Cass Hendry

Cass works as our Community Arts Programme Manager to provide open studio services and workshops in the community. Cass has a background as an arts therapist and has been working in the Health and Disability sector for over 20 years. As a practicing artist and therapist, Cass is currently exploring contemporary ideas and materials from a therapeutic view point.

Lynda Preest

Lynda is the Arts for Health Funding and Trust Administrator. Lynda has a wide range of  contemporary craft skills which she shares with others in the community.  Lynda is responsible for the day to day running of the office, funding applications and all the 101 jobs that a successful organisation needs to run.

Marianne Schreven (Art Tutor)

Marianne was a member of the Arts for Health Board for nearly two years before becoming an Arts Tutor for our organisation. Marianne's lifelong background is creativity in all its forms, and is a practising contemporary jeweller outside the tutoring position. While enjoying being on the Board, she feels that she can be more effective as an Art Tutor working directly with our patrons to develop their creative potential.

Ian Johnston (Art Tutor)

Ian holds a trade in the printing industry which lead to an interest in graphic design, computers and photography.
Through his own creative development, Ian has learnt to appreciate the qualities of patience and respect for the artistic process and hopes to share these skills with the wider community.


Kate Strahan (Chairperson)

Kate runs her own Human Resource Consultancy service supporting small to medium size companies with their HR requirements. This includes developing leader competencies, performance management, cultural change initiatives, recruitment and organisational design. She has worked in the HR profession for over 25 years across 8 industries. When not supporting clients, Kate is actively involved in raising her two daughters, fishing on the Thames Firth, or in the garden. Kate joined the Board in late 2016 and is committed to supporting the Arts for Health programme to enhance the health and wellbeing of all its clients

Melanie Odey (Vice Chairperson)

Melanie joined the Board of Trustees for Arts for Health in August 2008. She has a depth of work experience in the disability sector supporting people in both residential and vocational settings. She has also spent ten years developing educational programmes for human and social services at Wintec. Melanie has a Masters in Social Sciences majoring in Psychology, an MBA and a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching. Melanie enjoys recreational art and writing for enjoyment.

Jay Spencer

Jay joined the Board of Trustees for Arts for Health in February 2015. Jay has worked in the health sector as a healthcare assistant at Hospice Waikato and as a private palliative caregiver. Jay spends much of her time volunteering in the community. Jay is currently studying at the University of Waikato working at completing a Bachelor of Social Sciences with a double major in Social Policy and Women & Gender Studies. Jay reads books from many different genres, uses the hydrotherapy pool and works towards facilitating people to meet their needs to live fulfilling and exciting lives.

Glenys Steele

Glenys has worked in her own employment law practice, About Best Practice, for the past ten years, dispensing employment law advice to employers and employees alike, inspiring confidence in them to deal with the everyday issues of employment. She also coaches and judges at the University of Waikato Law School, encouraging students to be the best they can be. When she is not working, you might find her surf kayaking or launching into a new painting, currently acrylic on canvas.  Glenys has been involved on the Board of Trustees of Arts for Health for over 10 years now, calling it Hamilton's best kept secret!

Jolanda Lemow

Jolanda joined the Board of Trustees for Arts for Health in May 2014. Jolanda has worked as a registered nurse for over 30 years working in a variety of clinical settings including working with people with intellectual disabilities, orthopaedics and emergency and trauma. Jolanda has undergraduate and post-graduate degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and a Master of Arts (Health Psychology Endorsement) from Massey University. Jolanda has always had an interest in art, continues to dabble in drawing and hopes one day to exhibit her work.

Abby Parsons

Abby joined the Board of Trustees for Arts for Health in July 2017. Abby has worked in Communications, PR and Marketing for 12 years, specialising in digital marketing and online engagement. Abby currently works as a Business Solutions Manager, with a focus on technology solutions used in the Education sector. Some of Abby's great loves are art, books and writing.

Sharon Garrick

Annette Eksteen

Kirsty Carruthers

Ellen Warren


In 1986, as a result of funding issues, the occupational therapists stopped providing art and crafts activities to patients at the Waikato Hospital. Valerie Wright-St Clair (Head Occupational Therapist at Waikato Hospital) negotiated with the Waikato Hospital Health Board to make art and crafts available to the patients. Libby Clements (Hamilton City Council Recreational Officer) was the brainchild of this scheme via Penny Eames (Arts Access Aotearoa) after a meeting with Peter Senior from Arts for Health, Manchester, England.
On 13th February 1987 a group was formed with Heather Lomas and Margaret Loughnan on the committee. Rosemarie Biland joined the group as Volunteer Co-Ordinator in March 1987. Rosemarie also worked with several groups in the Hamilton and Waikato area delivering music, singing and musical instrument making. 
On 4th September 1991 the group was officially registered as "Arts for Health (Waikato Hospital) Trust".
In November 1996 the Tactile Therapy group (Massage Group) joined Arts for Health as an umbrella group. The group had an active presence in Wards 2 and 12 (General Surgery), Ward 25 (Palliative Care), Haemotology and in the Mothercraft unit - and other areas by individual request.
In 1998 the Trust began sessions in the Henry Bennett Centre, which took over after Tokanui Hospital was closed down. Arts for Health still continues to provide this service to the Henry Bennett Centre today, along with sessions in the Older Persons' Rehabilitation Wards and the Lions' Cancer Lodge.
That same year the Trust was offered a venue to lease in the community by the Hamilton City Council at Ward Park Arts & Crafts Centre, in recognition of our work. We have been successful in retaining the lease of this venue still today.
In 2007 the name was changed to "Arts for Health Community Trust".


On Sunday 9th April 2017 we celebrated our 30th birthday with a get-together at Hamilton Gardens.
It was great to hear speakers talk about the past 30 years, and a silent auction of clients' artwork was held. A very enjoyable afternoon. We look forward to celebrating our 40th birthday in 2027!
Thank you all who attended.