NZIWR is dedicated to increasing wellbeing and resilience in individuals, communities and organisations.

As academic researchers, we know wellbeing supports:

  • Engagement

  • Achievement

  • Productivity

And makes life worthwhile and enjoyable. 

We are wellbeing change managers who:

  • Enable wellbeing change in your organisation

  • Build your capacity to make effective change

  • Share practical strategies and tools.


Through years of experience we have developed a unique wellbeing change process that works because it pays attention to your context, your people and your priorities.

We provide cost-effective information and support for the people who need it when they need it.



We offer a full range of wellbeing services
designed to meet your needs.

There is no right door to go through to build wellbeing. Every organisation is different – with unique strengths, priorities and opportunities to leverage.

Our work helps organisations identify their particular wellbeing strengths and devise optimal strategies for change. Through effective planning and review processes, we support you and your team to navigate, and learn, throughout the process.

We help you identify the ‘open door’ you can most easily go through to create effective and lasting change.

Choose face-to-face, webinar-based, or self-paced online training  – or a combination of all three – designed to suit busy people and your organisation’s budget.

Our training shares the latest wellbeing evidence and practices in engaging, interactive and enjoyable ways suited to your organisation.


Our training is fun, gives you tools you can use immediately, as well as activities shown to enhance personal wellbeing over time.

Wellbeing change leaders need ongoing support to chart a course, overcome challenges, gain and maintain momentum. 

NZIWR’s Wellbeing Change Coaching provides expert advice and coaching to those responsible for instigating and sustaining wellbeing change in their organisations.

Choose individual coaching sessions or join one of our Group Coaching Clubs, a unique environment in which wellbeing leaders can deepen their practical skills and knowledge by sharing experiences, support and advice with their peers, and discussion with our expert coaches and facilitators.

Evaluating progress is a vital part of this process. We regularly advise organisations on how to measure wellbeing, assess ‘Wellbeing Literacy’ and the social impact of the initiatives they put in place.

Ask us about our own NZIWR Wellbeing Benchmark surveys and the wellbeing surveys that best fit your needs.

Our team are constantly creating new resources designed to make the process of building wellbeing more tangile and accessible. Whether it’s our range of locally designed Strengths cards and posters, the Bringing Wellbeing to Life podcast, or published books written by our team, you can access these from our Resources tab.

Want advice on resources to bring wellbeing alive? Talk to our Regional Trainers.

We have developed one to three year packages enabling us to partner with organisations over time. Working together to identify their wellbeing strengths and priorities, our Regional Trainers are now collaborating as critical friends to Wellbeing Teams across NZ, bringing about lasting, whole-system change.

Get in touch to find out more about our Partnership Packages and review the suggested Timetables.



Dr Denise Quinlan - NZIWR



Dr Denise Quinlan is a Research Fellow at the University of Otago and lectures internationally on Positive Psychology. She contributes to the development of wellbeing in education and the workplace through her research, programme development and face-to-face consulting and training. Having trained and worked with leaders in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, her PhD at the University of Otago focused on wellbeing interventions in the NZ context. Denise’s work in international banking and management consultancy with KPMG and Deloitte ensure her workplace wellbeing work reflects her understanding of corporate environments. Her work is published in international academic journals and edited volumes…



Dr Lucy Hone is a research associate at AUT University. As well as having her scientific research published in leading academic journals internationally, she writes for the Sunday Star Times and Psychology Today. Having been trained by the thought-leaders in the field at the University of Pennsylvania, she completed a PhD in public health at AUT. She now assists organisations – from leading law and aviation firms, to schools and health practitioners – to design and implement wellbeing initiatives creating sustained and meaningful change. The widespread respect for Lucy’s work is demonstrated by two large-scale projects she is currently running involving dozens of NZ schools, backed by Ministry of Education funding…

Emma Woodward - NZIWR


Clinical Director

After working as a Social Worker with older children and adolescents in East London for several years Dr Emma Woodward decided that the only effective way to support children and young people with their mental health was to get in earlier and teach them the protective skills they needed in the first instance. So, in 2006 Emma changed careers and undertook her Doctorate in Child, Educational and Community Psychology at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Emma now has over 20 years experience working with children, young people and their families to support their mental health and wellbeing.

