TCHC_NZ_-_logo_jpegThe Tai Chi for Health Community New Zealand Incorporated

TCHC NZ Inc was founded in 2010 by a group of like-minded individuals, with Dr Paul Lam graciously consenting to act as an advisor.   Our purpose is to ensure the sustainability of the Tai Chi for Health (TCH) programmes and to provide support for providers and instructors.  Membership is open to all New Zealand TCH instructors and students.  For more details contact the Secretary:

Committee Members

(Detailed committee biographies below the photo gallery)

Chris Hattle

Chris Hattle


Master Trainer TCHI and Physiotherapist (Palmerston North)

Margaret Dando

Margaret Dando

Committee Member

TCHI Instructor and Falls Prevention Coordinator Age Concern Otago

Helga Meyer

Helga Meyer


Senior Trainer TCHI and Waiheke Island Tai Chi

Robert Haas

Robert Haas

Committee Member

TCHI Instructor ~ Hawkes Bay

Tamara Bennett

Tamara Bennett


Master Trainer TCHI and Dr Lam’s NZ agent for Tai Chi Productions

Dr Paul Lam

Dr Paul Lam


Creator of the Tai Chi for Health programmes, Director of Tai Chi for Health Institute and owner Managing Director of Tai Chi Productions.

Ferne McKenzie

Ferne McKenzie


TCHI Instructor Wellington, Fierce Tiger Tai Chi Chuan School

Chair ~ Chris Hattle

Chris Hattle – Chair TCHC NZ

I am a registered physiotherapist with a passion for the wellness  and health benefits which tai chi brings to the people around me.   As a physiotherapist, knowledge of tai chi forms and principles has become an invaluable part of therapies I offer.

My physiotherapy practice is in areas of “care of older adults” and their care staff, arthritis and related conditions, multiple sclerosis, parkinsonism, falls prevention, hydrotherapy and additional interests in diabetes, osteoporosis, hyperventilation, pain management and stress management.  Back care is a vital aspect of my physiotherapy work for people with many varied work postures and tasks.  I am currently in the process of extending my work to younger age groups and am planning bringing tai chi into schools and pre-schools.  I plan to include in this field my love of movement and form in illustrative art.

I was introduced to teaching Tai Chi for Arthritis at a small 2001 workshop led by Dr Paul Lam in Lower Hutt, NZ.  Since that time I have attended several New Zealand Dr Lam workshops.  In January 2009 I was privileged to attend the one week workshop in Sydney as a tuition-scholarship recipient, to study “Sun style 73 forms”.  In 2010 I was again invited to Sydney to train with an international selection of candidates training as Master Trainers.  The established Master Trainers who were putting us through our paces, immersed us in motivation, inspiration and knowledge.  As well as studying the skills for becoming Master Trainers we also studied “Sun style 73 forms in depth”, and discussions were opened to us on the processing of the TCHI Falls Prevention module.

I am an Authorised Master Trainer for Tai Chi for Arthritis, Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis, Tai Chi for Arthritis for Falls Prevention and Tai Chi for Osteoporosis. Soon after qualifying as a  Master Trainer, I completed studies to become qualified to re-certify tai chi instructors in their Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor  training.  I hold instructor certificates in Tai Chi for Arthritis, Tai Chi for Diabetes, Tai Chi for Energy and Tai Chi for Kidz.  I assisted Dr Lam at his Auckland 2010  double workshop which comprised the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi for Kidz workshop and hosted and assisted Dr Lam in Palmerston North for a double workshop in 2012.

Teaching tai chi and public speaking seem to go hand in hand as interest in tai chi grows consistently throughout the communities in which I live and work.  I have also been a speaker at several conferences.

I watch as researchers make their choices regarding which aspects of tai chi they can research, so the people of the world, who wonder at wellness from tai chi, can have access to information on established benefits.  As such tai chi is growing in practice and growing in the world of research.  Tai chi is an exciting field to be working in.  It has become an integral part of my life.


Vice Chair ~ Helga Meyer


Helga Meyer – Vice Chair TCHC NZ

I have been practicing tai chi for 30 years, first Yang Style and for the last 9 years also the Tai Chi for Health programmes. I have been fortunate to learn from amazing teachers all around the world, which includes attending many workshops with Dr Paul Lam in New Zealand and Australia.

In 1993 I started teaching casually, and I am teaching several tai chi groups formally on Waiheke Island continuously since early 2007, when I was contracted to be part of a large New Zealand wide study on falls prevention. We also have several builders and tradesmen in our classes who find tai chi great for strengthening their backs!

I am excited about being a Senior Trainer and able to offer Skill Building Workshops for instructors and students.

The Waiheke Island health professionals and community have really embraced tai chi and I am frequently called upon to give talks or demonstrations and introductory classes at various events.

The great thing about tai chi is that there is always more to learn and to deepen one’s understanding, and I am looking forward to many more years on this journey.

I have definitely found my home in the Tai Chi for Health Community!

I have just started to teach Sun 73, and am qualified to teach Tai Chi for Arthritis, Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis, Energy, Osteoporosis, Diabetes, and Kidz.

Secretary ~ Tamara Bennett


Tamara Bennett – Secretary TCHC NZ

My Tai Chi & Qigong journey began in 1999 for health reasons and I have been teaching in my Smiling Dragon Tai Chi & Qigong business since 2004.  I gained my first Tai Chi for Health Instructor certificate in 2005 with TCA, followed by TCD, TCK, TCO, TCE. TCR, STCA and TCAFP. TCA2, TCM and TCHC.  I teach 13 local self funded community tai chi classes. I also offer Tai Chi & Qigong workshops, community talks and TCK to local schools.

