Search Media Releases


Archives, by date


NZNO seriously concerned about leadership crisis at Canterbury DHB

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) expresses extreme concern and alarm following the resignations of executive staff at Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), most recently Mary Gordon, the Executive Director of Nursing, and Dr Sue Nightingale, the Chief Medical Officer.

NZNO Chief Executive Memo Musa warns that a mass exodus from the executive leadership team, which now includes clinical leaders, is a sign of a DHB spiralling into a crisis.

"The DHB is going through significant clinical service developments which will be delivered in new and redeveloped hospital facilities, and which will require good and effective and engagement with staff. To have senior clinical leaders resign at this pivotal time is deeply problematic."

Whatever has been unfolding for the executive leadership team appears to be untenable and has obviously led to tensions with the DHB Board.

"The Board should be extremely concerned and mindful of potential risk to slower progression of the planned services improvements, as well as the impact on relationships with staff, unions and professional associations, but more so the impact on the health outcomes for the people of Canterbury," said Mr Musa.

Staff at the DHB and the community of Canterbury will feel the loss from the resignations of such key and senior people who have steered the DHB services and engaged with staff through some difficult times over the past few years.

NZNO particularly wishes to acknowledge Mary Gordon’s leadership during very challenging times including the earthquakes, mosque massacre, and now the covid19 pandemic. She is recognised as a nurse leader not only in the Canterbury region, but nationally and internationally.

She, and others in the executive, helped to maintain a constructive relationship with NZNO, worked hard to engage with our members and pushed for inclusion of nursing at the decision making table. Their loss will be acutely felt in the region and nationally.

Direct Media Enquiries To:

Please send all media requests in writing to

NZNO communications and media advisors are:

Karen Howarth
027 725 2680  |  04 494 8242

Samesh Mohanlall
021 240 3420  |  04 494 6839

Support and member enquiries: 0800 28 38 48 or