The Capability Development team at National Emergency Management Agency

The capability development team supports the enhanced performance and capability of the CDEM sector.

We design and develop strategic tools and mechanisms to support and enable the sector, and promote evidence based practice.

The team can assist by providing specialist advice and support relating to capability development, as well as how the CDEM sector can draw on tools to enhance their capability.

Karen Singleton - Team Leader of the Capability Development team

Karen started at the Agency in 2013 as a Capability Development Advisor to lead the learning management system project, as Team Leader she now has oversight of all the Capability Development projects at the Agency.

She has over 20 years’ experience as a learning and development professional covering corporate, academic and governmental environments in New Zealand, UK and France. She is passionate about creating engaging courses and has a particular interest in using new technology and techniques to create courseware that meets the needs of the CDEM sector and fostering supportive networks for learners and trainers. Her work is underpinned by her P/G Diploma in Post-Compulsory Education and Training and Master of Education with Distinction in Digital Education.


Debbie de Geus - Senior Capability Development Advisor

Debbie has been working in the CDEM sector at a group level for the last 10 years in the Training, Welfare, Public Information and Response space. Previous to this she has worked in the community, Schools and Polytechnic sectors. Debbie is focusing on the development of professional and learning pathways for the staff in the CDEM Sector and Associated Agencies. This includes providing tools, training and professional development programmes, in particular the Integrated Training Framework, the competency based training framework for the CDEM Sector. Over the next few years she is looking to develop function specific and leadership courses that provide consistent national training.


Leah Corbett - Learning Management System Advisor

Takatū (launched in July 2016) is a tool to support the introduction of new learning technologies, share resources, aid tracking and reporting of training. Leah is available to provide support, training and input to CDEM groups that would like to implement the use of takatū as a free Learning Management System. Leah joined the Agency from the Department of Corrections, where she held a variety of positions in the Learning & Development space. 


Erika Nunns - Capability Development Advisor

Holding a Diploma of Education and a Certificate in Adult Education Erika has worked almost 20 years in the L & D sector - both private and public sector, covering all of the different roles in the training profession. From an L & D perspective she enjoys ‘fixing things’ and making existing sessions more engaging.


Patrice Nilsen - Senior Capability Development Advisor (Fixed term)

Patrice has been with NEMA since March 2018 and is the coordinator of the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Training Fund. Working alongside CDEM Groups and Training Providers, and liaising with Ministry of Education and Tertiary Education Commission, her focus is on ensuring there is funding available to support the sector with training people for response and recovery activities. 

She has a strong background in Learning & Development, having been involved for more than 25 years in various capacities. Patrice has worked in L&D roles in Retail, Corporate, Private and Government sectors, and has also worked in Industry Training Organisations (ITO’s). She has experience in needs analysis, course design, development and delivery (online, microlearning, blended learning, mobile learning), resource development, Quality Assurance, unit standard and qualifications sector consultation and development.


Aimee Flanagan – Capability Development Advisor

Aimee’s focus is around our Supplementary staff and Role Maps. She is currently on Parental Leave and will return later in 2020.


Claire Pettigrew - Capability Development Advisor (Secondment)

Claire is on secondment with NEMA from the Ministry of Education, where she works as Advisor Emergency Management and Business Continuity. She has been involved in emergency management as a volunteer, student and professional for 7 years, and brings her experience delivering ITF and CIMS courses in multi-agency environments to the role.

Claire is enjoying focusing on capability development while at NEMA, although COVID-19 has made her secondment interesting! She is passionate about continuous improvement through a cycle of lessons management, training, exercising and evaluation. She holds a Masters in Management that looked at developing community ownership of disaster resilience initiatives, and is working towards an Advanced Diploma Public Safety (Emergency Management) with the National Centre for Emergency Management Studies in Australia. She is also an Associate Member of the Business Continuity Institute.


Anna Wilson-Goldman - Capability Development Advisor (Fixed term)

Anna has worked in Learning and Development and Organisation Development teams for six years in a mix of public and private sector roles. She comes to NEMA from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, where she helped create a diversity and inclusion strategy and work programme including face-to-face and online learning. With a BSc in Chemistry and Psychology and a National Certificate in Education and Training, Anna is excited to be updating existing learning materials and creating new ones including for the Alternate National Crisis Management Centre in Auckland. Anna worked on the COVID-19 response nearly immediately after starting and enjoyed the fast-paced and critical work in emergency management.

You can contact any of the team through via email: