2021 FASD-CAN Annual Hui Presentations


The FASD-CAN Annual Hui was in held Christchurch on October 30, 2021. This was an in-person and Zoom hui, as Auckland and Northland were in lockdown. 

This means, however, that we were able to record our many inspiring presentations, and we're very happy to be able to share them with you. These videos will remain a precious resource and we're extremely grateful to all speakers.



Karen Irving 

Karen Irving is a mother of three and a foster mother of four – two of which are still at home and both have FASD. Karen also works with families who have children with FASD or behavioural problems, and in schools helping keep children with FASD in school. 

Karen spoke on a personal perspective about positive outcomes for children with FASD.

Click here for Karen's talk.


Dr Andi Crawford

Andi Crawford has a PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology and is currently working at Te Ara Manapou (Pregnancy and Parenting Service) at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.  Prior to this she spent 11 years in an assessment and diagnostic team in the Child Development Service where much of her work was around FASD assessment and support.  She was inaugural co-chair of the Australia New Zealand FASD Clinical network, and continues to work in FASD projects including post-doctoral research at the University of Auckland.

Dr Crawford spoke about another part of her work supporting parents and families who experience addiction.

Click here for Dr Crawford's talk.


Tania Henderson

Tania has worked extensively in various health and community well-being service roles, supporting at risk, high needs Whānau and working with Māori organisations that are whānau focused. Her focus over the past 8 years has been on FASD education and support for individuals with FASD. She has delivered education on FASD in multiple workshops and courses such as within the Tikanga Mātua Te Ao Maori Parenting Programme and workshops in schools for those working with FASD tamariki. Tania contributed to the Northern Region FASD Strategic Plan and as a panel member to the development of the NZ National FASD Training Tool (developed by Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui) to ensure it included Tikanga practices. She subsequently ran the first of the Frontline Professional FASD Training Tool workshops. She has recently been a member of the panel which fed back to the Government on the 2016-2019 NZ FASD National Strategic Plan.

Tania spoke about her work connecting with communities to raise awareness of the impact of alcohol in pregnancy: tapu while hapu.

Click here for Tania's talk.


Professor Anita Gibbs

Professor Anita Gibbs teaches Criminology, Sociology and Social Work at Otago University.  Anita is a caregiver for teens living with FASD, and is a strong disability advocate when time allows. She was awarded the Critic and Conscience of Society Award in 2020 for her FASD awareness raising work, and for the development of evidence-based caregiver courses for families where FASD is an issue. Anita is using this funding to undertake 90 qualitative interviews with caregivers, parents and stakeholders on two research projects to explore the impacts of parenting someone living with FASD, and to explore what enables wellbeing and success for people living with FASD. 

Anita spoke at the Hui about the health and wellbeing of caregivers, and the perspectives of stakeholders on living with FASD.

Click here for Anita's talk.


Dr Sarah Goldsbury

Sarah Goldsbury is a registered Clinical Psychologist of Ngati Porou and Te-Aitanga-A-Hauiti descent. Sarah has particular interests in Maori models of health and wellbeing, and neurodisability. Since first training in the diagnosis of FASD in 2010 she has worked to increase public and professional understanding of children and young people with FASD and their whanau, so that they can be well supported and successful.  

Sarah’s past roles have included working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Child Development Service, Ministry of Education (Behaviour Support Service) and Regional Youth Forensic Service.  These have prepared her well for her important work in FASD. She conducts comprehensive assessments and support plans for children and youth that consider neuro-disabilities, mental health, environmental factors (such as trauma) and systematic factors (such as cultural considerations).   

Sarah spoke about Te Tiriti o Waitangi, how to embrace the challenge of biculturalism, and the needs of Māori with FASD.

Click here for Sarah's talk.


Dr Vanessa Spiller

Dr Spiller is an FASD caregiver and Clinical Psychologist in Brisbane, Australia. At the hui, she spoke about how she had to re-think and challenge her academic learning as an FASD caregiver, about her FASD training programme, and the needs of caregivers after they receive an FASD diagnosis.   

Click here to her video presentation which was introduced by FASD-CAN's Anna Gundesen.


Justice Panel discussion

For the first time FASD-CAN hosted a hugely valuable panel discussion with three highly-regarded professionals in their area on the subject of the delicate balancing act of judicial compassion to those with brain damage versus protecting the community. Judge Tony Fitzgerald, Dr Valerie McGinn and Rose Hawkins are all invested in raising awareness of the benefits of early diagnosis of FASD to avoid terrible consequences which can affect whānau, communities and the national economy.  

See below for these speakers' bios - and click here for the panel discussion.

Judge Tony Fitzgerald

We are very privileged in having Judge Tony Fitzgerald as the patron on FASD-CAN. Tony has been a District Court Judge for over 20 years. He has previously worked in the Family Court but now spends 70% of his time in the Youth Court and the rest in the adult criminal Courts.

Therapeutic jurisprudence and Solution Focused Courts are of particular interest to him. Judge Fitzgerald has travelled to Canada to increase his understanding of FASD and was a keynote speaker at the first Australasian conference on FASD. More recently he presented his 'Unexpected Journey' into the world of FASD at the FASD symposium held at the University of Auckland.

Dr Valerie McGinn

Dr Valerie McGinn is recognised as New Zealand’s leading expert in FASD.  Since first training in FASD at the Asante Centre in Canada in 2008 she has had the pleasure to meet and diagnose hundreds of children, young people and adults with FASD.  Her advice and interventions have changed so many FASD individuals lives for the better.

Dr McGinn is also a founding board member of FASD-CAN, and we are very fortunate that she continues to provide our organisation with expert advice, and her sage wisdom. Dr McGinn provides FASD-informed workshops, diagnostic training, supervision, and advisory services. However, her primary focus is to support individuals with FASD and their families.

Rose Hawkins

Rose Hawkins works for Oranga Tamariki as a Regional Disability Advisor in Hamilton. Rose’s work with Dr Valerie McGinn and Christine Rogan initiated her learning and understanding about the importance of FASD when working with people involved with the Care and Youth Justice sectors. Rose is grateful to have been supported to participate at various international and Aotearoa conferences and events, networking, including with many at today’s hui, and with others living with FASD.

Rose has developed resources and training to assist families and professionals to more simply understand how to support tamariki and rangatahi with FASD, and spoke at the Hui about challenges and hope, in reframing how behaviour is viewed in youth justice practice.

Harsh Vardhan

Harsh is the Programme Manager for the Alcohol Action Plan within the Ministry of Heath. He provided an update on the Action Plan and the Ministry's activities.