Polio NZ

Nominee Biographies

By September 17, 2018 No Comments

Jeannette Aldridge Secretary/Treasurer

I have served on The Board since 2013, Secretary since 2014 and Treasurer since 2017. I am proud of what The Board has achieved in the four years of the five year strategic plan. I remain committed to see the plan through the five years culminating at the AGM in 2019.


Sue Griffin

Born in Wellington, I contracted polio in 1947, affecting my right leg and right arm. I was treated in Wellington Public Hospital, and was a regular patient there for physio for many years. The usual “polio personality” stubbornness saw me graduate as an NZRN & ON. I went overseas for further experience, and spent some years nursing in USA as a trauma nurse, specialising in Orthopaedic surgery. In 1989 I started to have effects from the polio, and was unable to continue in clinical nursing. I was fortunate to be part of a survey by Dr Bruno, for what was starting to be called PPS. I continued in the health arena by creating a business that audited hospitals throughout the USA for federal and state governments. Unfortunately, age and the effects of polio caught up with me, as it does to most of us, and I now enjoy living in Hamilton. I am lucky to have 3 sons, and 4 grand-daughters.

I continue the struggle to maintain my own health and functioning ability, and am committed to furthering the understanding, and available support, for all of us. I know there is a group of wonderful people out there, all wanting the same thing. I would be honoured to represent them. I would like to bring my enthusiasm and life skills to the board. My medical background is a benefit, and combined with my business skills, and ability to problem solve, I feel I would be an asset to the association. If elected, this would be my 5th , and final year serving on the board. However I would like it to be known that I will be away from January 18th to mid May. I will be able to keep abreast of board communications and meetings via the digital program we use, so feel this will not present a problem.

Thank you, Sue Griffin


Susan Kerr

Born in Surrey, England in 1946, I contracted polio in 1956. Schools, cinemas and swimming pools were not closed during epidemics. There were 3 cases of paralytic polio in my school, one of whom, a teacher, died. Although my mother was told that I was very sick indeed, I made a good recovery, having spent 4 weeks in isolation and about 2 months in an orthopaedic hospital, learning to walk again.

My right leg was noticeably affected and I could not run. However, I completed a BA Hons at Exeter University, and a Certificate in Education. I taught Latin, Greek, and English and also worked for the Inland Revenue when work became scarce.

I came to New Zealand in 1974 with my first husband, and I have two daughters and four grandchildren. I completed Stage one and two in Te Reo and Tikanga Maori at Canterbury University and Stage 3 in French through Massey. I have taught at various Colleges throughout New Zealand.

Post Polio Syndrome and Fibromyalgia began to kick in about 1986 as my strength began to wane, and fatigue and pain increased. I persevered with teaching until 2005, when I could no longer stand in front of a class.

I first served as a member of the Board of Managers from 2008-2011. My work included setting up a database which arose from a questionnaire sent to all members. I attended many seminars at an international conference in Warm Springs, Georgia, and reported back to the next conference. I also served as a Director of IPPSO, an internet international polio support group for several years, before the popularity of Facebook, and managed the Picton Stroke Support Group for three years. Since 2015 I have been back on the board again, and have assisted the Secretary in whatever work I could. I see my work in writing letters and policies, research, media, social networking, data basing, and working on the editorial team for Polio NZ News: in fact, wherever my help is needed. I have good computer skills and I hope to develop my work in designing websites.

My pursuits outside of the work for the board include music, writing (short stories and poetry) and genealogy.


Marlayna Zucchiatti

I contracted Polio in 1956 as an 18 month old in a small community in northern Canada. I moved to NZ in 1996 with my husband and four sons.

I have a Bachelor of Counselling and a Post-Grad Diploma in Mind Body Therapy.

I have worked in several social services agencies as a counsellor and Clinic Lead. I have a special interest in how people find ways to navigate through trauma, both physical and emotional.

I have been a board member for the past year and would like the opportunity to continue in this position. I am a confident person and a clear thinker. I believe I can build on last year’s experience to be a solid board member.


Brian Robinson

My name is Brian Robinson and I wish to put my name forward for re-election to the Board of Polio NZ.

I live in Tapawera, Nelson with my wife Dallas. We have 3 grown up children who all live in Christchurch and we have 5 grandchildren.

I contracted polio in 1949 when I was 17 months old. Sir Alexander Gillies told me (when I used to visit his clinics in the 50’s) that I had polio in both of my legs but only my left leg was paralised.

My working life has been as an engineer and for the past 8 years I have been a First Aid Tutor in Nelson.

I have been a member of Post Polio for about 10 years and for the past 2 – 3 years have been co-ordinator for the Nelson Branch.

I am seeking my fourth term on the Board of Management. The last half of the past year I have been the Newsletter Manager overseeing the production of our newsletter.

