Our year
at a glance


“I think my future is going to be very bright.”

01 Our Vision / Our Purpose

Our Vision

A world in which no person is needlessly blind or vision impaired.

Our Purpose

We work to end avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the Pacific.

We advocate for the right of all people to high-quality and affordable eye care.

We strive for eye care to be locally-led and accessible to all. In doing this we continue Fred’s legacy.

02 A word from our leaders

Craig Fisher

Craig Fisher Board Chair

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is now officially over 30 years old, and what an inspired and industrious 30 years it has been. The accomplishments are far too many to mention here, but what I would like to say is that nothing could have been achieved without our donors who have faithfully supported us over the years – it is because of you that we can continue to play an integral role in eliminating avoidable blindness across the Pacific.

To celebrate a successful 30 Years of Restoring Sight, and to look toward the next 30 years, The Foundation was hosted at Government House by our patron, Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro, who noted, "If he was still with us, Fred would be delighted to see what The Foundation has achieved in terms of treatment and empowerment of local providers”.

Last year, we celebrated an impressive achievement: supporting the training of over 370 eye care specialists in the Pacific since we began working in the region. These eye care specialists, who have gone on to provide eye care in their own communities, are testament to the hard work and dedication of The Foundation and its Pacific partners.

I would like to also make note here of both the past and present Trustees, whose contribution to the direction of The Foundation over the years, has helped to enable the organisation to get to where it is today. In 2023, we were delighted to welcome Leo Foliaki and Lady Roslyn Morauta to our Board. Leo is a chartered accountant and retired partner from PwC. Lady Roslyn is the former first lady of Papua New Guinea, and with her extensive experience of working in the country, she will bring great insight to our work in this area.

As you read this report, I feel it is an important achievement to note that at last year’s New Zealand Charity Reporting Awards, our annual Performance Report won the top award. This is significant as the awards recognise outstanding financial reporting among registered charities. We strive to be as effective as we can be in everything we do; hence it is lovely to see our team’s efforts in this regard recognised. I would like to acknowledge the fantastic work of everybody that is involved in the production of this report.

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that sits under the wonderful umbrella of Team Fred - our staff, our donors, our supporters, our stakeholders, our Trustees and our Pacific partners. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful array of people who are all doing more than their fair share to achieve Fred’s vision of a world in which no person is needlessly blind or vision impaired.

Dr Audrey Aumaga

Dr Audrey Aumua Chief Executive Officer

One of the privileges of my role is having oversight of our organisation and seeing the incredible work that happens day in and day out by all members of Team Fred – from our staff in the Pacific on the frontline providing eye care, to our team in New Zealand keeping the cogs turning, to our partners in the Pacific who we work hand-in-hand with, and to the donors who we couldn’t operate without. All these people have helped make 2023 a great year for The Foundation. Following on from the development of our 10-year organisational strategy, 2023 was a year of implementation and taking important steps towards advancing the Pacific’s vision of universal access to quality eye care. We remain steadfast in our core focus of training a Pacific regional eye care workforce.

Although the year’s achievements are too many to mention here, I would like to make note of the State of Eye Health in the Pacific research programme that was launched – a great example of Our Strategy in action. We are partnering with the University of Auckland’s School of Optometry and Vision Science and Te Poutoko Ora a Kiwa (Centre for Global and Pacific Health), as well as Pacific governments, the New Zealand Government, and Ian Anderson Economics. This programme will develop the evidence that decision-makers across the Pacific require to strengthen eye health plans and policies to enable sustainable eye health services.