I was honoured to be nominated and appointed a Master Trainer for the Tai Chi for Health Institute in 2015. And am now also an Authorised Master Trainer for Tai Chi for Arthritis, Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis, Tai Chi for Arthritis for Falls Prevention, Tai Chi for Arthritis Part 2, Tai Chi for Rehabilitation. Tai Chi for Memory and Tai Chi for Heart Conditions.

I am a member, committee support and level 3 Qigong Teacher of NZCKTCMA (New Zealand Chi Kung & Traditional Chinese Medicine Association) and Member of NZNTCCA (New Zealand National T’ai Chi Ch’uan Association).

I was instrumental in developing the Franklin Health Group to become an Incorporated Society in 2010. Being an executive member for this group and Coordinator for their annual Health Expo, has extended my knowledge and awareness of health concerns, promotions, networking, business skills and community well-being.

My background prior to Tai Chi & Qigong, involved Zoology in the USA and Commercial Horticulture NZ. Being successfully self-employed since 1990, has given me the opportunity to gain skills in all areas of business management.

I am excited to be instrumental in the formation and development of Tai Chi for Health Community NZ (TCHC NZ).

My goals as an executive member of TCHC NZ Inc include:

  • Supporting TCHI MT’s and ST’s to increase training and mentoring TCHI instructors in NZ.
  • Encouragement and support for NZ TCHI instructors to maintain and advance their Tai Chi and teaching skills.
  • Enhancing the promotion of Dr Lam’s TCH programmes within NZ, extending to diverse markets yet to be discovered.
  • Support networking amongst TCH Community instructors within NZ and internationally.
  • Introduce and imbed our motto “Keeping Tai Chi Active in NZ”

I look forward to decades of learning and sharing the benefits of Tai Chi & Qigong.  I am fortunate to be able to fulfill my goals and dreams with the support of my loving husband and our two sons.   You can find out more about me at my website  (click here)

Treasurer ~ Ferne McKenzie


Ferne McKenzie – Treasurer TCHC NZ

I have been doing Tai chi since 1999 when I first learned the 24 hand forms at the Wellington High School. My husband David started a few months later and we have both been on a journey which has led to the opening of our school (Fierce Tiger Tai Chi Chuan) in 2010 and a trip to China.

I first did Tai chi for Arthritis course with Dr Lam in 2003 and my first Tai Chi for Diabetes course was in 2008. David and I have also been to the Sydney workshops a couple of times and would recommend the addictive experience to everyone. As well as doing some Dr Lam’s forms, I also do various hand forms including Sun style and forms using swords, fans and walking sticks.

I am active with NZKWF and NZNTCCA and have participated in festivals and I have also organised festivals, workshops and fundraisers. This, year, I organised the World Tai Chi Qi Gong day in Wellington and some of you may see me at festivals in Auckland and Christchurch.  I also organise an end of year group class for TCA instructors and students in Wellington.

Despite my experience and skill which covers tai chi for fun, for health and as a national judge at tournaments, I always try to promote TCA and other Dr Lam’s forms, as being equal to the more established forms of tai chi and of the benefits they bring to everyone. The forms are short, easy to remember and you can do them in a small space.  I have been associated with the Wellington group of “independent” (those who do not have a contract with ACC) TCA instructors for many years and with our students, we do demonstrations at festivals & tournaments to promote TCA in the community.

In 2010-2011, David and I went on a martial arts trip to China with Chin Woo, visiting various Wushu schools, including one belonging to Danny Lee – the 4th descendent of Sun style and Sun Liu Tang.  We also visited places like the Shaolin Temple and the Bruce Lee Memorial Museum. The photograph is of me receiving a flag from the Heung Kong Martial Arts Association.

TCHC NZ Inc. Treasurer, elected 2011

NZNTCCA, Wellington Committee, 2010 onwards

NZKWF, Individual member and National Taolu (tai chi) judge (2006 onwards)

Chin Woo, member

Committee Member - Robert Hass


Robert Haas – Committee Member

Tai Chi has been a regular part of my life since 2011. It was not a health issue that got me onto the path of Tai Chi; rather I came across it during my studies for a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation and enjoyed the foray into Tai Chi so much, that I have continued on this path. I attend regular workshops and have been a number of times to Dr. Paul Lam’s fabulous one-week annual Tai Chi Workshop in Sydney, which are always an inspirational and motivational experience.

Since 2013 I have been active as an instructor too; like so many of us I first certified for Tai Chi for Arthritis. Further certifications followed over the years for Tai Chi for Energy, Tai Chi for Osteoporosis, seated Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi for Arthritis for Falls Prevention. In my own personal practice I do Tai Chi for Diabetes, as well as 24 Form and 73 Form. 

It is my interest that more people do more tai chi more often in New Zealand and in particular in Hawke’s Bay. For this reason alone I believe that the Tai Chi for Health Community is a great organisation to support.

Advisor ~ Dr Paul Lam

Dr Paul Lam – Advisor and Life Member TCHC NZ

Dr Paul Lam, a family physician in Sydney and a tai chi teacher since 1976, is a world leader in the field of Tai Chi for health improvement.  Dr Lam is dedicated to promoting Tai Chi for health and wellness.  He has participated  and published in peer-reviewed journals research projects relating to Tai Chi for health improvement. Dr Lam has composed several Tai Chi for Health programs that are supported by Foundations around the world including those of Arthritis Foundations of Australia, America and UK.  By 2010 over two million people around the world have learned and benefited from one of his programs.  Dr Lam has written four books: Overcoming Arthritis, Tai Chi for Beginners and the 24 Forms, Tai Chi for Diabetes and Teaching Tai Chi Effectively.

Dr Lam has just published his Memoir, Born Strong, which is available through or

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