1998 (November)

Brainwave was formed as a response to new scientific evidence on the impact that experiences in the early years have on the brain development of a child. The catalyst was when the late Dr Robin Fancourt – a New Plymouth paediatrician and Dr Bruce Perry, an American neuroscientist and child psychiatrist, both spoke at the 12th ISPCAN (International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) conference in Auckland in September 1998. Robin Fancourt, Judy Bailey, Lesley Max and Ian Hassall established the Trust initially funded by Dr Fancourt to deliver presentations around the country.


“Brainy Babies”, written by Dr Robin Fancourt, was published by Penguin books. Robin was internationally respected for her work with abused, neglected and disadvantaged children.


We received Tax Examption Status from the IRD.


Brainwave was incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act under the official name – The Aotearoa/New Zealand Infant Brain Development Trust.


We employed our first Executive Director, Kim Van Duiven, who helped to shape and grow the organisation towards what it is today.


We changed our name officially to Brainwave Trust Aotearoa and registered with the Charities Commission. We are based in Auckland, but operate throughout the country and provide educational presentations and resources in both the North & South Islands.

2009 (October)

We were saddened by the death of Dr Robin Fancourt. Robin was a paediatrician with a special interest in abused, neglected and disadvantaged children. She was President of Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care, and the inaugural chairperson of Children’s Agenda, a national organisation providing advocacy for children that she helped found. She was also an executive member of the council for International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. In 2003, Fancourt was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for her services to children – the fourth highest award that can be made in this country. She was diagnosed in 1998 with an oligodendroglioma in the front lobe area behind her forehead and was given four years to live. She fought a lengthy & very brave battle for two decades. Apart from her wonderful family, she leaves behind her a lifetime of committment to damaged children and the wonderful legacy of the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa. We are committed to continuing the fantastic work she began back in 1998. Read the NZ Herald Obituary for Dr. Fancourt here.


Sue Wright took over the helm as our new Executive Director.


We were saddened by the passing of our Patron, Judge Mick Brown. We were honoured to have him as our Patron; he was always committed to improving the outcomes of young people. He knew that this starts from the conception and builds through the first few years of life, so his support for Brainwave Trust has always been appreciated. He will be sadly missed. Kua hinga te rata whakamarumaru.