We also signed a multi-year partnership agreement with the Government of Samoa and extended our agreements with the Governments of Tonga and Fiji, reflecting our commitment to working respectfully with Pacific governments as they continue to determine, lead, and strengthen their own eye health systems. In addition, we signed a new multi-year Memorandum of Understanding with Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea, for collaboration on the delivery of the Advanced Diploma in Eye Care for mid-level eye care personnel. And we continued to push forward with our focus on eye care in Papua New Guinea which has the highest rate of avoidable vision loss in the Pacific, with 61% of all blindness being experienced by women. We are working with our partners to strengthen the country’s eye health system, with a focus on training eye doctors, nurses, and health extension officers to address Papua New Guinea’s chronic shortage of eye health professionals. In order to do this, The Foundation is working with the Government of Papua New Guinea, the University of Papua New Guinea, and other stakeholders, as well as the New Zealand Government to establish a Centre for Eye Health in Port Moresby, which will result in a significant expansion of eye care services.

In addition, we have been examining what we do at The Foundation through a broader sustainability lens. The Pacific region is disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change, resulting in sea level rise and increasingly frequent and severe weather events. As an organisation, we are committed to working with governments to help mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including supporting the increased climate resilience of health facilities to ensure the ongoing delivery of eye health services.

To provide greater transparency over what we are doing towards sustainability, we have included an additional ‘How We Work’ section in this report. We are learning, developing, and adapting our practices.

In closing, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks. Thank you to each and every person who plays a role in helping The Foundation and its partners to improve eye care services throughout the Pacific. You are truly making a difference in the lives of people every single day.

Dr John Szetu

Dr John Szetu Medical Director

As Medical Director of The Foundation, when I look back and reflect on 2023, there is an immense sense of pride that I feel. I can, and will, mention the impressive statistics for the year – 81,839 consultations, 5,792 surgeries and 23 graduates – but what I am most proud of is the way our medical staff pull together and work as a team to ensure that Pacific people are receiving the best eye care possible.

A pertinent example of this was the Pacific Eye Care Society (PacEYES) 20th Anniversary Conference, held in 2023. Themed ‘Eye Care for All’ and underscoring the goal to expand access to quality eye care across the Pacific region, the event saw over 140 people attend the two-day conference, including eye doctors, nurses and technicians from 13 countries in Oceania. A wonderful illustration of our Pacific eye care community working together to ensure quality eye care is available to all.

Across all our Pacific countries, we saw many important steps forward for eye care services last year, but I would like to make special mention here of Vanuatu. Not only did the National Eye Centre in Port Vila see Dr Andronico Ly join the team as Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist, but the centre also significantly reduced its backlog to the lowest it has been in several years. Also in Vanuatu, the first ever Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) was completed. A RAAB is population-based survey that determines the prevalence and primary causes of blindness and visual impairment, as well as indicators on eye care services and access to treatment in a given country. The inaugural survey saw the RAAB team examine the eyes of nearly 5,000 people across Vanuatu and will provide important evidence to inform eye health planning going forward.

I would also like to talk about one of my favourite days of the year – World Sight Day. Having dedicated my life to caring for people’s eyes, this day resonates with me on a deep level. This year the theme was ‘Love your eyes at work’ and when I observed what our teams in the Pacific were doing to honour the day, I saw the level of passion that every one of them has for their job.

In Solomon Islands free diabetes checks were performed, free spectacles were given out and eye screening outreaches were conducted for government departments, private companies and peri-urban areas of Honiara. Free community eye screenings were also completed in Kiribati and Vanuatu - where close to 300 people were screened and free glasses were given out. In Fiji, 14 sight-restoring eye surgeries were performed on children, and in Papua New Guinea, two public awareness videos were put together and aired on TV and radio.

These are only a selection of the amazing things our teams accomplished to mark World Sight Day, but to me, it speaks to the level of enthusiasm and dedication they all have in their jobs. This is not just a job to our medical staff; it is a calling.

03 What we do

Snapshots of success

The positive differences we have made with your support.

81,839 in 2023
5,792 in 2023
23 in 2023
Eye clinics supported

04 Throughout the Pacific

Country highlights

We work alongside governments, ministries, local health authorities and universities in the Pacific to progress national eye health priorities. These actions develop each country’s capacity to deliver quality eye health services through the training and ongoing support of eye health doctors and nurses. Each milestone we reach together contributes towards stronger, more resilient, and accessible health systems. Tap a country to see the 2023 achievements. (As well as the countries below, we provide support to Nauru and Tuvalu and have worked with the health authorities in the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Niue, Timor-Leste and Tokelau to train 44 eye care clinicians.)

