Executive Council

Dr Francina (Ina) Marais


I am an experienced audiologist who is passionate about paediatric diagnostics, habilitation and rehabilitation. Over the course of the last 20 years I have worked in diverse roles in the private and public sector both in New Zealand and abroad.

I believe that clinical excellence comes from a solid clinical foundation, a willingness to share from your own experience and an openness to learn from the experience of others.

I am currently employed by Te Whatu Ora Waikato and I am a proud share holding partner in an owner operated private hearing healthcare provider SoundWave Audiology. I am also a NZAS Examiner and finding the experience both educational and rewarding.

I have a keen interest in governance and have been involved as a EC member for the last 3 years. 

Benjamin (Ben) de Farias

Vice President

After completing my M.Aud at the University of Auckland in 2017 I have worked clinically and as a trainer at Audika New Zealand. I had my first taste of work with NZAS as the chair for the Conference Committee for 2018/2019 (Queenstown) and I currently hold the office of Secretary/Treasurer. I continue to relish the opportunity to manage costs and expenditure in order to keep our society within budget and on track for our strategic and financial goals. I place great importance on maintaining transparency over NZAS finances – e.g. NZAS budget and membership fees.

As a relatively new NZAS Executive Council member and Audiologist I will look to maintain the NZAS’s strong financial position and work on key projects for the NZAS membership. I look forward to this challenge and working with the Executive Council 2020/2021.

Chloe Allen


I became an audiologist as my husband has bilateral cochlear implants. Inherently, I believe improving the lives of those with hearing loss is one of the most rewarding professions possible. Since graduating from the University of Auckland programme in 2013, I’ve worked for Bay Audiology across the upper North Island, and am currently a Clinic Manager in central Auckland.

I have previously served on the Executive Council in 2016/2017, and now have the capacity to offer my time and experience to work with the Society again, in a constructive and positive way to help navigate the next season for our diverse membership.

I look forward to utilizing my approachability, fairness and ability to collaborate constructively with others to maintain and build on the transparency and accuracy of the financial and strategic goals of the Society going forward.

I am on the board of The Pindrop Foundation and the Northern Cochlear Implant Trust. 

Thomas Muller


Thomas Müller is a qualified Audiometrist (Cert IV Audiometry, Diploma in Hearing Device Prescription&Evaluation, TAFE, NSW, Australia) and has over 30 years of experience in the hearing industry and over 10 years working with musicians and the wider industry.

He originates from Switzerland as a qualified Precision Engineer, and further qualifications in Electronics and Microelectronics provided him with an opportunity to join a leading Swiss hearing aid manufacturer where he could focus on hearing aid manufacturing and repairs.

Thomas travelled widely in his youth and settled in New Zealand in 1989 joining a major audiology clinic to extend his knowledge of all brands and makes of hearing aids.

While in this role, Thomas refined his knowledge of the comparative quality of hearing aid technology through visiting various manufacturers in the USA and Europe.

In recognition of his significant experience in hearing technologies, Thomas was invited to join a leading manufacturer in 1994, Widex NZ, where he established a world-class production and service support which contributed to the company's significant growth in New Zealand during that period.

Acoustix Hearing was founded in 2004 when Thomas had a vision of a hearing clinic that was more than just a retailer of hearing aids. Thomas wanted Acoustix Hearing to be trusted, independent and the supplier of cutting-edge hearing technologies that would solve the diverse needs of his customers. This independence means that Acoustix customers get the hearing solution that is right for them, rather than one that is driven by manufacturer agreements. 

Thomas says:

I help people who are challenged with their hearing; I understand the technology that is necessary to provide solutions to ensure that they can hear clearly in all sorts of listening environments.

I support and assist musicians, sound engineers and audiophiles in their quest for hearing their perfect sound quality, especially for optimum performance on-stage and off-stage.

I provide hearing and ear protection solutions to anyone who requires them – noisy workplaces, sleep-deprived, swimming and surfing, motor racing and motorbikes, aviation, gun & shooting, loud clubs and bars. In my opinion, it is better to prevent and protect than to aid after as there is no cure for premature and permanent hearing loss. 

Dr Michelle Pokorny


I am a NZ audiologist with a strong passion for public health service with a focus on equity of access to care and service redevelopment. Over my career I have managed and led numerous projects covering a range of fields from clinical assessment of new graduates (development of the NZAS CCC examination); UNHSEIP (developed and implemented the first NBHS at Waikato DHB; advisor on MoH implementation advisory group); expert advisor for ACC; implementation of a community-based adult hearing needs triage service; review of diagnosis and management of APD in the public health sector (Aus); to my current area of expertise: extended scopes of practice. 

