Charge Detail Summary

File Number: Nur21/526P
Practitioner: Vaiola Haunga
Hearing Start Date:

Hearing End Date:

Hearing Town/City:
Hearing Location:
Charge Characteristics:

Codified professional standards breach (Established)

Communication inadequate/inappropriate

Records - inadequate/inappropriate

Safety of patient put at risk

Practising while suspended from practising

Additional Orders:

Name Suppression to Practitioner

Order for interim name suppression for the practitioner and suppression of any identifying details

No application for permanent name suppression.  Interim name suppression lapsed.


Name Suppression to Complainant and/or Patient and/or client

Order for interim suppression of the names of all children named in the charge, and suppression of any identifying details

Order for permanent suppression of the names of all children named in the charge, and suppression of any identifying details


Appeal Order:


Substantive Decision 1249Nur21526P.pdf

Penalty Decision

Appeal Decision:

Precis of Decision:

On 22 March 2022 by audio visual link the Health Practitioner’s Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) heard two charges laid by the Professional Conduct Committee (the PCC) appointed by the Nursing Council of New Zealand against Ms Vailola Ha’unga, registered nurse of Auckland (the nurse).  On 22 August 2022, again by audio visual link the Tribunal considered penalty submissions filed by the PCC.


The charge one alleged that the nurse:


During her employment in the Early Childhood Team at Starship Community Services providing services to high needs families, the nurse compromised the health, safety and wellbeing of children in her care by failing to meet one or more of the following nursing competencies namely documentation, case management and clinical competence and/or by failing to undertake one or more of the 12 universal core contacts delivered as part of the Well Child/Tamariki Ora programmed when she knew or ought to have known these were required.  59 sub particulars of the charge referred to 59 children who the PCC alleged were compromised by the nurse’s failure.


Charge two alleged that the nurse:


During the period 24 October 2018 to 6 March 2019, practised nursing when she knew ought to have known her practising certificate had been suspended.


The conduct alleged in the two charges amounted to professional misconduct and that the 59 sub-particulars either separately or cumulatively, are particulars of that professional misconduct.


The nurse did not attend the hearing or engage in the disciplinary process.  The hearing proceeded by way of formal proof of evidence.





In June 2013 the nurse was employed as a public health nurse within Early Childhood Health Team at the Starship Community.  Patients in this group are aged from 4 weeks to 5 years and are enrolled with the Well Child service. 


In July 2017 concerns were raised over the nurse’s 74 assigned cases relating to documentation, case management and aspects of her clinical care.  The nurse was placed on a Supportive Improvement Plan in August 2017.


Concerns continued and in January 2018 the nurse was put on a Performance Plan and required to have full and direct supervision with her client contacts from January to 25 March 2018.


Concerns did not resolve and on 3 April 2018 the nurse was advised that it was proposed to stand her down from her employment due to serious concerns about her competence and conduct.  The nurse was stood down on full pay while an investigation into the conerns was conducted and completed.


The nurse was advised of the outcome of the investigation and the ongoing concerns ans was invitged to attend a meeting on 4 May 2018 to discuss the concerns.  The nurse resigned from her position on 3 May 2018.  She commenced employment with Capital & Coast DHB as a special clinical nurse for the Pacific Health Unit for inpatients at Wellington Hospital.


On 21 May 2018 the Nursing Council was advised of the concerns around the nurse’s competency and professional conduct.


On 15 July 2018 the nurse was referred to a PCC for investigation.  The nurse did not participate in the PCC investigation, however, she did provide a written submission and her CV.


On 24 October 2018 the nurse was advised by the Nursing Council that her practising certificate was formally suspended.


In March 2019, the nurse was reminded by the Nursing Council that her practising certificatge was suspended.


In February 2020 as the Nurse Director at Capital & Coast Health could not find the nurse on the Nursing Council’s register she rang the Nursing Council and was advised that the nurse’s practising certificate had been suspended in October 2018.





The Tribunal found that 23 of the 59 particulars of charge one were established.  The Tribunal overall, was satisfied that the nurse’s conduct in relation to the 23 established particulars fell below expected standards.  13 of these particulars were serious breaches of nursing competencies and each on their own, amounted to negligence.  The other 10 established particulars were not sufficiently serious to warrant a separate finding of professional misconduct.


All 23 particulars when considered together, demonstrated a pattern of unsafe practice where children may have been put at risk and their health a safety were compromised.


The Tribunal found that charge two was established and amounted to negligence and likely to bring discredit to the profession.


Both charges were considered sufficiently serious to warrant the imposition of a penalty.


Penalty submissions were sought from the PCC and the nurse and a further AVL hearing was conducted on 22 August 2022





The Tribunal ordered:

  • Cancellation of registration. 
  • Censure.
  • Payment of costs totalling $27,000 amounting to 30% of the total hearing costs.


The Tribunal directed publication of this decision and a summary.