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Application Open: General Manager Cleft New Zealand

Posted on Saturday, May 20th, 2017

We are pleased to invite applications for the position of General Manager at Cleft New Zealand.

This is a 7.5 hour per week paid role within the organisation to replace the outgoing General Manager and involves managing the day-to-day functions of the organisation at a national level. If you’re a self-starter, able to work autonomously and keen to give back to the community, we want to hear from you!

Important Information:
* Region: Managing nationwide functions – applicants must be residing in Auckland or Christchurch only, but consideration will be given to successful applicant.
* Flexibility: Some flexibility with hours is necessary – some weeks will call for >7.5 hours per week (e.g. Awareness Week), others less. Overall, it will balance out to 7.5 hours per week. Regular hours can be set between the successful applicant and the Chairperson.

Click here to view the job description

Application Process
1. Read the position description to understand the scope of the role.
2. Send a CV and one page cover letter outlining how you meet the attributes mentioned in the position description to sophie.petley@cleft.org.nz by Sunday 4th June 2017.
3. Applicants will be shortlisted and interviewed between 6-10 June 2017.
4. Position commences Monday 26th June 2017.

This is your opportunity to give back to our community!


Applications Open: Chairperson Position

Posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Cleft New Zealand is pleased to invite applicants for the Chairperson position.

This role is approximately 5 hours a week within the organisation. It is an unpaid, volunteer role. It would suit a person wanting to make a lasting and important impact on families.

Key competencies include:

  •  Ability to multitask and manage conflicting priorities
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to motivate and lead others
  • Priority management skills/training
  • Ability to develop relationships with external stakeholders
  • Advocacy skills

Please click here to view the full job description

If you are seeking a new and exciting challenge with huge capacity to make a lasting and meaningful contribution to a dynamic group,  then we welcome your application. Please apply today by sending your CV and cover letter to sonali.chandratilake@cleft.org.nz.  If you’d like further information please contact Sonali on 021 414 099.

Applications Close on Friday 16 December 2016.

Opportunities to Join Cleft New Zealand Board

Posted on Monday, October 17th, 2016

We are pleased to invite applications to join the Cleft New Zealand Board. We have three positions currently available:

  • Deputy Chairperson
  • Secretary
  • Coffee Group Coordinator – Christchurch

Hours are pretty flexible and the positions are volunteer roles. No prior experience is necessary. Mandatory is a positive “can do” attitude with a passion to give back to our community. If this sounds like you, send us your cover letter and CV.

Job Descriptions:

For more information please contact:

Kylie Perry – Chairperson

kylie.perry@cleft.org.nz  or

Sonali Chandratilake – General Manager

sonali.chandratilake@cleft.org.nz or phone 0800 328 428



New Zealand’s First Study into Incidence of Orofacial Cleft

Posted on Monday, October 17th, 2016

The first nationwide study looking into the incidence of Orofacial Cleft (OFC) has been published in New Zealand Medical Journal.

The study has found that New Zealand has a higher incidence of OFC (in live births) compared to other Western societies around the world.

Comparing ethnic groups in New Zealand, the study found that Maori had the highest rate of OFCs per live births—particularly Cleft Palate (CP) alone, one of the highest rates in the world.

After cross checking 10 years of clinical data from five surgical cleft treatment centres in New Zealand. There is a national incidence of OFC in 1 in 559 in live births with Maori having 1 in 422 0FC compared to 1 in 700 live births in Western society.

There is a global trend of male predominance for Cleft Lip+/-Palate, but Maori and Pacific do not follow this trend with an even male to female split. To date, there is no other ethnic population in the world where this male predominance does not exist for CL+/-P.

One possible reason for the high incidence of CP in Maori may be due to a genetic factor or in combination with environmental factors.

This study has framed an initial understanding of OFC amongst the NZ population, and is the stepping stone to further explore OFC in New Zealand.


Research article: Thompson, J.M.D., Stone, P., Sanders, M., Van der zee, H. and Fowler, P. (2016) ‘The incidence of Orofacial Cleft in live births in New Zealand’, Vol 129 (No 1440), ISSN 1175-8716.

