Living Positively with Parkinson's Conference

Living Positively with Parkinson's Conference


Event date:

August 28, 2024

Until August 30, 2024

Living Positively with Parkinson's Conference
Parkinson's New Zealand is celebrating 40 years by holding a Living Positively with Parkinson's Conference in Auckland at the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport from the 28-30 August, 2024.

We are bringing one of the world's leading experts on Parkinson's Professor Bas Bloem from the Netherlands and Connie Carpenter-Phinney co-founder of the Davis Phinney Foundation and Olympic Gold Medallist from the USA to be keynote speakers.

During this 3-day event we will hear from leading health professionals, neurologists and researchers including Dr Matthew Phillips, Dr Fiona Lithander, Professor Maurice Curtis, Professor Tim Anderson, Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie, Drs Paul Jones and Richard Worrall, Distinguished Professor Sir Richard Faull, Victor McConvey (OAM), Professor Justin O'Sullivan, Dr Victor Diereks, Dr Christina Buchanan, Dr Barry Snow, Professor Glenda Halliday and others who will present on topics applicable to people with Parkinson's, care-partners and clinicians.

Topics include presentations on nutrition, depression, anxiety, exercise, caregiving, the PINK 1 gene, dementia, intimacy and more.

Click on the 'programme outline' button for a list of presentations which will be covered over the three days and see below for speaker bios and accommodation.

Early birds sales of $325 are now available until June 30 with a full registration price of $375 from July 1, 2024. Tickets are limited to 250.

Click on the 'Buy tickets' button to purchase tickets today.


August 28, 2024

Until August 30, 2024


$325 until June 30, then $375 from July 1.



Accommodation and meals

The Living Positively with Parkinson's conference is being held at the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport,  2 Ascot Road, Māngere, from 28-30 August, 2024.

A preferential accommodation discount is available to delegates attending the conference. As accommodation is limited we suggest you book early to avoid missing out.

The 'Book Accommodation' button will take you to the Holiday Inn landing page. To select the conference dates please click on book now in the top right-hand corner. If you have any issues with your booking email or call the hotel directly on +64 (09) 275 1059.

The conference will include opportunities to mingle with Welcome Drinks & Canapés on the first evening, lunch and a Gala dinner (wear something red!) to celebrate 40 years on the second, and refreshments provided during breaks. If you are staying at the Holiday Inn breakfast is included in your booking.

Key Sponsor of Day one
Neurological Foundation

We are grateful for all our funders and supporters who help us provide information, education and support to whānau living with Parkinson’s in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Meet the speakers

Keynote Speaker - Professor Bas Bloem
Keynote Speaker - Professor Bas Bloem
Professor Bas Bloem is one of the world's most influential and leading experts on Parkinson's and has an extensive career in neurology with a special interest in movement disorders.

He is a consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology, Radboud University Medical Centre, in the Netherlands and is the founder and director of the Radboudumc Centre of Expertise for Parkinson & Movement Disorders which he founded in 2002 in his thirties.  

Professor Bloem is ranked in the top 1% of the most cited scientists over the last decade and is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. He has published in the vicinity of 1,000 publications including the book Ending Parkinson’s Disease: a Prescription for Action of which he is a co-author.

Professor Bloem is the recent recipient of the Stevin prize in recognition of his significant contribution to society and is on the executive scientific advisory board of The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Professor Bloem will present the opening and closing keynotes of the conference where he will share the latest research about the ‘'coming Parkinson’s pandemic’ and insights into what the future holds for Parkinson’s.

Keynote Speaker - Connie Carpenter-Phinney
Keynote Speaker - Connie Carpenter-Phinney
Connie Carpenter-Phinney is an Olympian gold medalist and co-founder of the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s with her husband, Davis Phinney, who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s 24 years ago.

Connie is currently a board member of the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's which annually reaches more than 1.5 million people living with or affected by Parkinson’s. The foundation is a leading source for education and resources for people with Parkinson’s and their care-partners.

As an advocate for care-partners Connie co-hosts virtual care-partner meetings where she and other panellists discuss concerns, challenges and queries about being a care-partner. Connie also lectures on caregiving for people with Parkinson’s, is an author and a regular columnist in Psychology Today- the world’s largest mental health and behavioural science onlne platform. Connie cares deeply about the care-partner experience having more than 20 years in the role of carer as well as her advocacy and support work via her foundation.

Connie will present two sessions and a breakout where she will discuss how care-partners can navigate their roles from diagnosis though more challenging times.

Dr Matthew Phillips
Dr Matthew Phillips
Dr Matthew Phillips is a clinical and research neurologist and the director of neurology at Waikato Hospital,Hamilton, New Zealand.

His foremost passion is to explore the potential feasibility, safety, and efficacy of metabolic strategies, particularly fasting and ketogenic diets, in creating alternate metabolic states that may benefit people with a variety of neurological disorders.

