About Us

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Riette Schwass

Director / Audiologist
BCommPat, MCommPat (Aud), CCC – MNZAS

Riette has almost 20 years’ experience as an audiologist. She studied in South Africa where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Pathology and then proceeded to complete a master’s degree in Communication Pathology specialising in Audiology and more specifically electro-physiology.

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Riette is first and foremost a mother. Riette and her husband Matthew have two young boys and their parenting journey so far has not always been easy.

 

Riette’s youngest son was diagnosed as being developmentally delayed and on the autism spectrum at the age of three. That was the tip of the iceberg for the family with two children only 13 months apart, one suffering with very (<em>very</em>) severe reflux and the other having been born with some neurological abnormalities. Riette knows first-hand what it is like to hope and wait for some clarity, help and support. It was through this journey of trying to navigate support structures in New Zealand that she realised how important it is to seek help from people who understand and empathise with your own family’s situation.

 

When given the opportunity to work in New Zealand, Riette working at the Waikato Hospital and split her time between the public and private sector before leaving to work for the NHS in England in 2004. In the UK, Riette worked as a clinical audiologist helping both adult and children with hearing rehabilitation and also in a specialist vestibular clinic under the guidance of ENT specialists.

 

In 2006, Riette returned to New Zealand and again divided her time between the Audiology Department at Waikato hospital and one of Hamilton’s first private audiology practices. It was while working at the hospital audiology department that Riette first became familiar with Auditory Processing Disorder or APD.

 

A few years later, Riette’s interest in APD was again cultivated from her own experience with her son who at the age of three was struggling to express himself. Riette went on to undertake further specialist study in APD and joined a number of international professional APD groups for clinicians. With a collaborative approach to his auditory processing, speech and language abilities Riette’s son now attends a mainstream school. His path is still filled with numerous obstacles, challenges and opportunities and so the journey for them as a family continues…

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Graeme Dodd

Director
MNSc., RN, MBA (dist.)

Previously, Graeme was Managing Director of Triton Hearing where he was fortunate to have worked alongside Riette for over nine years. Graeme has a Master’s degree in Nursing Science from Otago University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Waikato University.

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Graeme lives in North Canterbury with his wife Kate and their 3 children, Jonty, Tilly and Jasper.

After Triton, he worked as CEO of a retirement village / aged care business. Having been involved in healthcare related businesses for over 16 years, Graeme decided to take some time to better understand and learn about things on the frontline of healthcare. With this in mind, and with the challenge of not having studied science for over 30 years, Graeme completed a master’s degree in nursing science at the University of Otago.

 

The programme included 1,300 hours of practical hands-on experience with placements in: aged care, mental health, primary care, complex care, orthopaedics, and older persons health. Graeme also had to sit masters level science and pharmacology exams, along with the New Zealand Nursing Council’s Registered Nurse State Exams. While completing his studies, Graeme was terrified that one day he would have to tell his wife and school age kids that he had failed an exam, or that he had grossly overestimated his academic abilities and that he would have to drop out of the course altogether.

 

Out of necessity, this fear led Graeme to become fascinated by “mental resilience” and “learning how to learn”, he continues to study and learn about various concepts such as accelerated learning and how to get the most from your mind and memory. Thankfully, Graeme passed all the exams and successfully completed his master’s in nursing science and is a registered nurse.

 

From a very young age, Graeme has always loved and been fascinated by business – it all started back when he would give his baby teeth to a friend at school who had a tooth fairy that paid 20 cents more than his did…

 

Graeme is absolutely inspired by the unique opportunity and privilege that Bounse has to help people of all ages to listen, learn, develop and get along with others.

Natasha

Natasha van Niekerk

New Zealand Audiological Society (NZAS) audiometrist, Bounse Therapist

Natasha has a four-year degree in speech language therapy and audiology. In addition to working in private practice helping people of all ages, Natasha has spent over 14 years working in schools with children who have learning difficulties and communication challenges.

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Natasha lives with her husband and two sons just out of Kihikihi in the Waikato. Natasha has always felt at home in the country and loves being able to go to work and then gradually switch off as she travels home at the end of the day.

 

Natasha’s role at Bounse is as a New Zealand Audiological Society (NZAS) Audiometrist and Bounse Therapist.

 

Natasha has a good deal of experience helping adults and has worked as part of a multidisciplinary team of health professionals who all worked to help children with learning difficulties and communication challenges. It was here that Natasha first observed the power of therapy and training to essentially change the trajectory of people’s lives, through their brains ability to change and adapt. One of the keys to unlocking people’s potential is to help them with their speech and auditory perception. This process by which the sounds of language are heard, interpreted, and understood, is the basis for many skills that are developed to communicate and learn effectively.

 

As a mother, Natasha has observed first-hand the many trials and challenges that occur as kids discover what pushes them back and takes them forward. This could be anything from certain foods that lead to hyperactivity and activities and interests that provide the freedom for kids to be able to express their talents and energy.  

 

Natasha feels fortunate to share her experience of seeing children find their voice and place in this world, to realize that there is not only one “normal’ but that everyone has their talents and reason for being. Natasha is excited to be a part of the team at Bounse and help people of all ages to listen, learn, develop and get along with others.

Melita Peselj

Bounse Therapist
Nat. Dip. Hearing Therapy, MHTANZ, Cert. Mental Health and Addictions

Melita has a Diploma in Hearing Therapy and a Certificate in Mental Health and Addiction. She is an active member, and current president of the Hearing Therapists Association of New Zealand.

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Melita has previously been on the council for the National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and has spent many years supporting people with their hearing. Melita has also assisted with the Cochlear Implant Programme.

 

Melita’s role at Bounse is as a Bounse Therapist, and she is part of the team who provide the Bounse Brain and Auditory Training (BAT) Programme.

 

Melita was originally born in Waitara. She moved back to New Plymouth with her three daughters after spending most of her life on Auckland’s North Shore and then 10 years in the far North. Melita enjoys what New Plymouth has to offer, the mighty Mounga, spectacular West coast beaches and sunny days. The region is a great place to bring up children.

 

One of the first things people notice about Melita is her wonderful and original first name. Melita is a Croatian name, and her father is a proud Croatian. Melita’s Croatian heritage is very important to her.

 

Melita says, to be able to walk alongside someone on their journey is a real privilege. She is always researching and keeping up her knowledge of auditory therapy and brain training. She is an advocate for the amazing results achieved due to the brains plasticity, through her work with those that have been fitted with a Cochlear implant, tinnitus sufferers, newly fitted hearing aid users and people undergoing training to help with Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).

 

Melita is a dynamic people person who enjoys working as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Melita is often the first-person people speak to at Bounse and she is very skilled at building trust and rapport and putting people at ease either on the phone, via Zoom or face to face. Melita is a key member of the team at Bounse and she loves helping and working with people of all ages and all walks of life.