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Nau mai, Haere mai!

Welcome to the Whaiora O Ngā Iwi taketake - Indigenous Wellbeing Hub.

We are grateful for the overwhelming response to this years conference! The 2024 Indigenous Wellbeing Conference has concluded successfully.  

This page will keep you updated with the latest information, conference videos, photo gallery and bonus content!

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Waiata Mai!

Conference Music Playlist

Check out the playlist from the powhiri and conference that created the Māori feels atmosphere. This collection of tracks, brought a unique Aotearoa vibe on-location.

Whether you want to boost your mood or just enjoy some great music, this playlist has something special. Click the link and let the sounds of Aotearoa brighten your day!

Kaikawe kōrero

2024, Keynote Speakers

Including Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, Rereata Makiha, Chadia Hajjar, Dr. Robert Joseph, Dr. Konai Thaman, Dr. Ash Puriri, and Bettina Danganbarr, on various aspects of hauora, Indigenous wellbeing.   Stay tuned for future updates.


2024, Moana-nui-a-kiwa Panel

Our panel speakers shared their experiences and insights on preserving Indigenous cultures and enhancing community well-being

Rouruina Brown
He Kōrerorero Tōrangapū

2024, Political Panel

Political Panel hosted by Hon. Nanaia Mahuta. 

Kaikōrero Matua

2024, Health & Wellbeing MC's

Our skilled hosts bring a wealth of experience in Māori health and Wellbeing.

Ngā Wāhi

2024, Conference Locations

Mātakitaki Mai

Explore Papakura Marae in 3D

Get a bird’s-eye view of Papakura Marae, the venue for our opening Powhiri, and virtually navigate the surroundings!

Conference Details

Conference has Concluded for 2024


6th - 9th May 2024


Papakura Marae

Due Drop Event Centre



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Rereata Makiha

Rereata Makiha, a respected figure with connections to Hokianga, Te Arawa, and Rangitane, has devoted his career to preserving and teaching Māori ancestral knowledge, focusing on astronomy and environmental science. His educational path began at Northland College, continued with social work at Victoria University, and was furthered with a Postgraduate Diploma in Business from Auckland University.

Known for his deep knowledge of the Maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar, Makiha has been crucial in sharing mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), connecting traditional wisdom with today’s practices. His early learning in the whare wānanga, or traditional Māori institutions of higher learning, ignited a commitment to the oral histories and environmental insights of the Māori people​​​​.

During his eight years at Hokianga Wananga Korero Tuki Iho and throughout his retirement, Makiha has continuously taught korero tuku iho, using the ancient wisdom of the whare wānanga to educate. He organizes wānanga in Tamaki and Hokianga, conducted twice a month for ten months each year, spending his remaining time on golf​​.

Makiha has also focused on Indigenous wellbeing, showing how mātauranga Māori can improve health and sustainability. Through the maramataka, he encourages communities to live in harmony with the environment and understand the natural world better​​.

His work earned him the title of Senior New Zealander of the Year 2022, marking his significant impact on preserving Māori knowledge and influencing New Zealand society. This highlights the critical role of Indigenous knowledge in addressing current challenges like climate change and wellbeing​​.

Makiha’s efforts are a powerful example of the importance of ancestral knowledge and the role of Indigenous leaders in creating a connected, sustainable, and healthy world. His work is a significant contribution to global discussions on environmental care and wellbeing, inspiring future generations.

Te Ao Kapa

Iwi: Te Aupōuri, Ngātiwai, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti mē ngā iwi whānui ō Muriwhenua

Ingoa: Te Ao Kapa

Whakapapa of Te Kaha O Te Rangatahi:

Te Kaha O Te Rangatahi Whanau o Tamaki Makaurau was founded in 1990 and registered Charitable Trust in 1992 by a collective of dedicated women in response to concerns about teenage pregnancies.

In 2019 we began trading under Te Kaha O Te Rangatahi Indigenous Youth Hub. We specialise in delivering to all rangatahi with a focus on Māori and Pasifika rangatahi and their whānau within the Tāmaki Makaurau region.

