04 December 2006
Bioethics Council welcomes new members
Toi te Taiao– the Bioethics Council has welcomed four new members at its December meeting in Wellington.
Joining the Council are Rosemary Du Plessis, Dr Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, Dr Marie Bismark and Dr Mark Fisher.
In addition, Dr Martin Wilkinson has been named Chair of the Council and two long-serving members, Graham Robertson and
Anne Dickinson leave the Council.
Dr Martin Wilkinson is the newly appointed Chair of the Bioethics Council and is also a senior lecturer in Community
Health and Philosophy at the Auckland School of Medicine. Martin has been the Acting Chair of the Bioethics Council
since March 2006.
Rosemary Du Plessisis a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Universityof Canterbury. Between 2003 and 2005 she led the
Constructive Conversations/ Kōrero Whakaaetanga research programme which focused on genetic testing and biobanking. This
research programme explored the social, cultural, ethical and spiritual implications of new health biotechnologies. She
is a member of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and has a strong interest in national and international
developments with respect to the ethics of knowledge production and use.
Dr Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop Phd (Macquarie ) is an associate professor and inaugural head of the Va’aomanuu
Pasifika/Pacific and Samoan studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Peggy has extensive research experience on
pacific perspectives on development issues against a background of changing times.
Dr Marie Bismarkis a qualified doctor, is currently a senior solicitor in Buddle Findlay’s Wellington– based Health Law
team and has a post graduate qualification in Bioethics. Marie has previously practised as a medical doctor in several
New Zealandhospitals and served as a legal advisor to the New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner.
Dr Mark Fisher is a scientist with 25 years research experience in the physiology of farm animal reproduction and
behaviour, and has been working for 12 years on ethical issues related to science and farming, especially animal
Anne Dickinsonis based in Wellingtonand is Executive Officer of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference. Anne has
been involved with the Bioethics Council since its inception and was the final Chair of the disestablished Independent
Biotechnology Advisory Council (IBAC).
Graham Robertsonfrom Ashburton is a self-employed farmer and a former member of the Independent Biotechnology Advisory
For further information contact:
John Pennington, CEO
Toi te Taiao: the Bioethics Council Secretariat
phone: (04) 439 7673
• For more information visit www.bioethics.org.nz
• The Bioethics Council was appointed by the Government in December 2002. Its goal is “To enhance New Zealand’s
understanding of the cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of biotechnology and ensure that the use of biotechnology
has regard for the values held by New Zealanders”.
• Within its role the Bioethics Council is expected to:
o Provide independent advice to the Government on biotechnological issues involving significant cultural, ethical
and spiritual dimensions.
o Promote and participate in public dialogue on the cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of biotechnology, and
enable public participation in the Council’s activities.
o Provide information on the cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of biotechnology.
• The Bioethics Council has participated and generated discussion on a number of bioethics issues since its
establishment. These include:
o Human assisted reproduction
o Human Embryos for Research
o Human genes in other organisms
o Maori responses to bio-technologies
o The New Organisms & Other Matters Bill