Eye Care Graduate

Dr Alice Irafa

Dr Alice Irafa had to delay graduation from her eye care training because of the disruption of COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea. In partnership with the Madang Provincial Hospital, The Foundation worked to ensure that Dr Alice completed the prerequisite surgeries to become an ophthalmologist.

"They rescued me,” she said. “They saw I needed help, and their help was tremendous. I could get a bit emotional talking about it because this is my passion. I believe it's a calling for me to be in this field because of the joy that I get when I encounter every patient that comes to me. You feel like you've done a lot to bring change to a person, their family, and the community.”

05 Training

Last year, The Foundation celebrated an impressive achievement: supporting the training of over 370 eye care specialists in the Pacific since we began working in the region.

This remarkable number of trained eye care specialists was achieved in collaboration with our Pacific partners including Fiji National University, Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea and the University of Papua New Guinea.

Dr Audrey Aumua, Chief Executive Officer of The Foundation, said, “The training of eye care graduates, including ophthalmologists, eye nurses and eye care technicians, is integral to increasing access to quality eye care for people throughout the Pacific. Of these 372 eye care specialists, currently just under 80 per cent of this trained workforce are delivering eye care across 14 Pacific countries and Timor-Leste. In total, throughout the Pacific, they have delivered more than 93,700 eye surgeries and over 1.2 million eye consultations with our support.”

The Foundation will continue to work alongside Pacific governments, health ministries and universities to further develop the regional eye health workforce, ensuring that eye care services are accessible to those who need it most.

06 Patient & Graduate stories


Hesalyn had cataracts in both eyes for over three years. She had never seen her youngest child’s face clearly and missed being able to play or look after her five children.

Hesalyn travelled for two days to her local eye clinic, where she was referred to the Regional Eye Centre (REC) in Honiara for her cataract surgery. The journey to the REC was a hard decision, as it was going to take five days, and with surgeries and recovery time, she would need to stay in Honiara for up to two months. Despite these challenges, she knew it would be worth it.

A 20-minute operation transformed Hesalyn’s life. When her bandages were removed, she looked over to her son with a big smile and said, “I can see your face now my boy!”

Read the story at hollows.org.nz


A skilled painter and woodcutter, Louro’s life took a turn in 2021 when an accident at work led to a cataract, impairing his vision. As the sole provider for his wife and 10 children, Louro faced a daunting question: “How am I going to provide for them?”.

Then our Outreach Team arrived in Kerema, near where Louro lives. This was the first time they had travelled to this area, which due to its geographical isolation, lack of facilities, and a shortage of trained medical personnel, normally has very limited access to eye care.

The team were able to perform life-changing eye surgery on Louro so he could see clearly again. Overjoyed, Louro expressed his gratitude, “Thank you! To the doctors and to all of you!”

Read the story at hollows.org.nz

Dr Pius Singeia

Dr Pius Singeia was drawn to eye care because of the profound difference it can make in people’s lives. He saw the sight-restoring work done at the Regional Eye Centre and hoped one day he would be able to do the same.

This became a reality when in 2021 he was offered a scholarship by The Foundation to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmology at Fiji National University, supported by the Pacific Eye Institute.

“When you treat a patient who was really blind, and afterward they can see, and they smile when they can see somebody who they have never seen before, it gives me encouragement to continue working in eye care, to go out on outreaches and save people’s sight.”

Dr Pius will commence his three-year Master of Medicine (Ophthalmology) at Fiji National University in 2024.

