This group makes up the governance and management function of Cleft New Zealand Inc. as well as delivering our regional services. They provide strategic leadership, stewardship, external relations and board management, following the rules as set down in the organisation’s Constitution.

We are an Incorporated Society which is a ‘membership-driven’ organisation, and as an Incorporated Society we represent the experiences, views and opinions of our members. Our members represent a community of people who are touched in some way by an individual born with a cleft lip and/or palate.

The Cleft New Zealand Board

Andrew Acton–Adams (Chairperson)

Andrew is a Chartered Accountant and father to 2 children. Andrew’s oldest was born with an incomplete bilateral cleft lip and soft palate in 2013. During the early stages Andrew and Nicky were extremely grateful for the support that Cleft NZ provided and is excited to contribute to the Cleft community going forwards. Andrew and Nicky also coordinate the Coffee Groups in Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty region. Andrew can be contacted by email at

Allison Brown (Secretary)

Allison is a stay at home mum to three children. Allison’s middle child was born with a bi-lateral cleft lip and palate in 2012. Allison has experienced the cleft services in both Auckland and her native Australia, with particular emphasis on speech therapy (and more speech therapy!). Prior to having children Allison worked as a lawyer in both Australia and London, but is very happy to now call New Zealand home with her kiwi husband. Allison is based in Auckland and can be contacted on or 0800 425 338.

Lisa Kennedy

I’m Lisa Kennedy, I was born in the UK with a cleft palate and my three children were also born with cleft palates and Pierre Robins sequence.. We have since been diagnosed with Sticklers Syndrome which affect retina detachments, early onset arthritis, hypermobility, hearing, myopia. I am a DHB midwife and have been teaching midwives and SCBU nurses how to care for cleft babies and how to refer to the Tertiary hospital. I joined the board of Clef tNZ this year and attended Australasian Cleft Lip and Plate conference in Sydney this year, to represent Cleft NZ. I hope Cleft NZ is able to support you and your whanau on your cleft journey.

Jemma Cookson

I’m a stay-at-home mum to two beautiful children who were both born with a cleft lip & palate. I joined the board in 2018 to help network families in the Otago region and also to contribute back to our wonderful cleft community at large. My children were born with a condition called van der Woude syndrome; so I have a particular interest in genetic causes for cleft lip & palate and supporting families through this. I look forward to getting to know some of you at our Dunedin coffee groups, and sharing our stories in the Facebook support group.

Tracy Harlowe (Facebook moderator)

I’m a stay at home mum of 3 children. My youngest son Ethan was born with a unilateral right cleft lip & palate and he’s now a bubbly and spontaneous school kid.

I have a huge passion for Cleft NZ and the support via social media I received from all the families during my new experiences dealing with Ethan’s cleft.

I’m based in West Auckland and my role as a Cleft NZ Board member is to support families on social media on our closed facebook page as well as organising Auckland coffee group catch ups.

Genevieve Boyer

Genevieve is an ex-registered nurse now full-time diabetes product specialist looking after the lower north island of New Zealand. She lives in Wellington with her husband and two daughters.

Genevieve’s husband was born with a cleft palate only and their youngest was born with a bilateral cleft palate only. Since then their daughter has also been diagnosed with Van der Woude syndrome. At the start they both relied on the “blue book”, the Cleft NZ website and the closed Facebook group page. Genevieve also occasionally went to coffee groups.

Because of this support and ongoing cleft care that her daughter requires, Genevieve now wants to help support Cleft NZ in any way that she can. Genevieve can be contacted by email at

If you require any further specific information please email

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