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Announcement of new Chief Executive


Rare Disorders NZ is thrilled to confirm the appointment of Lisa Foster as Chief Executive.

“Lisa has been our Relationship Manager for two years and we are delighted to secure a Chief Executive with such a demonstrated commitment to the rare disorder community,” says Rare Disorders NZ board chair Joanna Lusk. “I am certain that under Lisa’s leadership we will continue to strengthen our vision of systemic change for people living with rare disorders in New Zealand.”

Lisa holds a BSc (Hons) degree in biomedical science, with experience as a research scientist in the field of genetics. Lisa also holds a Diploma in Anatomy, Physiology and Massage along with a Certificate in Psychology and a Diploma in Herbal Studies. She has worked extensively in the New Zealand health industry for over 10 years. The range of her experience covers assessing and facilitating care packages for older people, employment and education support in the mental health area and leading a team providing peer led crisis respite care and transitional housing for youth. Lisa was also part of the Be Leadership graduates in 2014. Lisa has a passion for teaching resilience techniques using positive neuroplasticity models.

She is wholeheartedly committed to amplifying the voice of people living with rare disorders to ensure a truly inclusive health system which leaves no-one behind.

Dr Gill Greer was Chief Executive from March 2019 in an acting position for six months. The Rare Disorder NZ board of trustees thanks Dr Greer for her hard work and achievements on behalf of the rare disorder community over this period.



Lisa Foster will commence her role as Chief Executive from late August.

About RDNZ

Rare Disorders NZ (formerly NZORD) is a connector hub and collective voice for patients and families affected by rare disorders. Rare diseases affect about 8% of New Zealanders.

There is no acknowledged definition of rare disease in NZ, however RDNZ follows the European Union policy which defines a disorder as rare when it affects less than 1 in 2000. More than 7,000 rare disorders collectively affect around 400,000 New Zealanders. Of this number, 50% are children.

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