Rachelle Martin

Rachelle is a member of Ilam Baptist Church and is nominated by the Ilam Baptist Church Governance Team.

To this role, I would bring more than 30 years experience of leadership in both church and non-church contexts, an ability to work collaboratively, a desire to work as an active ally of the marginalised, and a commitment to listen to, serve and partner with people of diverse faith perspectives and experiences.

Rachelle is a gifted leader and communicator. In 2019 Rachelle completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Studies and she currently works as a lecturer and researcher in disability and rehabilitation studies. In her work and in the rest of her life she is thoughtful, insightful and able to wrestle with complex issues. Rachelle is able to be an active participant in group discussions, synthesizing information, listening and communicating in ways that help move discussions forward. She is a strong and inspirational leader who brings people together. Rachelle has a deep and thoughtful Christian faith that infuses every area of her life and work. She has a high degree of social intelligence and is able to work in all kinds of group situations. She is passionate about justice and equity and a strong advocate for all people. Rachelle is an active learner who gathers the expertise, information and skills she needs to participate fully. She works as a leader and participant in groups to encourage people to flourish in their roles.

Rachelle has been a member of Ilam Baptist Church since 1991. During this time she has had many leadership roles and is a respected leader in our church community For example:

  • Missionscope member and chair (Ilam’s overseas mission supporting committee)
  • Children and Family’s ministry leadership.
  • Leadership team member, including serving as chairperson.
  • Service coordination and leadership ministry leader
  • Worship leading (30 years!) and some preaching.

Chair of Canterbury Westland Baptist Board for 1 year.

In her work Rachelle aims to develop equitable health-optimising policies and programmes, enabling people who experience disability to live well across their lifespan. Her research is focused on four main areas: (1) co-designing services and supports that better meet people’s needs and aspirations; (2) evaluating interventions and programmes to support the achievement of equitable access, experience and outcomes; (3) interrogating the intersection between health care provider attitudes and behaviours and the responses of people they are providing services to; and (4) conducting research to creating a more enabling society. She would bring these values to AC.

Other leadership roles:

  • Since 2015. New Zealand Rehabilitation Association Executive; President starting August 2023
  • Since 2018. Associate Editor, New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy

Rachelle approaches life and faith in the following ways:

  • She is authentic in her faith, sincere in her loving and deeply committed to the wellbeing of the people she serves.
  • She understands Baptist history, principles and local church life and has a solid track record of contribution in Baptist spaces.
  • She empowers and enhances the mana of people – acknowledging and building on their diverse capabilities and strengths.
  • She works to achieve equitable access, experiences and outcomes for all.
  • She is committed to participatory methods that listen to and enhance the voices of marginalised people, ensuring their perspectives influence decision-making.
  • She partners and works collaboratively with tāngata whenua Māori to ensure te Tiriti responsiveness.
  • She is grounded and practical in her approach seeking for tangible improvements in ways of being and doing.

We, the Governance Team of Ilam Baptist Church, are delighted to unanimously nominate Rachelle Martin for Baptist Assembly Council. We believe she is well suited to this role and well equipped to contribute in this forum. Rachelle is a mature, gifted, respected and inspirational Christian leader with wide and deep experience in the Baptist church world and in the Education and Health sectors. She is a superb team player, collaborator, communicator and facilitator. She has a strong service ethic and a solid track record of working constructively and effectively with other leaders in varied and challenging contexts. Her passion and compassion for people on the margins, and her ability to advocate on their behalf, is an invaluable gift for groups working in and with diverse communities. The grounded faith, sensitivity, wisdom, insight, creativity and good humour she brings into leadership groups is also an invaluable energiser and asset. Rachelle understands and values Baptist history, principles and local church life, if she were to be appointed to the board, we believe that she would stay firmly focused on the wellbeing and flourishing of our church communities across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Get to know Rachelle:

Tēnā koutou katoa

He uri ahau, nō tawhiti

Ka mihi ahau ki tēnei whenua me ona uri

Ka mihi atu ahau ki te korowai o Kāi Tūāhuriri

Ko Tarara te maunga

Ko Purakauiti te awa

Ko Tahakopa te oneone

Ka nui te mihi ki tērā whenua

I tipu ake ahau ki Catlins

Kei Ōtautahi ahau e noho ana

Ko Michael tāku ko tāne

Ko Rachelle tōku ingoa

It would be a privilege to serve and partner with the Baptist churches of Aotearoa NZ as a member of the Assembly Council. To this role, I would bring more than 30 years of experience in local church leadership within the Ilam Baptist faith community at both governance and ministry levels. I would approach the role with social intelligence, spirituality, judgement, bravery and hope (according to StrengthFinders!).

My church-based roles have been informed by my professional background and experiences. I worked as a physiotherapist for >25 years, mainly alongside people and their whānau after brain injuries. In 2018, I obtained a PhD, and now work as a lecturer and researcher in rehabilitation and disability studies. I work 20 hours for the University of Otago and undertake contracted research mahi for a range of disability and health provider organisations for the rest of my time.

I approach life (inclusive of faith and work) in the following ways:

  1. I seek to empower and enhance the mana of people – acknowledging and building on their diverse capabilities and strengths.
  2. I am committed to equitable access, experiences and outcomes for all.
  3. I am committed to participatory ways of working that listen to and enhance the voices of marginalised people, ensuring their perspectives influence decision-making.
  4. I collaboratively partner with tāngata whenua Māori to ensure te Tiriti responsiveness.
  5. I do practical and implementable work, leading to improved ways of being and doing.

While I have not undertaken formal theological training, I am biblically literate (thanks Brethren upbringing!). I strongly affirm the priesthood of all believers and the need for communities of faith to do and be in ways that echo a trinitarian understanding – a dance of love, grace and community.

I have experience contributing to a range of boards, including the Canterbury Westland Association of Baptist Churches, NZ Rehabilitation Association and the NZ Physiotherapy Journal.