Read the story at hollows.org.nz

07 Key event

Dr Andronico Ly (right) and Nurse Lui (background) conduct a vision acuity test to collect data on avoidable blindness in Vanuatu

State of Eye Health in the Pacific Research Programme launched

Launched in February 2023, The Foundation’s State of Eye Health Research Programme represents a comprehensive effort to strengthen eye health systems in the Pacific. Collaborating with the University of Auckland School of Optometry and Vision Science and the newly established Te Poutoko Ora a Kiwa (Centre for Global and Pacific Health), as well as Pacific Island governments, the New Zealand Government, and Ian Anderson Economics, the programme aims to provide the evidence needed for developing sustainable eye health policies. It focuses on the unique challenges faced by Pacific island countries in delivering healthcare, including geographical spread and resource allocation.

This five-year programme, divided into three phases, is central to addressing the social and economic impacts of vision loss in the face of rising non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes), ageing populations, and climate change impacts.

The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Audrey Aumua, says, “Eye health is one area of public health that has remained under-resourced in the Pacific region. However, eye health leaders recognise that without increased focus on eye health now, and the development of sustainable policies and plans, Pacific island countries will face deepening socio-economic crises resulting from growing blindness and vision impairment. Our aim is for this research programme to help secure much-needed public funding for eye health and ensure ongoing monitoring and reporting on the state of eye health in the Pacific.”

Read the story at hollows.org.nz

08 Our reach

Stella (left) with a patient from her community who was soon to get cataract surgery

Stella Kokopu

Stella Kokopu was trained as an eye nurse by Dr John Szetu, Medical Director of The Foundation, and became one of the first nurses to work at the Regional Eye Centre in Solomon Islands. "There were only four of us," she remembers. "Sometimes we had to do operations until 12 o'clock at night."

She worked at the eye clinic until her retirement, but she still goes back to visit. "The passion for restoring sight is part of my life. Whenever I see people in the community who are blind, I feel sorry for them and their family. I take them to the eye clinic. Sometimes it's costly, but I have decided to take them."

On one occasion, Stella noticed a man shuffling along the side of the road and knew instantly that he was experiencing difficulties with sight. She brought him to the Regional Eye Centre for a consultation. "I love doing this," she said. "I know there's a way for them to see, and that is at the eye clinic."

09 Spotlight on supporters

Gisborne student receives humanity award

The annual Humanity Awards recognise young Kiwis who, just like Fred, strive to make the world around them a better place.

This year Harry Newman from Motu School in the Gisborne region was named 2023 Fred Hollows NZ Junior Ambassador for his passion and environmental action.

Receiving the award was as special for the family as it was for Harry, who couldn’t quite believe he’d won. "We are very proud and humbled really. Harry is a lovely little boy and it’s amazing that he has been recognised in this way," says Harry’s mum, Paula Newman.

Harry lives in a very rural and isolated spot near the Whinray Reserve - an ecological reserve for Kiwi. Harry recently helped release Kiwi hatchlings with the Department of Conservation and during Conservation Week he initiated a restoration of pathways in another bush reserve next to his school.

Read the story at hollows.org.nz

The power of connection

Elizabeth Pindar, one of our generous supporters, has chosen to leave a gift to The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ in her Will because of the impact she knows it will have in the Pacific. While visiting her father in Solomon Islands in the early 1940’s, she saw first-hand the difference sight can make in people’s lives.

“One man I had the great pleasure in meeting was known as ‘Doc John’, who, to his great dismay, was no longer able to read his Bible as his sight had deteriorated,” Elizabeth says.

“When I found out that The Foundation helped in those places I really wanted to join in and encourage others through what I can do. To know that people like ‘Doc John’ and the local villagers can get the care they need, from their own trained people, is a dream to them.”

Read the story at hollows.org.nz

Changing the way eye care is delivered in Tonga

An eye screening van funded by one of our major donors, Pat Pettit, has enabled the eye care team in Tonga to provide more comprehensive eye care services.

When asked what motivated her to give, Pat said, “My sight is the sense which I most value - to see the smiles on the faces of my children and friends, to interact with my precious nine grandchildren and watch them growing, developing and achieving goals.

