About Ignite Aotearoa


Ignite Aotearoa is a wellbeing social enterprise, backed by Emerge Aotearoa - one of the largest independent mental health and social service organisations in New Zealand. We exist to strengthen community wellbeing by addressing inequity and removing barriers to accessing resources and support.


Our kaupapa meets a vital need for mental-health and wellbeing offerings that are evidence-based, fast and easy to access, provide flexible options and cater to a range of budgets. Ignite’s solutions include education, a digital wellbeing platform, and specialised research and evaluation services. 


Currently, our focus is partnering with workplaces to enhance employee wellbeing. Over time we will work alongside other groups to deliver next-generation wellbeing solutions, including health providers, schools, iwi and whānau.


Our ultimate aim is to re-invest our profits into improving equity of access to mental-health and wellbeing support. When you choose to partner with Ignite, you’re supporting a wider vision of a thriving Aotearoa for all.

Our whakapapa

Ignite Aotearoa was inspired by the recent Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, and the Wellbeing Budget 2019. These kaupapa confirmed that New Zealanders urgently need better, faster access to wellbeing resources and support. Current models are too restrictive, expensive and put intense pressure on our public health system. 


Emerge Aotearoa Group saw an opportunity to empower communities to strengthen their wellbeing through highly-accessible support and resources. Ignite Aotearoa was established in 2019 to deliver innovative solutions and influence the future of wellbeing.

Our values

Connecting with purpose - Whakawhanaunga

We connect communities to effective resources and support. We consider our relationships with businesses, communities, iwi and whānau taonga.


Engaging with respect - Manaakitanga

Everyone is welcome, our doors are open and we don't judge. We build people up and ensure every interaction is a positive one.


Acting with integrity - Whakamana

Our offerings are evidence-based and draw on personal experience and best-practice. We do what we say we will do. 


Walking and learning together - Ako

We believe every experience is an opportunity to learn and share our knowledge. Collaboration comes first and continuous improvement matters. 

Our Leadership Team

Nicola Coom

Executive Director


Highly experienced in workplace and community wellbeing, Nic is the driving force behind Ignite and has led our kaupapa passionately from inception to reality. She is also a Group Director within Emerge Aotearoa, the founder of a cancer charity and tech start-up, and  has been named as a Westpac Women of Influence Awards Finalist.

Vanessa Ding

Head of Development


Vanessa brings a unique combination of skills to Ignite, having driven tech transformation and strategic partnerships across the public and private sectors, and published research on  stigmatisation. Vanessa's own personal experience and passion for wellbeing is the force behind her desire to impact change at Ignite.

Gina Nonumalo

Head of Delivery

Gina’s experience spans mental-health nursing, clinical assessment and education across the public, private and NGO sectors. With more than 20 years' experience in wellbeing roles, she is passionate  about providing people and organisations with the resources and skills to realise their potential.

Our Board Members

Dr Barbara Disley


A distinguished leader with extensive governance and management experience in the education and health sectors, Barbara is the current Group Chief Executive of Emerge Aotearoa and former Chair of the Mental Health Commission. In 2018 she served on the panel for the Government Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry. She advocates strongly for better community mental health and wellbeing support for those in need.

John Cook 

Board Member

John is the current Group Director of Business Services and Development at Emerge Aotearoa. A Chartered Management Accountant, he brings extensive experience within the
professional services sector and a strong background in wellbeing to the Ignite Aotearoa Board.

Karla Bergquist

Board Member

A Registered Nurse with a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Management, Karla sits on the Ignite Aotearoa Board and is also the current Group Director of Services for Emerge Aotearoa. She brings a wealth of clinical and management experience to Ignite's governance.

Cadence Kaumoana

Board Member


Cadence brings more than 20 years of public and community education sector experience to the Ignite Aotearoa Board. Her expertise spans curriculum development, strategy, leadership, entrepreneurship, and whānau, marae and hapū development.