I have completed a PhD (extended scope audiology-led services in ENT outpatient services) through the University of Queensland  and I have published several papers on this topic. I present regularly at national and international conferences. I am currently involved in  research investigating engagement with ORL services, middle ear disease and Artificial Intelligence technologies. I am currently employed at Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau as an advanced audiology practitioner, and hold an honorarary lecturer title through University of Auckland.

Bryan Dew


Started my career path in the RNZAF in 1992 and have a background in electronics. Have been working in the hearing industry since the year 2000, originally as a hearing aid repair technician, before training as an Audiometrist, holding a Diploma of “Hearing Device Prescription and Evaluation”. For over 17 years I was employed as an Audiometrist by a family owned business and then joined the Demant Group in 2018 with Audika NZ.

I was diagnosed with hearing loss back in 2006 and aided in 2007 with my very first pair of Bluetooth streaming hearing devices. I have been blessed to be able to test drive the latest in hearing aid technology and I have a passion to help my clients achieve better hearing outcomes.

Previously I have held positions with ANZAI and look forward on what I can achieve in this organisation. The NZAS has been very accommodating and I was thrilled when I gained membership back in 2016. I have seen a lot of changes over the years and I am thankful for the inclusion with this organisation and look forward to the future together.

Outside of work, I am married to my gorgeous wife Jane and we look after our very spoilt spoodle dog Olly. I am father to 3 beautiful daughters, absolutely love hanging out with them when they allow it and seeing them personally grow.

Abby Johnson


Kia ora koutou, ko Abby toku ingoa. I am a University of Canterbury graduate from the class of 2016. I work privately in my own clinic, Hobsonville Hearing, with both adults and children and am a second year EC member on the New Zealand Audiological Society.

Natalie Price


Kia ora, ko Natalie tōku ingoa, nō Whangārei ahau. I am a senior/ advanced audiologist at Te Whatu Ora Te Tai Tokerau (formerly Northland DHB). I hold paediatric certifications in Visual Reinforcement Audiometry, Auditory Brainstem Response testing, and Habilitation. My daily work is hugely diverse, conducting diagnostic and re/habilitation services for infants, children and adults across inpatient and outpatient settings. I enjoy working in a multidisciplinary way with related services, including ORL/ENT and Paediatrics.

Ko Whangārei tōku turangawaewae, and I work in the hospital in which I was born (and until recently, even with the doctor who delivered me!) I have a keen interest in public health and a strong sense of responsibility to the people of my region. This is a major factor in my dedication to my work. I am a reo Māori learner and enjoy using and learning the language and find this a particularly rewarding aspect of my clinical work. I am passionate about regional access to audiological care, increasing cultural competency, resources and representation within the audiology profession.

I am a full Audiologist Member of the New Zealand Audiological Society. At the 2023 NZAS AGM, I was elected as an executive council member. I look forward to contributing to the governance of our professional society.

Emma-Jane Ward


I currently live in Ōhaupō with my husband and three boys, though I grew up in Auckland where I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physiology and Pharmacology followed by a Master of Audiology at the University of Auckland. Upon graduating I moved down to Hamilton where I spent five years at Waikato Hospital working as a clinician and then managing the Audiology and Newborn Hearing Screening Departments. I oversaw the move of Audiology and NBHS to the newly built Meade Clinical Centre and was involved in the expansion of the electronic medical record system at Waikato Hospital, including the establishment of electronic progress notes. I was also a member of the Paediatric Certificate Development Group and EC observer of the Membership, Examination and Supervision Committee.

In more recent years, along with having a young family I have worked part-time, both privately and publicly, and most recently have enjoyed returning to a permanent position as a clinician at Waikato Hospital.

Through these various clinical and leadership roles I have valued excellence, innovation and relationships. I greatly enjoy finding ways to collaborate with others to make both clinical and non-clinical processes more effective and streamlined, working together to improve the clinician and patient experience.

I am excited to be elected to the NZAS Executive Council for a second time, having previously served on the EC from 2014-2016. I love having the opportunity to serve again and to represent our profession and diverse membership, drawing on my past experiences and learnings. I am especially passionate about public audiology, maintaining high standards of clinical practice and advocating for both the membership and the patient population we serve. 

Dairne Dreaver

Councillor - Tangata Whenua