I have a greater understanding of the functions of the board and where we are headed to for the future. I would like to continue on the board and if I am re-elected, I will do my utmost to serve the membership well.

My wife and family fully support me in my efforts to raise the awareness of the effects of polio.


Yi Liang Small

Born 1968, in South China GuangXi, I contracted Polio when I was about two years old. I had polio in both of my legs, and after countless treatment and surgeries, against all odds I did walk through most of my life without any walking aid until I was pregnant with my daughter Then the Post Polio started effecting my mobility and since then I use crutches and wheelchair to support my walking. It was a difficult adjustment for me from independency to dependency physically and mentally.

I have been a member of Polio NZ since 2012, and also the member of Western Bay support group.

I live in a small village Paengaroa in Western Bay of Plenty where my husband grew up, we have been married for 12 years and our daughter is 11.

After 3 years of study, I graduated from China GuangXi Commercial College in the subject of Commercial Accounting in 1991, I worked in a hotel chain company for 13 years as an accountant then a senior accountant in charge of the finance of the hotel with 350 rooms and 3 restaurants. In China, the Accounting Department is the heart of the every business company, from the day to day accounting data to analysis, accounting report and business financial advice, etc.

I came to New Zealand in January 2005. I worked as an ESOL teacher assistant in a local school for two years. My current job is a Regional Coordinator in People First NZ which is an organization led and governed by people have learning disability. The role requires a range of skills and knowledge to meet day to day tasks, HR management, fundraising, detail focusing and facilitation skill, etc.

I am heavily involving in disability and promoting disabled person’s human rights. I am currently serving as a national board member in Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA NZ), this is my forth year. In additional, I am currently as a Co Chair in MOH System Transformation working group- Market Stewardship, it aims to establish a new support – disabled people has a real control and opportunities in their lives.

I am also serving as a Vice Chair in my daughter’s school board of trustees, this is my last year.
My strength is good at communicating with people, and good listener. Think before I speak. I believe that I am a person who can see challenges as opportunities. I always do my best to achieve the goals set before me.

If I am elected, it would be a privilege to serve on the board of Polio NZ.


Mee Moi Edgar

My first name is Mee Moi, pronounced Me Moy. I contracted polio in Malaysia sometime before I was 5 years old in my leg and pelvis before compulsory vaccination was legislated. My mother was a midwife who did not believe in vaccinations. I moved to New Zealand with my birth sister and adopted family. In my case, my polio is mild but the aftereffects are noticeable as I get older.

I am self employed, currently as a senior business analyst in Wellington. I work as a contractor in both private and government sectors across a wide range of industries in different roles and departments. I have been fortunate enough to been able to work overseas in countries like England, Greece and Hong Kong. It ties in with my love of travel and languages.

I try to balance contracting work with other activities that are unpaid or less well paid so do not work the whole of every year. From my deployments with Doctors without Borders (known as Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF), I have also worked in South Sudan, Jordan (Iraq and Syria displacements) and Bangladesh (Rohingya crisis) on the country management team looking after finance, human resources and administration teams.

I am also a volunteer for a community theatre group,community gardens and Hellenic New Zealand Congress group. My memberships range from frequent flyer clubs and museum to professional affiliates (WIFT, Finsia, NZIM, ITP, IIBA) which help to keep my skills and knowledge up to date.

As a polio import, I would be the youngest member on the board which at my age, is no small feat. I bring organisational skills and “youthfulness” to the group. While I am no tech guru, I also have some experience with IT that will help.”


Brent von Sierakowski

Nominated by: Susan Kerr, MNZM. Seconded by: Barry Holland

I have had wide ranging business experience at general management level at the National Bank (now ANZ Bank) in New Zealand and overseas. I have also been involved with a range of non-profit and professional organistions. I currently act as advisor / mentor to a number of firms particularly int he area of marketing, leadership, change management and strategic planning. Sadly my wife, Janet, passed away from the late effects of polio in 2014. My interest is to assist where I can with the promotion and development of the organisation. I have two adult children and a 5-year old grandson.


Warren Joy

I am a 60 year old with Polio which I contracted in Wellington Hospital around 1958 – 62 since this date Polio has left me confined to a wheelchair. I am married with two daughters who are also married and I am about to become a granddad for the first time.

Employment over the past 45 years has consisted of banking for 33 years, followed by 10 years with the New Zealand Defence Force looking after the medical needs of our war veterans. I have also spent just over a year with my daughter’s accountancy firm as an administrator. My current role is an accounts / admin role with the local Sports Club. I am in the process of renegotiating this contract and am hopeful of an increase in hours.

I have a basic IT knowledge and of the accounting package Xero. Pass Board experience consists of four and a half years on the Legal Executive Board of CCS Disability Action Hamilton. I resigned from this position approximately a year ago to be nominated on the Polio NZ Hamilton branch Board.