We believe in educating and developing our rangatahi to become Champions of Change and to take care of their where tapawhā

Our Vision
Mana Rangatahi

Our Mission
Kia whakapumautia te oranga o te rangatahi,

Kia hua, kia tupu, kia puawai

to enhance the wellbeing of youth, to grow, develop and prosper

Our pou or priorities are:

  • Rangatahi Wellness – Rangatahi wellness is the vehicle of understanding and navigating rangatahi feelings and emotions. It’s re-connecting to what they are disconnected to, ā hinengaro, ā wairua. This includes wānanga in: Mental Wellness – Providing tools for rangatahi to navigate their feelings and emotions using creative outlets.
  • Rangatahi Health – Rangatahi health, provides a space to increase awareness and understand the importance of mātauranga, to ultimately become advocates and change agents. This includes wānanga and support in:
    • Te Ara Tika ki te Hōkakatanga (Sexual Health) – providing information on sexual health for Yr 5 – 13 within education settings, an 18+ space for rangatahi to further their knowledge, as well as group settings and connecting rangatahi to sexual health services
    • Taurikura (Physical + Nutritional Health) – building rangatahi knowledge and awareness of nutrition & physical activity
    • Hā (Respiratory) – Connecting rangatahi to local health providers, and also assisting with Auahi and Vape Kore journey
    • Pā Harakeke (Hapūtanga & Parenthood) – Antenatal wānanga for māmā and their partners / support person and postnatal activities
  • Rangatahi Development – Rangatahi development will excel rangatahi into flourishing and developing an extensive tool kit to put their best foot forward when making decisions. This includes wānanga and support in:
    • Tohu Mātauranga (Education / Study) – Assisting rangatahi to identify a career pathway and study options towards this.
    • Mahi (Employment) – Providing practical skills to help rangatahi into employment
    • Pakihi (Business ownership – Entrepreneur) – Connecting rangatahi with resources and networks to assist them with growing their own business
    • Kāinga (Home Ownership) – Connecting rangatahi & whānau with networks to assist them in their journey towards home ownership
  • Rangatahi Knowledge – Rangatahi knowledge explores rangatahi abilities and capabilities and placing rangatahi and whānau into a position of prosperity. This includes wānanga or building knowledge in:
    • Pūtea – Basic Financial Literacy
    • Planning / Goal Setting
    • Health & Disability Code of Rights


Hon. Nanaia Mahuta

As former MP Nanaia Mahuta served her constituency of Hauraki-Waikato for 27 years. She held various spokesperson roles and was the first woman to become Minister of Maori Development and Foreign Affairs. Nanaia has stewarded through several changes to advance Maori aspiration and she is particularly proud of increasing Maori representation around council decision-making tables, uplifting Maori economic participation through social procurement and profiling indigenous economies through indigenous collaboration agreements and specified chapters of the UK and EU free trade agreements. Nanaia is a mother, strategic adviser, mentor, independent director and a fledgling writer.

Dr. Ash Puriri

Dr. Ash Puriri is graduant of the University of Waikato and completed his PhD, which is a doctorate that has broken new ground in business research.

Dr. Puriri’s PhD is an absolute first in terms of exercising an emancipated indigenous methodology for a entrepreneur business doctorate,” he says. “Management has long been considered and dominated by a Western methodology, coming from a scientific perspective and using qualitative and quantitative research methods, and now I’ve introduced a dedicated cultural empirical research methodology, kaupapa Māori methodology.” Dr. Puriri is highly published and is referenced internationally.

Dr. Puriri’s expertise and research investigated at Māori indigenous entrepreneurship in management and examined the design and integration of cultural values and processes that a are engaged when Māori develop business. A His PhD is highly referenced globally by Academics, Governments, and Heads of State, Business Leadership and Health Organisations, as a common outcome of his doctoral thesis included mapping the location and types of experiences, products and services that all Indigenous businesses require in business to be sustainable.

Dr. Puriri hails from, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rongomai-wahine, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Porou and Ngai Tuhoe, Te whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu and is a founding business veteran of the cruise ship Industry for over 27 years and is still closely involved in academia. Dr. Ash Puriri is also one of the two Trustee’s of the National Hauora Coalition in New Zealand and
continually strengthens the presence of a voice of cultural authenticity and validity in health practices and business development with a global presence today.