Article Access: https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2016/vol-129-no-1440/6973


Applications Open: General Manager Position

Posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Cleft New Zealand is now inviting applications for the General Manager Position.

This is a 7.5 hour per week paid role within the organisation to replace the outgoing General Manager and involves managing the day to day functions of the organisation at a national level.


Click here to access the Position Description


Important Information:

Region: Managing nationwide functions – applicants must be residing in Auckland or Christchurch only
Flexibility: Some flexibility with hours is necessary – some weeks will call for >7.5 hours per week (e.g. Awareness Week), others less. Will balance out to 7.5 hours per week. Regular hours can be set between the successful applicant and the Chairperson. Some travel between Auckland and Christchurch is required from time to time.
Start Date: Monday 23rd May 2016.


Application Process

  1. Read the position description to understand the scope of the role.
  2. Send a CV and one page cover letter outlining how you meet the attributes mentioned in the position description to natasha.smith@cleft.org.nz before 5pm Sunday 8 May 2016.
  3. Applicants will be shortlisted and interviewed between 9th and 15th May 2016 .
  4. Position commences Monday 23rd May 2016.

Questions about the role?

You are very welcome to talk to the outgoing General Manager, Natasha Smith, with any questions you may have by emailing Natasha.smith@cleft.org.nz or by phone on 021 414 099.



Notice of 2016 AGM

Posted on Monday, April 4th, 2016

The 2016 Annual General Meeting is upon us!

This is your opportunity to have your say about where Cleft New Zealand should focus its attention and to hear more about what we’ve been up to over the last year, as well as some of the latest information about what’s going on with cleft care around the world.

This year:

Come along and welcome in the new board and Cleft New Zealand team as they discuss where the organisation is at and where it’s headed, as well as relive exciting events from the past financial year such as the Cleft New Zealand Youth Camp.

We also will bring you an update on the New Zealand cleft research project as it enters another year.

Finally, come along to hear former General Manager Kenny Ardouin recount tales from his time with Cleft NZ.


When: Thursday 14 April 7.30pm

Where: Pakuranga Leisure centre, 13 Reeves Road, Pakuranga (entrance through William Roberts Road), Auckland

RSVP: info@cleft.org.nz; 0800 425 338 before Monday 11th April

Farewell Speech & Video from the Outgoing General Manager

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Transcript and supporting video from Kenny Ardouin’s leaving speech, December 2015

10 and a half years – it’s longer than most marriages. And like a marriage, it’s definitely had its ups and downs – times when it is the most euphoric thing ever, and sometimes where you need a bit more convincing. But I think that is life really. A series of dizzying highs and lows with periods of relative normal in between. Fortunately though, I can honestly say, there have been far more of the highs than the lows in my time here, and it is a sad feeling to be moving on.

Often, it is in the strangest of circumstances that we meet some of the most interesting and inspiring people, and this organisation has plenty of those. People who may come from a variety of different backgrounds, but are united by their passion for the cause and contribute in their own ways, whether that be by being a board member, helping out with coffee groups, telling us when something doesn’t seem right with cleft care in your region, donating bottles to our international programme, sewing arm splints together, coming on our youth camp, turning out for the roadshow, manning a Barbie on Awareness Day, being a health professional, being here today. By doing these things, you are all doing your part towards our purpose of empowering people affected by cleft in New Zealand, and towards achieving our vision of creating a future where people understand difference and value the unique contribution individuals make. We are a group that welcomes difference and challenges inequity. I am proud to be part of an organisation that nurtures ideas and talents, that doesn’t treat you any differently based on what you look like, what belief system or lack thereof you happen to subscribe to, how old you are or whether you have one or two X chromosomes – perhaps if more organisations around the world adopted our vision, we would not be a world in turmoil. But we’re doing our bit – in these challenging times, it is the strong feeling and support of a loving community which will overcome discrimination and hatred – and we have that right here. You’re you, and we support you to just be you – it’s what you do best, and it’s what our children do best. Sometimes you just need someone to provide you a bit of encouragement and affirmation that you may not be perfect, but you’re perfectly imperfect, and that is so much better than striving to be perfect – a goal that no-one has ever managed to achieve. Strive to be good and do good, but don’t strive to be perfect.

