Counting Ourselves

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team

Meet our Project Team members who do the day-to-day work on the survey and the Associate Investigators who advise us.

Project Team members

Dr Jaimie Veale

Dr Jaimie Veale

she/her

Dr Jaimie Veale is the Principal Investigator for Counting Ourselves and a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Waikato / Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato.

She was awarded a Health Research Council Emerging Researcher Grant for the first Counting Ourselves survey, and then a Royal Society Rutherford Discovery Fellowship to continue the Counting Ourselves project.

Jaimie is the founding President of the Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA), and is an Associate Editor of International Journal of Transgender Health.

Her main area of research is in the inequities and unique issues that transgender people face in their health and well-being.

Originally from Ashburton/Hakatere, Jaimie is a Pākehā trans woman of Scottish and English descent.

Jack Byrne

Jack Byrne

he/him
Jack Byrne is a senior researcher and policy analyst based in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland, working part-time as the Senior Researcher and Co-Principal Investigator for Counting Ourselves. He is passionate about applied research, human rights and ensuring that trans and non-binary people can participate effectively in decisions that affect our lives. Jack’s main areas of research are on the human rights of transgender people, with particular expertise on transgender health and wellbeing and legal gender recognition, including for refugees and asylum seekers. He is a tauiwi trans man born in Māwhera / Greymouth, of Irish descent.
Kyle Tan

Dr Kyle Tan

he/him
Dr Kyle Tan is a Co-Investigator for Counting Ourselves. He initially started working for the team when he was studying for his PhD in Psychology at the University of Waikato / Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato. Originally from Malaysia, Kyle has Chinese whakapapa. His research passion lies in the social determinants of health and wellbeing of rainbow communities, ethnic minorities and migrants. Kyle is a Research Fellow and part of the research team for the Working to End Racial Oppression (WERO) project.
Ashe Yee

Ashe Yee

she/her

Ashe Yee is a Psychology Honours graduate from Newcastle, Australia, based in Hamilton, who worked as a Research Assistant on the first Counting Ourselves survey and has come back as the part-time Lab Manager.

Her research interests lie in the welfare and wellbeing of sexual and gender minority groups.

Ashe is a tauiwi trans woman with Australian Aboriginal and Chinese whakapapa.

Ryan Bentham

Ryan Bentham

he/him

Ryan Bentham is a PhD student in Psychology at the University of Waikato / Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato.

He is a tauiwi cisgender man originally from Te Kūiti of European descent.

His research interests lie in mental health, gender, and sexuality.

Sofia Gonzalez

Sofia Gonzalez

she/her

Sofia Gonzalez is a Master’s and Clinical Psychology student at the University of Waikato / Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato. 

She started working with the team when she was doing her honours and then as a summer scholar supporting the development of the survey questions for the 2022 Counting Ourselves survey.

She is originally from Chile. Her research interests lie in mental health, healthcare, and gender.

Harry Jones

Harry Jones

he/they

Harry Jones is a Clinical Psychology trainee and Master’s of Psychology student at the University of Canterbury / Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha.

He is a Pākehā trans man from Ōtautahi who has joined the Counting Ourselves team for the survey’s second wave.

His research passion lies in transgender mental health and well-being with a focus on youth.

Taine Polkinghorne

Taine Polkinghorne

he/him

Taine Polkinghorne is a Master’s of Public Health student at the University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau.

Taine is a Pākehā trans man from Tāmaki Makaurau who has joined the Counting Ourselves team for the survey’s second wave.

His research interests span human rights, public health, and alcohol and drug use in trans and non-binary populations in Aotearoa.

Cassie Withey-Rila

Cassie Withey-Rila

they/them

Cassie Withey-Rila is an early career researcher for the University of Otago / Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo in Ōtepoti, where they completed their Master’s in Public Health.

Cassie is a tauiwi immigrant of European descent, and has a passion for health promotion and literacy, health informatics, and trans healthcare access.

They attempt to bring a lens of disability justice and anti racism to all areas of their work. Cassie also serves on the Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA) executive committee.

Other staff and postgraduate students and staff at the University of Waikato / Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato have supported this project as reviewers and by helping to analyse the data we collect. This includes Dr Tāwhanga Nopera who led the development of the Kaupapa Māori informed approach that underpins the Counting Ourselves surveys.

Associate Investigators

Ahi Wi-Hongi

Ahi Wi-Hongi

they/them

Ahi Wi-Hongi is Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Maniapoto, born in the Waikato, raised in the Southern Alps, and currently based in Wellington.

They are the National Coordinator of Gender Minorities Aotearoa; the national transgender led public health organisation.

Their qualifications are in population health, with a focus on the social determinants of health.

Ahi has provided consultations, workshops, seminars, and policy advice to healthcare providers, government agencies, and NGOs since 2013.

Ahi is passionate about ensuring equity in human rights, and ending violence, stigma, and discrimination.

Phylesha Brown-Acton

Phylesha Brown-Acton MNZM

she/her

Phylesha Brown-Acton MNZM hails from the village of Fineone Hakupua Atua – Niue Island. She is the Executive director of a charitable entity called F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust that provides Whānau Ora support for MVPFAFF+ & Pasifika LGBTQI+ people and their families in Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland.