Dr. Robert Joseph

LLB, LLM, PhD Waikato
Tainui, Tuwharetoa, Kahungunu, Rangitane, Ngai Tahu
Senior Lecturer, Research Centre Director MIG (Law), University of Waikato

Dr Robert Joseph is Māori from the Ngāti Kahungunu, Tainui, Tūwharetoa, and Ngāi Tahu tribes in Aotearoa New Zealand. Dr Joseph is an Associate Professor of Law at Te Piringa-Faculty of Law at the University of Waikato and was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand in 1998. Dr Joseph completed his PhD in Law in 2006 and he was a senior research fellow in Te Matahauariki Research Institute under Judge Michael Brown and a senior research fellow in the Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori Office at Waikato University under
Dr Linda Tuhiwai Smith.

Dr Joseph was awarded the ‘Best PhD Thesis Internationally on Canadian Studies Award’ in 2009 by the International Council for Canadian Studies for his PhD Thesis Dissertation: ‘The Government of Themselves: Indigenous Peoples’ Internal Self-determination, Effective Self-Governance and Authentic Representation: Waikato-Tainui, Ngāi Tahu and Nisga’a.’

Dr Joseph is the current director of the Māori and Indigenous Governance Centre at Waikato University, he has been a trustee on numerous Māori trusts and organisations, and he is a founding member of Te Taumata, the Māori Committee for the New Zealand Government Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade. In 2022, Dr Joseph was appointed by the High Court of New Zealand as a pūkenga (expert) to assist Cull J in the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 High Court hearing in Ngā Hapū o Tokomaru Akau v Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare CIV-2017-485-000247.

He was also a mediator in 2022 for Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) dealing with the return of Crown surplus lands under the Public Works Act 1981 in the Turangi township. From 2021-2022 Dr Joseph was also appointed an Independent External Commissioner in the Independent Waikeria Prison Riot Inquiry under the Department of Corrections, and he was a member of the independent Arbitration Panel to determine ownership of four Māori land blocks in downtown Rotorua.

In addition, Dr Joseph has lectured internationally on Māori and Indigenous matters including at the United Nations in New York and at Harvard University. Dr Joseph is the current New Zealand representative on the International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment Organisation (IITIO), he is a former Claude McCarthy and Fulbright Scholar, the latter at Harvard University and the University of Arizona, he is an expert witness, and licenced researcher and legal historian in the Waitangi Tribunal; a former Vice President of the Battle of Orākau Heritage Society Inc., and he has also worked with the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona, the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute in Brisbane, and at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at Australia National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia. In 2021, Dr Joseph co-edited and published the seminal Law textbook Joseph, R & Benton, R, (Eds.), Waking the Taniwha: Māori Governance in the 21st Century, (Thomson Reuters, New Zealand, 2021) 1025 pages.

Dr. James (Semisi) Prescott

Senior Lecturer
CPA, COP, CTTng., B.Com., M.Com (Hons), PhD

Background and Experience:

Dr Semisi Prescott is a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Finance at Unitec Te Pukenga. He was a key component in the development of the Master of Professional Accounting qualification in which he currently teaches. Semisi is a chartered accountant, and his current research interest is corporate governance business in the Pacific and business and culture. He is activity involved in the Pacific community and has service on the governance board for Radio 531PI, Niu FM, The Pacific Business Trust, School boards, NGO boards including Te Hononga and VakaPasifika, Health Boards, Church Board for the United Church of Tonga, Families Commission as a Family commissioner, and sports committees. He is also a Director for Nuku Moana Consulting Limited has served on numerous advisory groups for Oranga Tamariki and MSD.

Semisi is a passionate Tongan, fluent in Tongan, and provides leadership for the governance and management of his Tongan church and others. More recently Semisi is working with a team from Massey University to procure and install a Human Resource Management System to the Ministry of Health in Tonga. His knowledge of accounting and information systems as a valuable contribution to the ongoing development of Pacific Commerce in New Zealand and across the Pacific Islands.

Chadia Hajjar

Since Chadia left Lebanon in 1988 to attend the Francophone Film Festival in Paris, where her film Lebanon Despite Everything was screening, she realised that her departure from the city of Beirut would be long term and lead to many changes in new countries. From Paris, she took the road to Casablanca, Algeria, Melbourne, Adelaide, and finally Sydney, where she has been living for the past 22 years.

Since settling in Sydney, she has worked in a number of roles – as a foreign correspondent to satellite Arabic Televisions in Dubai, a journalist/reporter for local Arabic newspapers, a TAFE and High School teacher, a bilingual University examiner and marker, a Pre-Employment Trainer, and a digital media teacher. She received several awards for her work in the film industry and visual arts.

