Meet the Team

Medical Team

There are seven doctors in the medical team at Te Omanga Hospice. They are part of the larger hospice Multidisciplinary Team that guides patient care. There is a hospice doctor available on call 24/7 to give phone advice to both the hospice nurses and to doctors in the community, the Hutt Hospital and the Wairarapa. The hospice doctors will also visit patients across all the sites where Te Omanga delivers care, as well as review patients under the care of the hospice at the hospice Outpatient Clinic.

Team Leaders

The medical services staff are led by a wonderful team of experienced, highly educated, and in many cases long serving, clinicians. We introduce them to you here.

Denise Walsh

Team Leader Community Palliative Care Service

I have worked as a specialist Palliative Care Nurse with Te Omanga Hospice for 33 years and have been the coordinator/leader of the Community Nursing Service for the last 18 years.

I am passionate about the Te Omanga model of care. It enables patients to remain at home to die supported by their families, secure in the knowledge that a Te Omanga nurse or doctor is available 24 hours a day to respond to their needs.

I believe that clinical leadership is embedded in the culture of the organisation. It encompasses, among other things, mutual respect for patients, families and colleagues and ensures that good patient outcomes are directly related to sound clinical leadership.

Dr Ian Gwynne-Robson

Medical Director


I have been the Medical Director at Te Omanga Hospice since November 2011. I joined the medical team as a Palliative Medicine Specialist in March 2008. I completed my medical degree at the University of Toronto.

I completed my post-graduate training in Family Medicine in Canada where I practiced in Family Medicine and Palliative Care for 10 years before moving to NZ in 2003. I trained as a Palliative Medicine Specialist in New Zealand.

Eleanor Barrett

Team Leader Occupational Therapy

My role at the hospice is to enable patients to maintain their independence for as long as possible and to help their family members provide care when needed. Part of this includes teaching families how to help their loved one to move around so that no one gets hurt in the process. I spend a lot of time talking about the practicalities of caring and finding ways for families to manage the varied tasks involved.

I studied Occupational Therapy at Cardiff University in Wales. On completing my qualification I worked on hospital wards for 5 years then moved into a community team with an emphasis on falls prevention. I came to New Zealand in 2007 and worked briefly at Capital and Coast DHB. I then moved to a Private Care Agency team working with elderly people. I helped them to maintain their independence so they could stay in their own homes.

In 2012 I joined the hospice team working three days a week. I am currently studying towards a Post Graduate Certificate in Health Science focused on the manual handling of patients.

Heather Spence

Nurse Practitioner Palliative Care – Primary

NP, RN, BN, PG Cert Palliative Care, MN (Clinical)

I spent 24 years working as a nurse in the United Kingdom and the last 8 years nursing in New Zealand. I am an experienced clinician and recently became a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner.

I am committed to improving access to Palliative Care in the community setting to those who need it – regardless of diagnosis. I want to see improved health outcomes through the delivery of high quality and efficient care across a range of providers. I want to support and empower primary healthcare providers while maintaining the ethic of care. If we optimise primary and specialist services, it will enable a full and complementary provision of services that will maximise benefits for patients.

Kate Gellatly

Clinical Nurse Specialist - Residential Care

NZRN, MA (Appl) Nursing

I have worked at Te Omanga for over 28 years and have held many roles during this time. My current role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist is to support residents living in Residential Care, and their families. I am also working to build capacity among Residential Care staff and GPs in the delivery of palliative care. I have always regarded education as pivotal to my role and I use both a formal and informal approach. I believe that for learning to take place, people must know that they are valued and their work is appreciated.

My vision is to integrate hospice philosophy and care into all Residential Care facilities. I believe it is important to ensure that all people, wherever they are, have equal access to care to enable a peaceful and dignified death. I am a strong advocate for supporting, mentoring and valuing the work of my colleagues in Residential Care.

Mary Death

Director of Nursing and Clinical Support Services

I have been in the role of Director of Nursing at Te Omanga Hospice since April 2013.

I have a 20 year history of Palliative Care Nursing that includes qualifications in Advanced Nursing in Palliative Care, Certificate in Hospice Palliative Care and thesis level of Masters of Applied Nursing (not yet completed).  I also have management experience.

My care is patient-focused and I value the individuality of each person’s need to retain their uniqueness throughout their journey and illness.

I am privileged to work with people during an incredibly intimate and often challenging time in their lives. Hospice patients facing a life limiting condition often have to deal with a range of issues and needs. These can be exacerbated due to the short time they may have to address them. Knowing I may have assisted in easing their way through this time cannot be measured in words.

I work with an experienced, compassionate and multi-talented team whose daily adherence and delivery of the Te Omanga Values of Compassion, Respect, Learning and Partnership, ensure patients and their whānau experience the highest level of care.

Peter Godden-Steele

Inpatient Unit Manager

DipHE, BSC (Hons), MA (Appl) Nursing

I have worked as the Inpatient Unit Manager at Te Omanga Hospice since 2013. I am a registered nurse with over 10 years’ experience in medical, oncology and haematology, supported by a strong academic background.

The Te Omanga philosophy of care is important to me. My goal is to ensure that our values are translated into expert care through the skills of the nursing, medical, and family support teams.

I believe that clinical leadership should be demonstrated through role modelling, encouraging quality improvement, and maintaining high standards. We want our patients to feel safe and secure when they stay with us.

Raelee Jensen

Clinical Nurse Educator

Masters of Palliative Care

I have worked in Palliative Care for over 20 years. I gained my Masters of Palliative Care through Flinders University in Australia. For the past 12 years I have worked at Te Omanga Hospice as Clinical Nurse Educator. My role is primarily around promoting increased knowledge and innovation within palliative care to the clinical team at Te Omanga.

With the help of my team I design and coordinate the delivery of the hospice education programme. This is available throughout the year to both health professionals and others interested in increasing their knowledge of palliative care.

I have also done voluntary work in India assisting and implementing nursing programmes and supporting new initiatives in palliative care.