Phylesha is Co-Investigator for the Manalagi Project, Aotearoa’s first Pasifika Rainbow wellbeing survey, she has extensive Governance experience and is the Co-Chairperson of the Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN).

Phylesha is an avid weaver (lalaga Niue) and enjoys the communication and knowledge transfer aspects that weaving practices centre.

Elizabeth Kerekere

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere

she/her

Dr Elizabeth Kerekere was born in Gisborne and is Whānau a Kai, Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, and hails from Ireland on her mother’s side.

She has been a Green Party MP since November 2000, with many portfolio responsibilities including for Rainbow Issues.

Elizabeth has been a community leader within Rainbow and youth development sectors for over 30 years. She founded Tīwhanawhana Trust in 2001 to advocate for takatāpui to “tell our stories, build our communities and leave a legacy”.

Her PhD is on takatāpui identity and well-being, and her takatāpui suicide prevention resources are used in health and school settings across the country. She brings Te Tiriti o Waitangi / takatāpui-based advice to Counting Ourselves and many other health research projects.

George Parker

Dr George Parker 

they/them

Dr George Parker is a non-binary person and lecturer in health service delivery at the school of health at Te Herenga Waka / Victoria University of Wellington.

George is lead investigator on a Health Research Council NZ funded study on trans, non-binary, takatāpui and intersex inclusive pregnancy and birth care.

They are passionate about securing sexual and reproductive justice and high quality sexual and reproductive health care for trans and non-binary people.

John Fenaughty

Dr John Fenaughty

he/him

Dr John Fenaughty is at the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work at Waipapa Taumata Rau / University of Auckland.

His research focuses on equity, particularly in relation to schooling, education, and victimisation.

John is a Pākehā cis queer man of mainly Irish descent who hails from Mākara in Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington.

Rona Carroll

Dr Rona Carroll

she/her

Dr Rona Carroll is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago Wellington and a General Practitioner with a special interest in transgender healthcare.

Her research interests are in gender affirming healthcare in primary care, sexual health and medical education.

Gareth Treharne

Professor Gareth Treharne

he/him

Professor Gareth Treharne is a professor in Te Tari Whakamātau Hinekaro / The Department of Psychology at Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou / The University of Otago.

Gareth is a cis gay man of Welsh descent and migrated to Aotearoa New Zealand after completing research training in the UK.

His research is focused on addressing inequities in health and education. He is involved in an array of collaborative work, including provision of Māori immersion education in early childhood, development of support services for people with chronic health conditions, rehabilitation for tāngata whaiora recovering from addictions, prevention of sexual violence on university campuses, and understanding the impact of discrimination for people with marginalised sexualities and genders.

Gareth also has a strong interest in research ethics and the involvement of communities in research.

Moira Clunie

Moira Clunie MNZM

they/them

Moira Clunie MNZM is Te Rarawa, and of Scottish, English and Irish descent.

Moira is Project Lead for Te Ngākau Kahukura, which works to change systems and environments so that rainbow people across Aotearoa feel safe, valued, and that they belong.

They work at the intersection of public health and community development, and have served in a range of community, health sector and government roles related to rainbow wellbeing and suicide prevention.

Moira’s Master’s research focused on rainbow community leadership, health equity and suicide prevention.

Support from Individuals and Groups

The Counting Ourselves survey would not be possible without the support of trans and non-binary people and the groups they run, many of which are listed on our Support page.

We have relied heavily on their expertise in developing new questions for the 2022 survey, including those that look at the intersectional experiences of being a trans or non-binary person who is deaf or disabled, or who is indigenous, a person of colour, or from an ethnic minority background.

Our team is also very grateful to the community organisations, academics, health professionals, parents of trans and non-binary children, and government officials who peer reviewed the design of our 2022 survey questionnaire. Thank you all for that feedback, it has made this research stronger. We hope you will all continue to work with us, including by promoting the survey, so that together we can collect and analyse data that makes a difference to the lives of trans and non-binary people.

Thank you to everyone who has helped refresh our website, including artist Michelle Mayn whose harakeke sculpture, filmed by Kirsty MacDonald, reinforces the poutama design in our logo that Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho created for our first website in 2018. We continue to use many of Huriana’s illustrations on this new website. For us, the poutama and harakeke sculpture images represent what can be achieved by community-led research that empowers our communities, as we seek the highest attainable standard of health and the full realisation of human rights for everyone.

Please help us by liking our Facebook page, sharing our posts, following us on Twitter and Instagram, putting up our poster or flyer, and signing up for our email updates.

If you want a print-ready version of our poster or flyer, please contact us.

The first Counting Ourselves survey was funded by the Health Research Council and the Rule Foundation. This second wave is funded by the Royal Society Te Apārangi as part of a Rutherford fellowship for Dr Jaimie Veale.

There is a lot more analysis the research team could do of the data we have collected, if we had ongoing funding. We want to produce more journal articles, fact sheets, webinars, and further reports so that the research findings are applied in practice and improve trans and non-binary people’s health and wellbeing.

The Trans Health Research Lab wants to support more trans and non-binary people who would like to be part of this research project.

Please contact us if you have funding suggestions or would like to discuss how you could support our work.