Dr Phillips' team conducted the world’s first randomized trials involving a ketogenic diet in people with both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and is now applying fasting and ketogenic diet protocols in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

He is currently conducting a clinical trial in glioblastoma, which combines standard treatments with the most intensive fasting and ketogenic diet protocol ever applied to a group of patients with advanced cancer.

Dr Phillips will present his findings on the Keto diet and its impact on Parkinson's.

Dr Richard Worrall
Dr Richard Worrall
Richard Worrall is a Psychiatrist who specialises in working with Older People. He works at Te Toka Tumai Auckland. His work often involves working with people with Parkinson’s disease and it’s complications.  

Dr. Richard Worrall's presentation will be about Parkinson’s disease and depression.

He will share with us ways that depression can be recognised in people living with Parkinson's as well as what the causes of depression are for people with Parkinson’s.

Dr Worrall will also advise what can help with recovering from depression.

Dr Fiona Lithander
Dr Fiona Lithander
Dr Fiona Lithander is an associate Professor in Nutrition, a Registered Dietitian and is an Associate Director at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland.

Dr Fiona Lithander leads the nutrition and ageing research programme at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. She has 25 years’ experience in nutrition research and examines the impact of nutrients, foods and dietary patterns on health and wellbeing. Her research focuses on improving the nutritional status and quality of life of older adults and those with neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's.

Dr Lithander is on the Science Leadership Team for the High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. She has been awarded significant research funding, has published widely, and is a member of the Editorial Board of Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. She completed a PhD in nutritional physiology at the University of Cambridge, UK, and holds an honorary appointment at the University of Bristol, UK.

Dr Lithander will discuss if diet matters and the role of nutrition in Parkinson's. She will present the latest research which examines the impact of nutrients, foods and dietary patterns on the management of Parkinson’s and will suggest future research directions.

Professor Louise C. Parr-Brownlie
Professor Louise C. Parr-Brownlie
Louise (Ngāti Maniapoto me Te Arawa) is a Professor in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago. Her research draws on western science and mātauranga Māori to facilitate positive ageing and equitable treatments for people living with neurodegenerative disorders in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Professor Parr-Brownlie conducts research that investigates how brain cell activity controls movements, and how these change in Parkinson’s disease. Her lab team and collaborators have translated this knowledge to test novel ways to treat Parkinson’s disease using light to stimulate specific brain cells. Louise is currently exploring lifestyle, cultural and clinical factors that may be harnessed to modulate neuroinflammation and slow symptom progression.

She is a Science Advisor to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, a Board Member for the Dodd-Walls Te Whai Ao Centre of Research Excellence, and internationally she serves as the Secretary of the International Basal Ganglia Society Council.

Professor Parr-Brownlie's presentation will explain how the brain controls movements, and how that activity changes with Parkinson’s and levodopa-induced dyskinesias. She will share insights from current experiments that are investigating if the diet can be harnessed to slow symptom progression, and future experiments that will examine why dyskinesias happen. She will also lead a breakout session on tangata whenua and Parkinson's.

Dr Christina Buchanan
Dr Christina Buchanan

Dr Christina Buchanan is a Research Genetic Counsellor and Study Co-ordinator in the Neurology Department, Auckland City Hospital. Her areas of interest include Pacific health, PINK1 early-onset Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Christina is also a Co-investigator with the Maurice Wilkins Centre and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Medicine within the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland.

Recently, a variant in the PINK1 gene was unexpectedly found to be a common cause of early-onset Parkinson’s in Pacific people, causing Parkinson’s symptoms in people as young as 12. Dr Christina Buchanan’s presentation will explore the impact of PINK1 Parkinson’s in New Zealand and the research efforts underway that are working towards a targeted therapy, which may help people with PINK1 Parkinson’s as well as the more common idiopathic form of the condition.

Victor McConvey (OAM)
Victor McConvey (OAM)
Victor McConvey has been a Nurse for over 30 years and has worked in Neurology for the past 25 years. Victor has worked in advanced practice and service development positions in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

Victor is the Clinical Nurse Consultant and Manager of Health, Clinical and Community services at Fight Parkinson’s Australia. He manages a multidisciplinary team educating health care professionals about Parkinson's and clients on managing symptoms and improving self- management.  

Victor is the past chair of the International Movement Disorder Societies Task force on Palliative care. He is the co-chair of the early-onset Parkinson’s study group and of the Palliative Care study group.

Victor will take us on a tour of palliative care for Parkinson's around the world and share with us different approaches which can enhance the care we receive. He will discuss how developing our Advance Care Plan can be empowering. Victor will also present a breakout session on how Parkinson's can change our intimate lives and discuss ways we can continue to enjoy intimacy while living with Parkinson's.