Reuben Rusk - New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience



Reuben is acknowledged internationally for his expertise in extracting meaningful insights from large amounts of complex data. He has a PhD in positive psychology from the highly regarded University of Melbourne, and has had his research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, the Psychology of Well-Being, and the Journal of Happiness Studies. Coming from a previous career as a professional engineer, he can understand and explain how wellbeing works in ways that make sense using down-to-earth language.Reuben is a great asset for NZIWR because he understands the complexities of measuring wellbeing. He’s also a first rate trainer, able to communicate helpful, scientifically-sound insights in a pragmatic, no-nonsense, and accessible way. An Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, where he has also lectured, Reuben is a reviewer for the Journal of Positive Psychologyand a member of the New Zealand Association of Positive Psychology since 2009.

Adrienne Buckingham - NZIWR


National Trainer

Adrienne is passionate about the benefits of taking a psychological approach to enhancing student engagement and teacher/student wellbeing. An experienced teacher (with over 15 years working with adolescents and their families both here and internationally), she has a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing from the Langley Group Institute in Australia and is the developer of MenFit, a classroom programme for 14-year-old boys, demonstrated to improve wellbeing. She is currently completing her masters thesis using this data.

Faced with the increasing challenge of helping young people navigate the 21st century, Adrienne found that best practice teaching needs to be complemented and enhanced by research-informed strategies for wellbeing to enable optimal performance.

A curriculum leader in two schools and, with the last 8 years spent in pastoral care focusing on behaviour management, student wellbeing and supporting staff, her deep knowledge of school context and the NZ curriculum, as well as wellbeing and resilience, are key assets for our team. Her zest for her subjects and students is palpable, and her empathy and relational skills fundamental to the work she does to support wellbeing teams in schools.

Adrienne graduated from Trent University (Canada) in 2003 with a BA (Hons) in Psychology and English Literature. She attended Christchurch College of Education (New Zealand) which led to her to teach in New Zealand and across the globe. She is particularly passionate about pastoral care and wellbeing.



Ruth is a business psychologist and organisational and leadership development specialist for 15 years.

Ruth has been working in the wellbeing, leadership and culture spaces for the last 20 years of her career, and has had the privilege of working with organisations across many sectors, industries and global regions to partner with them in strengthening their growth through the investment and development of their people- who are at the heart of what they do.  Ruth brings the science of positive psychology to this work as her core philosophy, due to its strong evidence base and the resonance that it brings to any individual, team or system who applies and experiences its benefits.

Ruth is passionate about helping organisations bring out the best in their people by unlocking and harnessing the strengths of their people. She uses her signature strengths-focused approach in her work with clients around themes which include personal effectiveness, managing pressure and change, authentic leadership, management effectiveness and team optimisation.

Ruth has developed the credibility and trust with clients, partners and stakeholders at all levels by providing consistent subject matter expertise and thought leadership along with a refreshing, relational and appreciative approach.

Ruth is an accredited experienced executive coach and skilled facilitator and trainer with an extensive track record delivering across the breadth and depth of many organisations. Ruth thrives on working in contexts where there is a global mindset, an explicit commitment to do this work, an appetite to innovate and collaborate and test new, holistic approaches and measure the impact and observe the positive ripple effect it can have.



Paul’s 15 years of youth-centred work began by running camps for marginalised kids and school retreats in Auckland. After completing a joint BA Social Science & BBus Management degree he began working for AUT, facilitating programmes in schools like the Prefect Training Programme. He was also able to develop and lead the MEN Programme (Males in Education Now), supporting year 10 boys to develop intrinsic engagement in their education journeys. Contributing to the foundation of Dilworth School’s Rural Campus was Paul’s introduction to teaching, as well as mentoring and pastoral care in a residential setting. He then went on to lead staff training and organisational change through the development of Dilworth’s Personal and Social Growth curriculum. Paul has a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing from the Langley Group Institute in Australia and is currently enrolled in the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne.