Now, no-one does 10 years somewhere without a few stories to tell. When I first started out in 2005, my ambition was to see something offered for young people such as myself. I was quick to learn in this organisation, that if you suggest an idea, that you will sooner or later find yourself being the one spearheading such an idea! I soon found myself with my own website for kids and teenagers and being a youth supporter, with my face and story immortalized in thousands of blue books nationwide. I got to meet Gareth Morgan before he found a new passion in culling cats, at the blue book launch in 2006 where he shared his story of growing up with a cleft and mooted this idea that we need to be doing more to support the people who were born with a cleft. I got to meet many other young people over the years, and by 2009 Cleft NZ had its first youth event at Rainbows End in Auckland facilitated by a very eccentric man called David Garb, who offered me a lift home once I got back to Christchurch in his BMW which he only used for commuting to the airport he told me. As he took me a rather strange way home, saying “I know a faster way”, I couldn’t help but worry I was being kidnapped. In 2010, I had the privilege of doing an address at the launch of the new Cleft New Zealand, and winning the support, but in his case, hopefully not the heart, of Len Brown. In 2012, on the Cleft NZ roadshow, I made a rather embarrassing faux pas on the ferry across to Wellington. My travelling companion was feeling rather seasick and as the caring friend I was, I thought I’d make him feel a little more nauseous. I had noticed that the boat appeared to travel a lot quicker when looking out the sides than out the front so as we walked along the boat I yelled out to him “hey, if you want to feel sick, look left.” Tragically, on his left was a rather large lady eating a burger who immediately thought I was talking about her, I had to hide for the rest of the voyage and hope the roadshow didn’t get anymore publicity or else this lady would see, and expose me as a fraudster who verbally assaults people minding their own business on the ferry. Many say that I have a way with words that makes me easy to talk to. Sometimes it can get me in trouble when I don’t recognize double-entendres. On the first camp in 2013, at first I did not understand why people found it so funny when I said to a group of teenagers “I’ll lead at the front, and don’t worry, because John will be taking up the rear.” Despite all the shenanigans along the way though, it has been incredibly worthwhile and a lot of fun. Many of you thank me for my contribution, but I would like to thank all of you for trusting me to help steer this organisation – I hope you are happy with where the organisation has come to. I would like to thank you for this opportunity – it has made me who I am today – I was New Zealand’s youngest charity CEO when I took over the role – and it feels odd to be leaving the thing that I am known for.

Although it is sad to be leaving, I also am very excited for the future of Cleft New Zealand. I have had the pleasure this week of working with the new board – Kylie, Ian, Jaime and Kristen, and the new General Manager, Natasha who I am confident will continue to steer the organisation in the right direction and make their mark on the organisation and on the lives of everyone affected by cleft in New Zealand as have so many others before them. I wish them all the very best in their new roles and trust you will show them the same support you have afforded to me.

There are many people who I owe thanks to for their support and help, which I will do in my own way at a separate point in time. However, today, Saturday 5th of December is International Volunteer Appreciation Day, and there is one person who deserves a special acknowledgment and that is Louise Ayrey. Lou has been the other half of this organisation for a long time now and too is stepping down today, and works incredibly hard, often in the background, and is essential to what has been a two man band in many ways. I have not achieved things, rather we have achieved things. I take my hat off to Lou, busily involved in family life, a demanding job, yet always made the time to support me and this organisation – late at nights, on weekends, over Christmases, birthdays, anniversary weekends – Lou would see my name on caller ID, probably curse my name, but would answer the phone and help me out, and to that end, I should thank Pete too for putting up with that and to you both for so kindly welcoming me into your home whenever I am in Auckland. We have shared frustrations, had disagreements, but also more commonly laughed and worked bloody hard together on things that hopefully will lead to a brighter future for people affected by cleft. I’d like to finish up by playing a short video featuring some of the events of the last 10 years. The music track is one that I learned about when sitting with Lou and her children Ted, Mae and Henry at the table a couple of years back with some plastic cups and attempting to imitate the music video for this particular song. I think the lyrics also are fitting – I will miss the entire Cleft New Zealand community when I’m gone.