I have long admired the work achieved by The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ - providing much-needed facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions. I feel honoured to be able to facilitate the provision of eye care to outlying areas of Tonga by funding a van for this purpose."

Between January and October 2023, the eye care van performed 5,413 eye consultations and screened 498 patients for diabetes eye disease.

Read the story at hollows.org.nz

10 Looking forward

The Future Fund 2024

2024 Projects

Globally, 9 out of 10 people who are blind don’t need to be, and with cataracts being one of the main causes of blindness and the rising rates of diabetes eye disease, eye care demand in the Pacific is rapidly increasing.

At the heart of our long-term strategy is a future where Pacific people are benefiting from their own sustainable and resilient quality eye health systems.

Looking forward, the Future Fund 2024 details some key projects we are working on with country partners to deliver long-term sustainable eye care within stronger health systems. This includes the significant research project with the University of Auckland into the State of Eye Health in the Pacific, and the construction of the Papua New Guinea Centre for Eye Health, which will provide quality training and on-going support for more eye doctors and nurses, and specialised eye care services for the country.

Support of The Foundation through the Future Fund directly provides the resources our Pacific teams need now to continue restoring sight, developing the local eye care workforce, and supporting those on the frontline to change the lives of thousands of people for many years to come.

11 Financial summary 2023

Financial report

Financial Performance for the year ending 31 December 2023. The information in this report has been summarised from the audited consolidated annual financial statements of The Fred Hollows Foundation (NZ) for the year ending 31 December 2023. The full audited financial statements are available for download on the last page of this web report or on the Charities Services website.

12 Our people


Gabi Hollows AO

Founding Director
The Fred Hollows Foundation

The Rt Hon Dame Cindy Kiro

Governor-General of New Zealand

Senior Leadership Team

Board of Trustees

13 Thank you

Thank you to our amazing partners

Pacific Island Government Partners

  • Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services
  • Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services
  • Nauru Department of Health and Medical Services
  • Papua New Guinea National Department of Health
  • Samoa Ministry of Health
  • Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services
  • Tongan Ministry of Health
  • Tuvalu Department of Health
  • Vanuatu Ministry of Health

Development partners

Corporate partners

Thank you to Ryman Healthcare for choosing us as their 2023 Charity of the Year

Organisations that support our work

  • Adtollo Consulting
  • Aurolab
  • Bossley Architects
  • Callander Control
  • Carl Zeiss New Zealand
  • CloudSquared
  • Confide
  • Corporate Traveller
  • D&S Seko, Madang, Papua New Guinea
  • Device Technologies New Zealand
  • DLA Piper New Zealand
  • Dunlop PNG
  • Eyegen Medical
  • Eyewear Design
  • Flocon Mechanical
  • Gravitate
  • Imperium Technologies
  • International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology
  • Islands Business
  • JBWere
  • John Hannan, Barrister, Bankside Chambers
  • Kerikeri Woodchoppers
  • Kiwibank
  • Kosaye Electrical & Refrigeration, Papua New Guinea,
  • Madang Motors, Papua New Guinea
  • Madang Star International Hotel, Papua New Guinea
  • Mediscope International
  • Medspares Pacific
  • Morris & Sojnocki, Chartered Accountants, Solomon Islands
  • Ophthalmic Instrument Company
  • OptiMed NZ
  • PwC, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  • Rotary Club of Honiara, Solomon Islands
  • S-Brothers Investment
  • SmoothPay
  • Supercool Vanuatu
  • The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
  • The Sustainability Network
  • The University of Auckland
  • TSA Management
  • Ubiq University Bookshop
  • Unleashed Software
  • Walesi Fiji

Thanks also to Gravitate, our digital design and technology partner

Gravitate has been working with The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ over the last five years, helping us to communicate the incredible work our eye care specialists are achieving throughout the Pacific.
2023 Performance Report

Get the full financials

We also offer the full audited 2023 financial statements in PDF format for those that are interested.
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