Meet Our Trustees

Dr Ella Ussher


Ella grew up in Piha and recently moved back from Australia with her partner to raise their one-year-old daughter here. Ella worked part-time for Waitakere City Council Libraries for 5 years while studying, before moving to Australia to complete her PhD in Archaeology.

Now a mother and consultant Archaeobotanical Specialist, she sees the need to maintain and grow a wonderful library in Piha for the next generation. The new ‘Lion Rock and Roll for Babies’ session has provided a great meeting place for mums and babies on a weekly basis, and encourages the use of the library for babies and toddlers.

The library has also proved an invaluable source of information on food for children/families and parenting for Ella, and she would love to see these resources continue to grow and help other families in Piha.

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Dana Hofmann


Originally from Germany, Dana came to Piha in 2008. She intended to stay for two weeks, but never left. She now lives here with her husband and two children,

In Germany Dana studied Applied Mathematics and following this worked in several international insurance companies. Dana then went travelling for a few years before she arrived in New Zealand.

She currently works as an Analyst for financial adviser firm Advice Plus Ltd, and runs a building business together with her husband.


Maureen Thompson


Maureen is a recent arrival in Piha from Howick. She has retired after thirty years of teaching in South Auckland primary schools. With an Advanced Diploma of Teaching in Teacher-Librarianship she also managed school libraries for many years.

Maureen has considerable experience to offer the community. She was part of a group which set up Auckland East Parents Centre in the Howick-Pakuranga area. After years as the secretary and a course leader, she went on to the National Executive of Parents Centre Inc. Maureen spent 2 years as a consumer representative on the Adhoc Consultative Committee for Neonatal and Maternal Services for the Auckalnd Hospital Board. She helped establish the Highland Park Community House and was secretary of the Howick Soccer Club.

Maureen and her husband Clive have 3 adult sons and 2 granddaughters.

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Claire Howse

Claire has lived in Piha for seven years with her husband and daughter. She is originally from Scotland and came to NZ in 2000 to travel. Initially working as a staff nurse at Auckland hospital Claire later moved into pharmaceutical and medical sales. She is currently a Specialist Project Manager with a Healthcare company.  

Claire has been an avid reader from a very young age, and feels that it is very important that we maintain (and grow) a fabulous library at Piha so her daughter and other children living in Piha can enjoy the benefits of this as they grow up.

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Brian McAvoy

Professor Brian McAvoy is an Addiction Medicine Specialist at the Capri Hospital Trust. He has worked with the drug and alcohol service in Tasmania and with Auckland Community Alcohol and Drug Service, and was a general practitioner in inner city Auckland. Professor McAvoy has published extensively, has written several books and has been an Adviser to the World Health Organisation.

Brian and his wife, Julie, divide their time between Piha and Auckland City.  They enjoy being part of Piha’s diverse community. Brian is keen to develop the library as a focus and resource for all Piha residents.


David Bryant


I have lived in Karekare for 20 years and have an association with the West Coast which goes back to my teenage years. I recently retired from University teaching which gives me more time to become more involved with our special community and volunteer work with DOC.

I regard a library as a central focus of a community and the Piha Library is a marvellous community asset which I whole heartedly support.


Glenda Northey

I have been a librarian for over 45 years. I began working at the Piha Library in 1984 and managed the library for 12 years. I have a Master of Library Studies and a MA (Hons) in New Zealand History. My library career includes the establishment and management of several university departmental libraries and Branch librarian at Grey Lynn Public Library before I moved to Piha. 

In the words of Catlin Moran  I believe that " A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen instead." 

Mike Hales


 Mike was born in Portsmouth in the UK, raised in London and New York and landed in Piha for the first time more than 20 years ago. Married to Erin, the couple has lived in Piha for 8 years.
 Having originally studied design and Arabic, Mike moved through journalism, digital media, music, radio and most recently telecoms along a varied career path. All the while an avid reader - in print and of course digital - of biographies, design theory, history and surfing books.
A bass-playing lover of all kinds of music, Mike works at Vodafone developing artificial intelligence, support services and more.

Mike was seconded to the Library Trust at its last meeting and we are thrilled to have someone with such expertise as part of the Management team.