“More precious than birds “ is her first short stories collection written originally in Arabic language as a tribute to the ordinary Lebanese citizens who have given their lives to a non ending crisis in the Middle East.

Chadia dedicates this translation into English to her daughter Serene and to the young generation of Lebanese born abroad, as well as to her students of the Arabic language and culture.

Dr. Konai Helu Thaman

One of the longest serving staff of the University of the South Pacific (USP) before she retired Konai Helu Thaman holds a Personal Chair (from USP) in Pacific Education and Culture, and was the UNESCO Chair in Teacher Education and Culture from 1998-2016. She was born and raised in the Kingdom of Tonga where she received her primary and secondary education. 

She completed her secondary education at Epsom Girls Grammar School in Auckland before entering Auckland University where she completed her BA (Geography), and afterwards a Secondary Teaching Diploma before returning to teach at Tonga High School from 1969-71.

She later obtained her MA in International Education from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and a PhD in Education from the University of the South Pacific (USP). Konai and her husband Randolph joined USP in 1974 and are now both retired. Konai has researched and published widely in the areas of curriculum, teacher education, indigenous education, women and university management, and more recently Pacific research frameworks and education for sustainable development. She has held a number of senior management positions at the USP including Director of the Institute of Education (IOE), Head of the School of Humanities, and Pro Vice Chancellor. Until her retirement in 2020 she was a member of several international committees including the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee on the Recommendation on the Status of Teachers (CEART); the Asia Pacific Centre for Educational Innovations in Development (APEID); the UNESCO Asia Pacific Scientific Committee on Research in Higher Education; and the UNESCO Global Monitoring Committee for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). 

In 2000 she and a small group of Pacific educators founded the Rethinking Pacific Education Initiative which has continued to be an important force in educational development in the Pacific Island region. Konai is also a poet whose work is studied by school children throughout the Pacific and beyond. Some of her poems have been translated into several languages including Chinese, French, German & Tongan. Five Collections of her poetry have been published: You the Choice of My Parents (1974); Langakali (1981); Hingano (1987); Kakala (1993) and Songs of Love (1999). Konai and her husband live in Suva, Fiji. They have two adult children and three grandchildren.

Bettina Danganbarr (AM)

Bettina Danganbarr (AM) is a respected leader and advocate for the rights and wellbeing of Aboriginal women. Coming from Galiwinku on Elcho Island, Northern Territory, Australia, she founded the Galiwinku Women’s Space, dedicated to supporting Aboriginal women facing domestic, family, and sexual violence through the application of traditional Indigenous approaches to wellbeing.

In her professional role with the Northern Territory Police Force, Bettina combines her cultural knowledge and law enforcement experience to make a tangible difference in her community. Her contributions have been recognized with several awards, including the Member of the Order of Australia (AM). She was also named the Northern Territory’s Local Hero in the 2018 Australian of the Year Awards, received the 2019 Women’s Leadership Australia Award, and the 2021 Northern Territory Chief Minister’s Aboriginal Leadership Medal.

Bettina plans to deliver a keynote speech at the Indigenous Wellbeing Conference on the Yolŋu traditional Indigenous approaches to wellbeing and her journey in supporting Aboriginal women. This will offer insights into the effective strategies and challenges faced in this vital work.

The conference will also include a workshop by our Treasurer, Gaylene, on Indigenous alternative models of wellbeing. This session will focus on the Gurruṯu framework, demonstrating how it is used at our Domestic Violence Crisis Shelter to aid Aboriginal women in crisis.

The Galiwinku Women’s Space Board is keen to share our experiences and learn from others at the Indigenous Wellbeing Conference, aiming to improve the lives of Aboriginal women through culture and community support.

Hon. Aupito William Sio

I am a Samoan Matai who resides in Mangere
I hold several Sa’o Matai names – AUPITO TAALA TOFAE TOLEOLESULUSULU SUA William Sio

My villages include:
Letaupe, Matatufu, Lotofaga – Aupito & Su’a
Sapo’e, Falealili – Taala
Falevao & Falefa – Tofae
Satapuala – Toeolesulusulu
Satupa’itea – Asiata

I am an advocate for MahiMoana.com. I champion Pacific wellbeing, and advocate for stronger Maori & Pasefika working relationships.