And lastly, as you encounter many of life’s ups and downs, don’t let the world change your smile, let your smile change the world.

Welcome to our new General Manager

Posted on Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Cleft New Zealand is very excited to be welcoming several new team members into the Cleft New Zealand family from Wednesday 2nd December. Please make them feel welcome as you see them around at events and talk to them on the phone etc.

Our new General Manager (formerly called CEO) will be Natasha Smith who starts with us on Wednesday and will work alongside the outgoing General Manager until the end of the year before taking the reigns fully in January.

Here is some more info on Natasha:

2015-11-15 15.31.59

My name is Natasha Smith; I live in Auckland with my husband  Andrew and our two children, Charlotte, almost 5 years old and Jaxon, 18 months old.

I studied communication at Manukau Institute of technology  and continued onto a career in Marketing and Promotions. Once my chidren were born, I went back to working part time in a pharmacy.

Two years ago my daughter was diagnosed with a submucous cleft palate. It was all very overwelming but we have learnt a lot and had an amazing support network through the Auckland Cleft unit and Cleft New Zealand.

Cleft New Zealand made us realise that we were not alone during Charlottes appointments, surgeries and speech therapy sessions.  The more aware I became of the work Cleft New Zealand do, the more I knew I wanted to be a part of such a great organisation.

I look forward to contributing to what is already a fantastic community.”

Natasha will shortly become the front person of Cleft New Zealand – if you see her around, pop over and introduce yourself!

Resignation of the CEO

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2015

It with some sadness but a lot of gratitude for his efforts that we announce that Kenny Ardouin is resigning from his roles with Cleft New Zealand. As you know, Kenny has been involved with Cleft New Zealand for over 10 years now, including in formal employment in a part time capacity for almost 3 of those years.


In Kenny’s words……….

“Cleft New Zealand is an organisation supporting a great cause, and values which truly resonate with me, and so it is with the heaviest of hearts that I tender my resignation in order to accept a position externally.

In order to assist with as smooth a transition is possible, I will remain with Cleft New Zealand until the end of the year, with my last actual day of work being Thursday 24 December 2015.

Whilst I will continue to be involved in Cleft NZ in volunteer capacities from time to time in 2016 and beyond,  I am relinquishing all formally held titles from the end of the year. Cleft New Zealand, the families, volunteers, health professionals and wider cleft community will always hold a special place within my heart, and are a group I will never stop advocating for.

I have had some truly amazing experiences throughout my time at Cleft NZ and I am infinitely grateful to Louise and the boards of the last few years who have fuelled my various passions and enabled events such as youth camps, bottles for Cambodia/Indonesia/Vanuatu programme, roadshow and awareness days etc. to kick off, and so naturally, I have very mixed emotions about moving onwards.

Thank you to everyone, especially our team of regular, dedicated volunteers who make this organisation what it is – it certainly is a team effort, and has been a real pleasure working alongside you all.

Even though there will be plenty of opportunity to communicate this more personally before I leave, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all and the organisation, all the very best for the future.


Kenny Ardouin
Chief Executive Officer
Cleft New Zealand”


Louise Ayrey
Acting Chairperson
Cleft New Zealand

Resources from 2015 AGM

Posted on Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Thanks to all who attended the 2015 AGM on Tuesday 26 May. Here are all the resources discussed at the AGM

2015 AGM Formal Business and Year in Review

“I’m Only Human on the Inside” – Opening Address, Kenny Ardouin, Chief Executive Officer

Impact of Cleft Lip and Palate on Fathers – Nicola Stock, University of West England

Impact of Cleft on Adults with a Cleft – Nicola Stock, University of West England

Impact of Cleft on Siblings of those with a cleft – Nicola Stock, University of West England

Update on NZ Cleft Research Project – John Thompson & Louise Ayrey, University of Auckland


Cleft NZ Youth Camp Video