Board of Trustees

The Autism New Zealand Board of Trustees are passionate about empowering the autistic and autism communities. The Board members have a wide range of backgrounds and expertise with a personal and/or professional connection with autism.

James Le Marquand (Chairperson)

James is currently the Executive Principal of Ko Taku Reo Deaf Education New Zealand. He is a past president of the New Zealand Specialist School’s Principals Association and continues to work hard in the national educational environment to bring challenge, positive change, and creative solutions.

Also, as an ex principal of a specialist school James had developed his schools expertise in providing quality support, teaching and learning for many students on the autism spectrum including provision of outreach services into mainstream schools. James believes strongly in the need for a continuum of provision to meet the unique needs of our community. He has been a long term advocate for our students and families within the education and health and disability sectors.

Hamish Fletcher

Hamish is the Partner of Hamish Fletcher Lawyers in Nelson. He has an extensive track record in all areas of law including, commercial and company law, conveyancing, fisheries and maritime.

Hamish is well respected in the Nelson region when it comes to property matters, horticulture, viticulture and commercial real estate.

He has served on the Nelson College Old Boys Association, the Kahurangi Employment Trust Board, Nelson Softball Association Board and the National League Soccer Board with Nelson United.

Hamish is married and has two children, one of which is on the autism spectrum.

Joanne Dacombe

Joanne was diagnosed as autistic later in life and also has an autistic adult son. This gives her lived experience and familiarity with many issues around autism.

Joanne spent 21 years working for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in the area of monetary policy. In more recent years she has worked part-time in office admin for a primary school before moving on to work more in the disability sector as an advocate and consultant in several roles including working with the Ministry of Health Disability Support Services Consumer Consortium, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Ministry of Education. She advocates as part of disability led organisations while also recognising the role many whānau have, particularly in advocating for their children.

Joanne joined our board in 2015 and is passionate about the difference Autism New Zealand can make for many families and autistics in terms of support and education.

Kimberley Dobbie

Kimberley is a Speech Language Therapist with experience working in both public and private sectors in New Zealand. 

Kimberley has also lived in Vancouver Canada, where she specialised in working with children on the autism spectrum, working at Canada’s largest assessment and therapy centre for autism. She became a Registered Autism Service Provider in British Columbia, and is a certified Speech Language Pathologist with Speech and Audiology Canada.

Now, Kimberley is Clinical Director of Acorn Autism, which currently has two multidisciplinary therapy centres for children and adolescents on the autism spectrum in Auckland.

Kimberley is passionate about supporting and advocating for the autistic and autism communities, as well as upskilling and educating teachers, professionals providing services, and community workers about autism. Kimberley believes in evidence-based practice, and a family-centred approach to therapy to upskill autistic children and those around them.


Wendy Duff

Wendy was re-elected on to the Autism NZ Board in 2020. She was previously a Board Member (2000 -2012) including two terms as President and on the local branch committee of the Auckland Branch for 18 years.

Wendy has an adult autistic son who is living a very content and happy life in a Residential Village in Auckland. He returns home twice a month for a couple of nights, and as parents they are still actively involved in his day to day life. Wendy is on the Parents Committee and they fund for expenses relating to a Beach House which provides holidays for the clients, and advocates for residents.

Wendy was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Autism in the New Years’ Honours in January 2013.

She is also involved in an Auckland autism/intellectual disability working group of professionals and two parents seeking to establish a pathway for dealing with severe crisis management in teenagers with autism and/or intellectual disability.

Wendy wishes to be more proactive in being part of the growth of both Autism New Zealand and the way it can support families, whānau, and autistic individuals of all ages.