Indigenous – means decolonizing our thinking, and accepting that the learnings from our ancestors is more relevant today than ever before, including valuing our language & cultural practices, socio-economic wellbeing, and being connected to the spiritual elements like our ancestors of the past.

The Palagi world has been so dominating in its efforts to destroy indigenous knowledge in the wrong belief that their was is the best way. We know through evidence of climate change, nuclear leakage into the Pacific lagoons, the rubbish that contaminates the earth, and the repeat wars, all colonial behavours that it is all wrong.

Learn from your elders and ask questions before they are no longer around.

E afua mai mauga fa’amanuiaga a le nu’u.
From the mountains flow the blessings unto a village.

I was a politician for more than 23 years including 8 years a a City Councillor and Deputy Mayor for the former Manukau City Council, 15 years as a Member of Parliament for Mangnere with almost 6 years as a Government Minister in the Jacinda Ardern Government.

As the Minister for Pacific Peoples I secured unprecedented levels of Pacific targeted funding for Pacific languages, Pacific Wellbeing, Pacific homeownership and employment strategies. As Minister for Pacific Peoples I led the Government’s Dawn Raids Apology using an ancient Samoan practice of the Ifoga. As the Associate Minister for Pacific Health Aupito secured unprecedented funding for Pacific provider development, believing funding providers would ensure our families would be protected. As the Associate Minister for Pacific Education, Aupito set out the first Pacific Bilingual Language education policy and injected unprecedented funding into Pacific scholarships. 

Dr. Linita Manu’atu

Ko Dr Linitā Manu‘atu, MNZM, mei he mo‘unga ko Mokotu, Fata‘ulua Niuafo‘ou, Houmale‘eia mo e Ano Hēhea, pea fakamalumalu he ‘aho ni, ‘i he Pohutukawa ‘o Freemans Bay ‘i Tamakimakaurau.

She is currently the Managing Director of ‘Api Fakakoloa Educational Services and Enriching Otara Early Learning Centre. Formerly, a Senior Lecturer in Education at the Auckland University of Technology. As a consultant, she develops the conceptual framework, FatuManongi ‘o e Loto‘iTongá & Fakamonū ‘o Tonga, and the contents of all the papers to be taught for the first ever degree, a Bachelor of Education, Tonga Early Childhood Teaching, originated in Tongan language and culture at the Tonga Institute of Education, now Tonga National University.

Chairs the Tongan Language Week & Tongan Language Year organising committee from 2012 – 2021. Co-writes in Tongan language with Tongan authors on a fb page titled, Tonga Koloa‘ia since 2022. Three times a week, postings, cover a range of themes drawn from Tongan knowledges of indigenous health, education, spiritual well-being, Lea faka-Tonga, values, cultural practices, including lived experiences of Tongan migrants and their descendants in Aotearoa.

Asenaca Uluiviti

Asenaca Uluiviti was born at Natauloa Village, Nairai and Raised in Naigani, Batiki, both islands in Lomaiviti, Fiji. She began her education at Bhawani Dayal Memorial School, Nasinu(Indian school) and Sabeto District School, Adi Cakobau School, Fiji 1972., Otahuhu College Auckland 1977; – University of Auckland – Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy and Political Studies) 1978 and LLB 1995. Asenaca is a GrandMother – community lawyer, Taukei kei Viti e Aotearoa Trustee, Fijian health programme broadcaster Pacific Health and welfare network, Oceania Interrupted Māori and Pacific women for free West Papua.

She was formerly a government and private lawyer, United Nations Diplomat (Second Secretary & Legal Advisor to the Fiji Mission in the United Nations HQ, New York).Served in NGOs- Village committee, Spokesperson for the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji against the Rabuka military coup in 1987, Chair Fiji YMCA, NFIP (Nuclear Free & Independent Pacific) Board member, GreenPeace NZ Board member, Fiji Community Assn Auckland planned and executed Fijian Language Week Aotearoa 2012.

George Makapatama

Hailing from Vaiea village in Niue, I bring a collective worldview to my journey. Migrating to New Zealand in the 1980s, I’ve dedicated my career to serving through social services, education, community development, and systemic change. With degrees in Social Work, Public Policy, Business Administration, and Māori Development, I am currently pursuing a doctorate in Fakafekauaga (Servantship).