Training & Strengths Coach

Throughout her life Georgie has been fascinated by what enables individuals, teams, groups and organisations to function at their best. While she’s well qualified (with a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing and one of our strong team of Accredited Strengths Trainers), it’s her eclectic professional and life experience that brings her training and coaching to life. Originally trained as a nurse, she’s worked in property investment, pharmaceutical sales and management, been a hospital manager and done an MBA.

Now studying for her Masters in Counselling through the University of Canterbury, she’s part of the counselling team at St Andrew’s College. Aside from that, she’s a dedicated mother of three teenagers that she recognises as her “greatest source of joy and challenge” and has volunteered for Lifeline for five years. Georgie believes in working in a collaborative, solution-focused and results orientated way. “I believe people want to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives and to cultivate the best within themselves in order to do this”, she says. “I draw from positive psychology to help people reframe problems, identify individual strengths, and encourage client-led solutions that draw upon their resources and skills. This process can be hard work for those I work with, but ultimately it’s extremely rewarding watching them get the results they crave.”



Julie is a NZ trained, qualified and registered consultant clinical psychologist. After an early career spent working in the District Health Board mental health teams (assessing and treating people suffering from diagnoses including depression, anxiety disorders and eating disorders) she became the Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the Consultation-Liaison Service at CDHB in 2006.

Following the Christchurch earthquakes, she then joined the team investigating the psychological factors contributing to ‘broken-heart syndrome’, as part of a CDHB/University of Otago collaboration, going on to become the Principal Investigator on a related large, Health Research Council funded, research trial.

In 2017, however, Julie’s life changed dramatically. First she lost her husband, Paul, to cancer, and then, extraordinarily, just two weeks after Paul’s death, her 27 year old son, Sam, drowned in a tragic rafting accident. Paul and Sam’s deaths fuelled a passion for resilience psychology in Julie as she has worked to accept and adjust to the double bereavement. “My academic career and interests to date, combined with the recent personal experiences, have greatly furthered my interest in the field of Positive Psychology, and the topic of resilience in particular”, she explains.

Putting her PhD on hold following her husband’s diagnosis, she is now currently studying for a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing to add to her Clinical Psych and Health Sciences (Distinction) qualifications. She is a published author, writing in leading academic journals, and contributing book chapters, and has presented her work at international conferences.

Julie’s clinical expertise, her considerable health sector experience, and her personal story that has taught her so much about loss and coping with challenge and change, all combine to make her an inspiring presenter. She works closely with Lucy, drawing upon all that life experience to help others understand the true nature of resilience enabling them to better equip themselves and others to cope and adapt to change.

She is a published author (writing in leading academic journals and contributing book chapters), has presented her work at international conferences, and has recently been featured in two documentaries on coping with loss and change (Accepting the Good and Camino Skies).


Client Services Manager

Sally Murray is known for her kindness, generosity, thoroughness and love of detail, making her the perfect fit for her role as our Client Services Manager. After 12 years teaching at Mt Pleasant Primary we’re delighted that she brings her best-practice pedagogy and deep understanding of school systems to the NZIWR™ team, and her strong relational skills to support our clients.

Having taught at Mt Pleasant Primary throughout their International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) school accreditation, she has had first-hand experience of what it’s like to go through a whole-school system change. “It was great living and working through the gradual implementation of PYP, given that it’s a strengths-based, inquiry-led, transdisciplinary programme. I’m lucky to have experienced, first-hand as a teacher, the changes a shift like that can make for schools, and the long-term benefits too for staff, students and our whanāu community. I’m now totally wedded to the advantages of taking a strengths-based approach, but it’s also instructive to know that it takes time to embed meaningful change across the entire school system – as well as understanding what helped and hindered that progression from a teacher’s perspective. Ultimately, it all comes down to making connections and building honest transparent relationships. They are the foundation of learning, that’s what I loved most about teaching.”

Sally previously worked as the Education Officer at the award winning International Antarctic Centre, and was the co-founder of LEARNZ (Linking Education and Antarctic Research in New Zealand). For the past three years she has been the Exam Centre Manager for NZQA at Christchurch Boys High School. Her love of detail and managing systems has equipped her well for this busy role, coordinating 50+ supervisors and the NCEA exam programme each year.

