Chief Executive and Committee Presidents


Debra Elgar

Central Districts Division, Chief Executive

With an extensive background and career in the health sector and experience in management and consulting; Cancer Society Central Districts newly appointed Chief Executive Debra Elgar is well qualified for the role.

Her association with the Cancer Society isn’t new, having first become involved with the charity during her 20s when training as a nurse in Wellington; she recalls her nursing class being visited by a representative from Cancer Society Wellington, on a volunteer recruitment drive “It seemed a really good idea at the time, so I joined, and now, well quite a few years later, I’m still involved” she said.

She has spent time serving on the Wanganui Centre executive committee and has also held positions on the Central Districts Divisional executive.

Dr Gary Forgeson

Dr Gary Forgeson

Central Districts Division Committee President

Dr Garry Forgeson has been a consultant medical oncologist at the Regional Cancer Treatment Centre for 27 years. He has been President of the Central Districts Division for 15 years and member of the CSNZ National Board for 13 years. Prior to that he was President of Manawatu Centre and has been a member of several cancer-related national committees including the Cancer Control Council of NZ. Currently he is a member of the National Cancer Treatment Advisory Group, and chair of the Medical Oncology Work Group.

He has been involved in and strongly influenced the development of the Cancer Society and cancer services in this region and nationally; and has taken a leading part in the introduction of the cancer control concept throughout New Zealand and in the production of a number of national publications and recommendations to improve cancer treatment.

Pamela Murphy

Pamela Murphy

Gisborne Executive Committee President

Pamela was appointed to the position of Trustee in February 2014 and was additionally appointed to be a Gisborne Centre representative on the Central Districts Executive. Since that time Pamela been appointed onto the Central Districts sub-committee to overview/make scholarship allocations.
Pamela took up the role Chair of the Gisborne Centre Trust in July 2015. Pamela has had a long history of community involvement including time spent on the Gisborne District Council .
Other voluntary positions held in the district are:
• St John Te Karaka – Chair
• Matawai Community Health Committee – Chair

Alison  Rumball

Alison Rumball

Taranaki Executive Committee Acting President

I have had a long association with the Taranaki Cancer Society Centre, primarily as an elected Member of the Executive Board.

I have also been a regular volunteer for Daffodil Day, Relay for Life and as an Executive member of the Central Districts Cancer Society which includes representatives from Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu , Whanganui and our own Cancer Society Centre here in Taranaki.

I believe strongly in the quality services provided by our Centre to assist people who are affected by cancer and also the support programmes for all their whanau and caregivers.

It is important that knowledge about these services including education programmes, research funding and the focus on wellbeing during a cancer journey are well known and promoted throughout our Taranaki province.

He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

What is the most important thing in the world?

It is people, it is people, it is people

Graeme Baker

Graeme Baker

Wanganui Executive Committee President

I have been involved with the Wanganui Centre of the Cancer Society
for over 10 years now and assist them on the Financial side of things
being their Chair of Finance for a number of years now. I was voted in
as President in 2014.

I have been involved with community organisations all of my
working life and with Central Districts Division of the Cancer Society
for a number of years.

I operate a small electrical contracting firm in Wanganui with my wife Marie who is also very active in the Wanganui Cancer Society Centre.

Melissa  Horsefield

Melissa Horsefield

Hawke's Bay Executive Committee President

Melissa Horsefield was appointed as President of the Hawke’s Bay Centre in August 2018. Prior to this she joined the Hawke’s Bay Executive as a committee member in June 2017.

Along with representing the centre on the Central District’s Executive Committee she also sits on the Finance and Risk Committee for the division.

Melissa is a qualified accountant and member of the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand.

She has a passion for Hawke's Bay and strongly believes in readily accessible cancer support services for anyone affected by cancer.

John  Waldon PhD (Massey), MPH (Otago)

John Waldon PhD (Massey), MPH (Otago)

Manawatu Executive Committee President

John has been a member of the Manawatu Executive Committee of the Cancer Society since 1999, since then he was invited to serve as a member of Cancer Control NZ (5 years) and was a member of the Cancer Society’s Scientific and National Health Promotion Committees. John was awarded a life membership in 2008. John also has an interest in children’s rights and assisted the preparation of three NGO reports on the status of New Zealand children to the United Nations Committee for The Rights of the Child. John was invited to attend the 2003 session of the United Nations Committee for The Rights of the Child as an observer, and 2010 and 2016 sessions to co-present both NGO reports. John and Fiona moved to Palmerston North in 1994 where Fiona practices as a Physiotherapist and John undertakes contact research and is a practicing Restorative Justice Facilitator.