Gilly Davy
Gilly Davy
Gilly Davy works with a full clinical case load as a senior neurological physiotherapist at Rope Neuro Rehabilitation in Auckland. Gilly graduated in the UK in 2004, and has worked in both public and private health care settings in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Gilly was proudly awarded the Australian Physiotherapy Association Ipsen special commendation for Achievement in Neurological Physiotherapy in 2015. In 2016 she was then awarded an Honorary Clinical Fellowship for the Australian Catholic University.

She is the founder and director of MS Get a Head Start and ran her own neurological clinic Connect Neuro Physiotherapy for six years. Gilly is the PD Warrior instructor trainer for New Zealand.

Gilly will be presenting a one-hour Parkinsons's workout exercise session with a range of exercises for all abilities that are specifically tailored for those living with Parkinson’s. She wll also be presenting a closed session to health professionals about the latest evidence-based research on exercise through the trajectory of Parkinson’s.


Lisa Gombinsky Roach
Lisa Gombinsky Roach
Lisa is a personal trainer who works primarily with people with disabilities, chronic conditions, and rehabilitation needs in clinical and mainstream fitness settings.  She is based out of Unruly, a boutique fitness studio in Hobsonville.  

Lisa is a senior conductive educator – a talented and experienced teacher that specializes in teaching functional mobility, movement strategies, and motor skills to people with motor disorders.  She has been working in this field for over 20 years in various group and private rehabilitation settings in countries including New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Canada, and England.  Lisa is also the Head Coach and Founding Director of Counterpunch Parkinson’s, an organization that is bringing boxing-based exercise programs lead by accredited coaches to people living with Parkinson’s in New Zealand and beyond.  In addition, Lisa is a cancer exercise specialist and runs Prost-FIT, prostate cancer specific classes in Auckland in liaison with Exercise as Medicine NZ.  

Lisa aspires to help people learn to live better and to move better, to develop community based services that are accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities and chronic conditions, and to encourage exercise, movement, and wellbeing for people throughout their lives incorporating current research and best practice.

Lisa will be presenting an optional morning exercise session which will inlcude stretching,movement, and Counterpunch style fun!

Dr Eloise Watson
Dr Eloise Watson

Dr Eloise Watson is an early career Neurologist working at Te Whatu Ora Capital Coast and Hutt Valley.

Dr Watson undertook a Neurological Foundation Chapman Fellowship with Professor Carolyn Sue in Sydney, Australia in 2019-2020, developing interest and expertise in Neurogenetics, Movement Disorders and Mitochondrial Diseases. Her clinical practice includes general Neurology, Movement Disorders and Neurogenetics. Alongisde her clinical work, she is currently pursuing research in Mitochondrial Disease genetics and genotype-phenotype correlations and is a current New Zealand representative on the executive of the Movement Disorders Society of Australia and New Zealand (MDSANZ).

Dr Watson will be presenting a breakout session on Women and Parkinson's. Parkinson’s Disease shares many similarities for women and men, however there are also many aspects that can differ between genders. The increased prevalence of Parkinson’s in men as well as historic disproportionate inclusion of men in clinical trials mean our understanding of gender differences in Parkinson’s Disease are still evolving. Dr Watson's session will explore aspects of Parkinson’s disease specific – and unique – to women, and their implications both with respect to our understanding of Parkinson’s  and to optimising individualised care.

Prof. Glenda Halliday, PhD, AC.
Prof. Glenda Halliday, PhD, AC.

Prof. Glenda Halliday, PhD, AC, is an Australian career neuroscientist and research neuropathologist who is internationally renowned for her ground-breaking research on neurodegeneration, which has significantly advanced the understanding of disease progression.

Her studies on the molecular and cellular properties of the human brain have provided essential neuroanatomical and biochemical insights into the effects of neurodegenerative diseases.  By developing rigorous quantitative methods for evaluating pathology in patients with defined clinical symptoms, Prof. Halliday revealed more extensive neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease and related syndromes than previously recognised.

Prof. Halliday has defined the earliest biochemical signatures in the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementias, uncovering previously unrecognised brain regions that degenerate selectively and highlighting the role of glial cells surrounding neurons.

Her research focuses on identifying and understanding the pathobiology of non-Alzheimer dementias and degenerative motor syndromes, which are under-recognized, often affect people in their prime, can be fatal rapidly, and lack mechanistic therapies.

Prof. Halliday has been a Research Fellow in the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) systems since 1988 and is an NHMRC Leadership Fellow at the University of Sydney until 2025.

Prof. Halliday’s presentation will be on Dementia and Parkinson’s. She will also be presenting a breakout session on Multiple System Atrophy. (MSA)

Our Sponsors

Thank you to the following for their generous support towards the conference.

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