From 2013 onwards Sally’s interest in strengthening student belonging and character pedagogy saw her become one of a small group of Wellbeing Champions in the Ministry of Education funded pilot wellbeing programme across Aupaki Kāhui Ako. Working with our director, Lucy Hone, she has strived to explicitly implement wellbeing and strengths education in her classroom since. She is currently studying for a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing.

Anna Mowat - NZIWR



Since the Canterbury earthquakes, Anna has been working as part of the All Right? Campaign, actively supporting wellbeing at a community level in fun, light and innovative ways. Her predominant work with All Right? is as the advisor, content writer and designer of All Right? Parenting and Sparklers, a free, online resource of school-based activities which actively teach and support tamariki mental health and wellbeing.

Anna is also working as part of the Canterbury District Health Board and Auckland University collaboration co-designing an app – Kākano (meaning seed) as a CureKids funded project. Kākano was developed to help Canterbury parents support their children with emotional dysregulation. After a successful trial in 2018, a randomised control trial has been approved to take place through 2019.

Anna and Dr Dean Sutherland also co-direct Real Parents Ltd and are South Island providers of the Incredible Years Parenting programmes for the Ministry of Education and regularly present parenting seminars in and around Christchurch. She has an undergrad degree in psychology and has previously worked with SKIP (Strategies with Kids, Information for Parents), the Ministry of Social Development and Core Education.

Anna specialises in child development, parenting and finding the fun in wellbeing training/application – and is currently working on developing a growth mindset with her skiing. Not easy when her three children are so keen to tell her how terrible she is!



Rowan comes to us with 16 years experience in the education sector. Her most recent time as a Deputy Principal (at Otago Girls’ High School) means she understands the challenge senior leadership roles can bring to team and personal wellbeing.  Leading a team, staff, students, and supporting a parent community through change and challenge can not only be very rewarding, but also can test your emotions, energy levels, and resilience. Rowan worked in a number of roles in schools after graduating with a BA in English and Music from Otago, from classroom teacher, Head of Department, to Deputy Principal, and she appreciates the unique challenges that each role can bring. She is highly skilled in Restorative Practice methods from her extensive experience in youth and staff pastoral care, and utilises her knowledge of Positive Psychology from her Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology in all areas of her work. Learner and professional wellbeing through engagement is a special interest for Rowan. She introduced an innovative new Project Based Learning course to OGHS  in response to overwhelming student voice requesting authentic learning contexts. Students who previously did not enjoy attending school, or who could not see a purpose in their learning before, thrived in ‘Launch’, Rowan’s new PBL course. All the research indicates that wellbeing, engagement, and academic success are inextricably linked. In order to boost academic / learning success, you must start with the engagement and wellbeing of your learners. This is also true for professionals in the workplace. Leading change and challenging the status quo in a school or other workplace, from any position or role, can test your resolve. Rowan supports people to discover and utilise their strengths and harness strategies of collaboration, coaching and mentoring, and positive psychology to bring about the change they wish to see, whether it is large or small scale.



Kim has always been fascinated by the science behind how people think, feel and act, and this is at the heart of how she helps people and organisations boost their wellbeing and resilience. As a highly specialised qualitative researcher, Kim spent 20 years helping blue chip companies, government agencies and charities to be more successful through better understanding the people they needed to engage with. Since discovering the emerging field of positive psychology in 2005, Kim has been on a mission to bring the practical application of positive psychology to workplaces everywhere. She brings a diverse yet complementary set of skills that makes her training both engaging for participants and effective for organisations. “I love how a shift in mindset makes such a huge difference to people, and also how across a team it creates a wave of positive change.” Kim is particularly driven by the desire to help increase productivity in Aotearoa / New Zealand and bring greater social and economic prosperity by increasing levels of optimism and resilience. “It’s often on the home front where we are tested the most though, by the people we love. I get a lot of practice in building resilience with my two teenage girls, both for myself and for them!”


Yes I understand that this form collects my name and email so I can be contacted.