I was born in the USA and attained a B.A. in Liberal Arts. Then after travelling through Europe and Africa, I married a New Zealander and we traveled through Asia to NZ in 1973. We have two adult sons.
I became a Mahayana Buddhist in Nepal in 1973. With my husband and two other people we started the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre in NZ, Dorje Chang Institute, in 1976. In 1995, I founded and am currently the Managing Director of Amitabha Hospice Service Trust. I have been on the Executive of the New Zealand Buddhist Council since 2009. I was a Registered Nurse from 1992-2016. My nursing experience has led me to specialise in Palliative care. I was critically injured in a car accident in 2008, which gave me a lot of experience of being on the other side of the caring equation.
In my work as a nurse with dying patients in their own homes, I felt my usefulness was more as a spiritual companion supporting their transition than as a medical practitioner.

Ecie Hursthouse - Founder/Managing Director

OUR Board Of Trustees


Heather Kempton


I am originally from North Devon, England, but also have strong connection to Wales, having lived in North Wales for 10 years, where I completed her BSc and PhD in Psychology at Bangor University. I then moved to Auckland to take up a position as Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Massey University. My teaching and research interests are in cognitive psychology (attention, memory, emotion etc.) and my current research focus is on mindfulness/meditation. I have lived here for 14 years, am a practicing Buddhist (Vajrayana: Karma Kagyu tradition), and have completed Level 1 training of Buddhist Chaplaincy, with Ecie as my supervisor. I am a mother of one, and am delighted to be able to support Amitabha Hospice by Chairing the Board of Trustees.

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Wayne Yau


Wayne Yau has years of work experience  in the finance industry. He is a highly organised person who is able to think on the go.  


Stephen Le Couteur

Property Manager

Stephen LeCouteur has been a Trustee of AHTS for approximately eight years including some  two years as Chairman. His  portfolio is overseeing maintenance of AHS buildings and property and managing the rental flat and formerly the rental house. He lives with his wife Imelda in their home in New Windsor.

Stephen’ background has been diverse, with careers in newsprint media journalism,  house decorating contracting, business education  marketing and enrolments for AUT, Henley Management College (NZ  branch), and  residential property management.

In the past, Stephen has served on committees for the YHA (Dunedin branch), and the Auckland Outdoor Activities Club.

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Sabine Hemmingsen-Jensen


I was born in Germany and immigrated to New Zealand in 1995. My background and passion are in health, fitness and office management. I have worked as a personal fitness trainer, massage therapist and registered physiotherapist. Having completed an Advanced Diploma of Business Systems I have also worked in the IT Industry. Nowadays I am managing our office at PDB Homes Ltd. My husband and I have three young sons.

I am a long-time student of Buddhist Dharma and have received teachings from various Mahayana Buddhist teachers, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

I have been happy to support Amitabha Hospice Service since its early days in the late 1990ies. I volunteered in patients’ homes, did administrative and fundraising work, and sit as a secretary on the Board of Trustees.

Operations Manager- Anjalee Pieries


Volunteer Coordinator-

Margarita Sisam

Volunteer Coordinator-

Claire Barton


Day-stay Programme Coordinator-

Grace Garden


Vijay Kumar


I have been a NZ Charted Accountant since 2001 and have nearly 30 years’ overall experience across 3 continents. For me, accountancy is a service, that’s the very reason I have supported Amitabha hospice for the past 7 years as their accountant .