auckland)

Jen grew up in Porirua and moved to Auckland in her early 20’s to seek adventure and study a bachelor of Nursing at UoA. Previously Jen has worked at Starship children’s hospital and had varying roles within the disability sector. She started with Asthma NZ in January 2021 as an Asthma Nurse Educator and really thrives on working with people from all different backgrounds.

Katie Faaiuaso,

Asthma Nurse Educator (Auckland)

Kia ora! I'm Katie and I am one of the nurses here at Asthma NZ. I completed my nursing degree at Unitec and spent several years working in a private hospital before starting in this role in October 2020. It's really rewarding to be able to work alongside a diverse range of individuals and groups in the community to improve asthma health outcomes. I'm particularly passionate about working collaboratively to empower people to make changes in their health behaviours that will have an impact for generations to come. In my spare time you will find me hiking or at the beach with my beautiful family.
Asthma New Zealand - Katie Faaiuaso

Kim Bellerby,

Asthma Nurse Educator (Rotorua)

Kia ora koutou. Born and raised in Rotorua, I completed my nursing training in the Hawkes Bay at Hastings Hospital. As a Registered Nurse, I have worked in Rotorua, Whakatane and London hospitals. Prior to commencing with Asthma New Zealand in 2022, I worked as Practice Nurse in a Kaupapa Maori Health Centre in Rotorua. Working as an educator for Asthma New Zealand allows me to continue giving an individual and their whanau the tools to navigate the pathway to self management of their respiratory health.

Asthma NZ - Nurse Educator Kim Bellerby

Sonia Wiltshire,

Asthma Nurse Educator (Auckland)

Joining Asthma NZ, I have a desire to make a difference in my community.  Being asthmatic myself with two asthmatic children I appreciate the challenges families face with asthma in NZ. Born in Nelson, I have a 20+ year Nursing career working in New Zealand and Saudi Arabia, for the late Prince Abdullah.   The past 6 years I worked as a Triage Nurse whilst being a mum to two busy little boys. I look forward to focusing my time on the North Shore community, educating and supporting individuals towards their best health outcomes.

Zoe Hunt,

Health Promotions Specialist (Auckland)

From South Auckland, Zoe has been passionate about preventative medicine, nutrition, health education, and reducing health inequalities since an early age. She completed a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 2010 and worked as a community pharmacist for the next decade. 
When her eldest son was diagnosed with asthma, she developed a strong interest in respiratory health and subsequently began her journey with Asthma NZ as a Health Promotions Specialist. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Natural Medicine to compliment her holistic approach to health and wellbeing. 

Swarna Hermachandra,

Fundraising Administrator (Auckland)

I joined Asthma New Zealand/ Auckland Asthma Society in 2000 as an Asthma Nursing Course Administrator having completed the Certificate in Business Administration & Computing.  Since then I have progressed to the fundraising team as the fund-raising manager. It is a privilege to help fundraising  with Asthma New Zealand in an effort to help people who can’t breathe as well as they could do if they were able to manage well Asthma and COPD.