Resources Events > NZCOM Conference 2018 > Speakers

International Keynote Speakers

Sally Pairman

Dr Sally Pairman has been the Chief Executive of International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) since January 2017. ICM supports, represents and works to strengthen professional associations of midwives throughout the world. Currently they represent 132 midwife associations (in over 113 countries across every continent), with over 500,000 midwives globally. Sally brought to ICM more than 33 years of leadership, project management, strategy development, management and implementation, midwifery education and regulation, curriculum development, accreditation and evaluation. She also brings strong skills in advocacy and diplomacy when making the case for midwifery, whether it be for professional autonomy, pay equity, funding or for regulatory structures.

Sally has held a number of midwifery leadership roles including Director of learning and Teaching, Professor of Midwifery and Head of Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic, five years as President of NZCOM, nine years as inaugural chair of the Midwifery Council of New Zealand, co-chair of the ICM Regulation Standing Committee and member of the ICM Scientific Professional Programmes Committee (SPPC).


Hannah Dahlen

Hannah Dahlen is a Professor of Midwifery in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the Western Sydney University. She is also the Higher Degree Research Director. Hannah has had national and international success with grants. Hannah has published more than 150 papers and has given papers at over 500 conferences and seminars with half of these being invited keynote addresses. In November 2012, she was named in the Sydney Morning Herald’s list of 100 “people who change our city for the better”. She was named as one of the leading “science and knowledge thinkers” for 2012 due to her research and public profile.

Hannah has a strong profile in the profession of midwifery. She is a past National President of the Australian College of Midwives and she sits on several peak National and State committees. Hannah currently supervises 11 PhD and Masters students. Hannah’s research is mostly focused on investigating women’s birth choices and the impact of intervention during birth on short and long term outcomes for mothers and babies. Hannah was one of the first eligible Midwives in Australia and is working in a private midwifery group practice Midwives@Sydney and Beyond in NSW. She was also amongst the first midwives in NSW to gain Clinical Privileging at Westmead Hospital in 2017.



Invited Speakers



Suzanne Miller

Suzanne was educated at Otago Polytechnic School of Midwifery in 1990, back in the heady days of restored midwifery autonomy. In fact as a student midwife she and her classmates clustered around the radio listening to Parliament debating, and finally passing the amendment to the Nursing Act, exciting times! Her passion for midwifery has never waned, and she has spent the last twenty eight years practicing midwifery as an LMC, offering both home and hospital birth options to the whanau she works with. These days she has a small caseload of predominantly homebirthing families, and shares her knowledge and experience, learning plenty in return, with student and registered midwives studying at Otago Polytechnic’s School of Midwifery.

Suzanne has been involved with the NZCOM throughout, working in roles as diverse as being regional treasurer, to core committee member, and now representing midwifery for the College and Council in other collaborative roles that support the accountability of our profession. Her research interests lie in how place of birth influences the experiences of well women giving birth for the first time – as we all know, ‘getting it right’ first time is enormously important. She is really proud of what midwives in Aotearoa have achieved, and loves contributing to what midwifery in Aotearoa will become in our future.


Willow-Jean Prime

Te Kapotai, Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi

Labour List MP

Willow-Jean Prime grew up in Moerewa, Northland. She was educated at Bay of Islands College and the University of Waikato where she studied Te Reo Māori and law. She has an LLM (First Class Hons), a postgraduate Diploma in Māori and Pacific Development. She has a strong background in law, advocacy and Māori & Community Development.

Her work in the community led to increasing calls for her to stand for the Far North District Council. In 2013, she became the youngest ever FNDC Councillor. Willow-Jean became a Labour list MP in the 2017 general election.

Willow-Jean is married to Dion Prime and they have two girls, Hihana and Heeni and are staunch supporters of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding her baby in Parliament made headline news nationally and internationally.

In addition to Labour’s core issues of housing, health, and education; Willow-Jean’s priorities are growth, vibrant communities and environmental responsibility. Her work with young women providing menstrual cups in Northland has become a passion and the stories she hears from these young women highlight the ongoing need to promote Māori and women’s health issues particularly in areas of economic deprivation.

Joan Donley Memorial Address

Joan Donley

Joan Donley (1916 - 2005) was a key visionary when it came to birth and midwifery in New Zealand. Her tireless work led in no small part to the system we have now.

Previous to the nursing amendment act, Joan felt that the role of the midwife had been undermined and could vanish altogether if not protected. In 1985 she published Save the Midwife (New Women’s Press), which charted the history of the profession and placed midwifery in New Zealand within the political sphere.

In 1989 she played a key role in the establishment of the New Zealand College of Midwives. In the same year she was made an OBE in for her work in birth advocacy and midwifery.

Her work placed New Zealand midwifery in a position to be a world leading system. These successes were a result of tireless work and lobbying. as we reflect on these past challenges, we also need to look forward, with Joan’s vision in mind.

Source: Home Birth Aotearoa



Norma Campbell

Norma is the Director of Midwifery for Canterbury and West Coast DHBs. Her professional responsibilities in this role cover over half of the South Island, which includes the largest remote rural DHB in the country. Previous to this role Norma was the Principal Midwifery Advisor for the College of Midwives for 17 years.

Since becoming a midwife in 1981, Norma has held a wide variety of roles in midwifery and has always maintained a practising certificate. Working with women becoming mothers as a midwife is the core of what we do as midwives and is the driver and touchstone for much of the strategic work she is now involved in at this stage of her career. Norma was the inaugural Chair of both the National Breastfeeding Advisory Committee and the National Maternity Monitoring group.

Keeping women at the centre of all that we do, the quality of maternity services and the essential role of midwives within our maternity system have always been driving factors for Norma and continue to drive her within the role she is now doing within the two DHBs she works in.