Helping kids with Down syndrome find their voice.
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Our team

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Adam Barker

Adam Barker has been the chair of the UpsideDowns Education Trust since 2015 and part of the board since 2012.  He lives in Auckland with his wife Fiona and is father to three children including Kieran who has been the beneficiary of speech therapy supported by the Trust. Adam runs his own management consultancy business with offices in Auckland and Hamilton. He is occasionally found running, swimming or orienteering and is particularly partial to good hamburgers. 


Operations manager

Sarah Paterson-Hamlin

Sarah joined UpsideDowns in 2017 after completing a PhD at the University of Glasgow thanks to the William Georgetti Scholarship. She was born in Dunedin but now lives in Auckland with her husband and son. She has worked for the Otago Museum and Policy Scotland, and volunteered for UN Youth NZ, Maryhill Integration Network, and Auberge des Migrants. She is also a poet and has been published in literary journals such as Quotidian, Takahe, Deep South, Typewriter, the poetry collections Quiach (2014) and Manifesto Aotearoa (2017), and has published two of her own books: Follow the Butterflies (2012) and Aiblins (2016).



Jason Wong

Jason joined the Board in 2012, has a background in property development and management, and is currently with a major Iwi in Auckland. He is father to George who has received support from a very young age. George is now attending a mainstream school with his older brother, Fred. In his spare time, Jason loves going to Waihi beach with his partner Sally and his two boys where they have a caravan.

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Ruth Young

Ruth is married to Craig and has two children: James and William. William has Down Syndrome and is benefiting from the amazing work of the trust. Ruth has a background in Early Education and also worked as a children's librarian and a children's book shop . At the library she held story times and was very involved with setting up the wriggle and rhyme In the library that focussed on babies getting those first language and literacy experiences of songs and rhymes which incorporated movements to stimulate the body and vestibule system. Language, whether it be signing or verbal, is very important for the future of the children the trust supports .

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Paul Batters

Paul has been a member of the board since 2015 and lives in Grey Lynn with wife Rachel and their three boys - Ted, George and Harry.  Ensuring Harry has the same opportunities in life as his older brothers is important to Paul's family and speech therapy, supported by the Trust, is a crucial part in helping achieve this.  Paul is a chartered accountant and is board treasurer. 

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Tom Pedlar

Tom has experience in the hospitality and entertainment industries. He is currently studying at Auckland University. He reads a lot and enjoys running more than anybody should. 



Andree Pearson

Andree is the newest member of the Board. She is married to John and they have three children. Lachlan is 13 and has Down syndrome, Rosa is 11 and Ben is eight. Lachlan has been receiving funding from UpsideDowns for many years, and it has been an invaluable contribution towards his speech therapy. Lachlan has significant hearing loss, so speech is a big challenge for him. Andree is a Research Fellow at the University of Otago, Christchurch. In her spare time, she and her family enjoy the waves in New Brighton and walking their children around the Canterbury foothills which, despite the odd complaint, the kids secretly love too.


Board member

Nurain Janah

Nurain holds a Bachelor of Science in Geography and a Masters in Accounting, and currently works as an Accountant specialising in Tax & Business Advisory Services at William Buck New Zealand. Nurain grew up in Auckland after moving to New Zealand from the island country of Maldives at a young age. A Muslim Kiwi, Nurain is a passionate advocate for inclusiveness and regularly speaks about how to create more inclusive communities and workplaces. Nurain represented New Zealand at the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women advocating for inclusive policies, particularly for young women of colour in the workplace, and was recognised as a finalist in the 2017 Women of Influence Awards. Nurain is the current National President of Junior Chamber International (JCI) New Zealand. Away from work and social initiatives, Nurain enjoys photography, having publicly exhibited her work twice at the annual Auckland Festival of Photography. She is also a fan of super cars, loves rock music, travelling and hiking.



board member

Chris Steenson

Chris is the proud Dad of two mischievous little girls. He joined the Board to give back to the Trust who generously support his eldest daughter. Working as a professional in the freight industry, Chris spends his time with the family, catching up on motor racing, or working on DIY projects at home.