Elizabeth Soper


Elizabeth (Liz) is the Founder of Creative Abilities; the organisation she is most proud of working with. The many varied young/older adults with Creative Abilities have given meaning to life as she learns and gains insight from their unique abilities. Liz received a Queen’s Service Order in 1999 for Community Service. She is married to Gordon (her rock), with 5 children (4 daughters / 1 son deceased) and 11 amazing grandchildren.


Gary Duberly

Associate Member ICSA

Completing his studies in 1993, Gary was admitted as an Associate Member to the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA). With 21 years’ experience in the fields of taxation and business services, Gary (via his company Duberly Vincent), advises small and medium sized enterprises across a broad spectrum of industries in the areas of tax compliance, financial & management accounting, business development and management advice. Gary is a double world masters squash champion and is a passionate supporter of many sports. Gary is married to Angie and has three daughters, Jamie, Tyler and Danielle.


Tim Hurley


Tim is a trained counsellor and family therapist with clinical experience in the disability and mental health sectors. He currently works in palliative care. Tim has a ‘lived history’ with disability that began thirty years ago with the birth of his youngest son, Jonathon, who is a client of Creative Abilities. Tim has two other adult children and four grandchildren. When he is not spending time being a grandfather, he enjoys playing bridge, reading novels and exploring the New Zealand bush and beaches.


Hemant Thakkar


Originally, a Cost and Management Accountant, Hemant made his career move to the disability sector in 1994 as a Special Educator in a special school for intellectually disabled children in Mumbai, India. Upon moving to New Zealand in 2002, Hemant worked with Creative Abilities for six years in various roles from caregiver to Social Services Manager. Later he worked for nearly five years with the Health and Disability Commissioner as the Disability Initiatives Manager. Currently Hemant works as the Service Improvement Manager for a national level kaupapa Maori disability service provider. Hemant is an avid learner with multiple post-graduate level qualifications including a PhD in Social Work (Disabilities). Hemant's non-academic hobbies include drumming and watching Bollywood movies. Hemant considers it a privilege to be a part of the Creative Abilities family.


Jo van den Berg

Jo is a result minded people leader transforming the way health, safety and wellbeing teams work together and partner with internal and external stakeholders. Jo has eight years of high performance in senior leadership roles at the forefront of managing risk within the complex aviation environment.  Jo spent a number of years working for ACC, creating unique partnerships with injured New Zealanders to ensure they and their families needs were met and they got the right care at the right time.  Jo is current leading a team of health, safety and well-being professionals at the Department of Corrections, improving processes, managing a diverse risk profile and assisting in the implementing  of the Everyone Safe, Every Day strategy.

Jo brings a considered yet results based approach, with high standards. Jo has a strong sense of duty, thrives on leading and collaborating with teams to deliver results through times of change and is truly passionate about all people, especially with regard to their safety and wellbeing.