Our Board

Di Harwood

I’m Di Harwood and I’m the Chairperson for the Tourette’s Association as well as the manager for Tenants Protection Association. I have a background in administration auditing and more recently in tenancy advocacy. My qualifications include a Diploma in Social Work, a level 4 management Certificate, and I have just completed a Child Protection training course.I also have a 15 year old son with cerebral palsy so I understand somewhat how life is with a child who needs some extra help. I’m keen to contribute to Tourettes Assn NZ because it’s an extremely worthwhile cause and I believe I have some useful management/administrative skills to add to the board. I also have two other girls – 15 and 17 – and when I’m not working or advocating for my son I can be found reading or spending some time in my second home Hokitika.

Hamish Brown

I originally became involved with the Tourette’s Association as a marketing advisor and am now the Deputy Chairperson. While I have no direct experience with Tourette Syndrome, my drive to assist the Tourette’s Association stems from my own experiences growing up with ADHD and discontent with the way in which Tourette Syndrome and other comorbid neurological disorders are addressed by the public and medical system alike. I have a keen interest in music, and while I lack any true instrumental ability I continue to add to my ever-expanding vinyl collection. I’m an avid cricketer, and proudly represent the Old Boys Collegians club of Christchurch. During the week I work as an account manager at an advertising agency.

Tayla Reece

I’m Tayla Reece and I’m the Secretary for TANZ! I’m 22 years-old and I’m a Christchurch girl currently living in Kaiapoi. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have shared a working space with the legendary TANZ founder Robyn Twemlow for a few years and am truly inspired by her level of commitment to TANZ as an organisation and advocacy on behalf of people and families experiencing life with Tourette’s. This is what drew me to join the board, as well as an interest in the not-for-profit sector and gaining more experience in this type of role. I am also the Chairperson of Youth Voice Canterbury which supports young people to have a voice on issues that affect them, and I am keen to work with TANZ to support young people with Tourette’s to have a voice and be their best selves. Keen to get in touch? Email me on tayla@youthvoicecanterbury.org.nz

Lauren Smith

I was diagnosed with Tourettes when I was 9 years old and living in South Africa. In those days it was a very unknown disorder and my parents struggled with the reality of supporting a child with Tourettes and without any support for themselves. When I was young I had a range of motor and vocal tics, some of which became severe during my adolescent years. My family moved to New Zealand in 2002; where I finished high school and attended the University of Waikato. Despite the challenges that we faced as a family, my parents never gave me any reason to doubt that I couldn’t be whoever I wanted to be. As I got older I learned to control my tics, refusing to let them control me. I am now a Registered Psychologist working at the Ministry of Education and live with my Husband Andy, in Cambridge.

I am passionate about the members of TANZ finding support and understanding, not only from the wider community, but also amongst themselves. TANZ provides the means for children and young people, as well as their families, to meet others going through the same challenging struggles. It provides them with a safe and understanding network of people where they can seek comfort, reassurance and help when necessary. TANZ has provided a ray of light to those suffering from Tourettes so that they do not have to travel, the often dark road, alone.