Alongside my wife, Falalahemotu Makapatama, we’ve established FakaFekauaga Catalyst—a consultancy introducing Fakafekauaga. Rooted in Fakafekauaga’s Core Human Characteristics, we address complex systems problems, embracing Matutakaiaga (connectedness, relational, systems thinking, and systems change); Mahuiga (values-based, human lived experience, and tupuna wisdom); Fakalofa (love, compassion, and empathy); Fakamokoi (reciprocal relationships between people, land, sea, environment, and the spiritual realm); and Matohiaga (ancestry – past, present, and future).

We integrate solutions for human and environmental challenges, uplifting both people and our planet. I anticipate exploring how Fakafekauaga’s Core Human Characteristics empower Indigenous communities for holistic wellbeing.

Fesaitu Solomone

Fesaitu Solomone is the current Chief Executive Officer for Centre for Pacific Languages based in the heart of South Auckland championing the work of 9 key Moana-nui-a-kiwa languages. 

She was born and raised on the island of Rotuma, migrating to Aotearoa NZ in 2006. Her value and pride in her identity as a Rotuman are foundational to family, faith, and community service. Her passion for her Rotuman language led her to publish her first bilingual poetry book (My Memories, My Heart, My Love) a collection of poems of almost 20 years in 2023 in Rotuman and English. She is also a Rotuman language educator and translator.

 Furthermore, she has extensive professional experience of over 20 years’ in media (television and radio), and a business consultant. She holds two business qualifications from the University of Auckland – Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Post Graduate Diploma in Business (PgDipBus).

Hon Peeni Henare

Ko Peeni Ereatara Gladwyn Henare ahau. Nō Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Manu, Te Kapotai, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Te Whakatōhea, Rongowhakaata me Ngāti Kahungunu.

Hon Peeni Henare proudly served as a Member of Parliament for Tāmaki Makaurau for nine years and a Minister for six years.

Peeni has served as the Minister for ACC, Minister for Forestry, Minister of Tourism, Minister for Whānau Ora and Minister for Veterans. As well as the Associate Minister for the Environment and Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health).

Peeni is of Ngāti Hine and Ngāpuhi descent. Prior to politics Peeni worked as a businessman, broadcaster and teacher.

Politics and public service is in his blood: his father was Erima Henare, who was head of the Māori Language Commission; his grandfather was Sir James Henare, a lieutenant colonel in the Māori Battalion, member of Te Rūnanga o te Tiriti o Waitangi, and Commander of the British Empire (CBE); and his great-grandfather Taurekareka (Tau) Henare was also a Member of Parliament, for the former electorate Northern Māori from 1914 to 1938.

Awhitia Mihaere

Awhitia Mihaere whakapapa derives from her esteemed ancestors of Ngati Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga aa Mahaki, Rangitane, and Maniapoto. As a dedicated mother of six children, and 11 mokopuna she has devoted her energy and passion to the revitalization of indigenous culture, language and traditional healing practices.

Her journey in reclaiming the essence of Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga began with her involvement in the kohanga reo movement. As a mother, she recognized the importance of nurturing her children’s cultural identity from an early age, leading her to become not only a maamaa contributing to Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga but also a Kaiako within the kohanga reo setting.

Awhitia’s dedication to reclaiming the first rongoā—Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga—has been evident in her proactive approach to her children’s education. She ensured that the principles of Te Aho Matua, which emphasized cultural pride and educational excellence within a Māori context, were deeply woven into their upbringing. By doing so, she empowered her children to navigate their future within Te Ao Māori with confidence and resilience.

In addition, she continues to be a beacon of inspiration in indigenous healing, spiritual ceremonies, and traditional practices. Her holistic approach to well-being and cultural preservation reflects her unwavering commitment to nurturing thriving communities rooted in ancestral wisdom and resilience.

Awhitia is the custodian of ancient healing practices within Te Ao Māori. passed down by her ancestors and mentored by Tohunga Hohepa Delamere and Tōhuna Dr. Rose Rangimarie Pere. She contributed her expertise in rongoā to Te Wananga o Aotearoa as a Kaiako of Rongoā and continues to share her knowledge within rongoā settings with her whānau , hapu and government enterprises. She has been recognised as a maatanga (expert) of Rongoā Māori and holds the portfolio of the Chairperson for ACC Rongoā Māori Advisory Panel. In addition both her and her husband are ACC Providers of Rongoā Māori as Rongoā Practitioners Awhitia travels throughout Aotearoa teaching and facilitating ancient healing practices coupled with Quantum Science of IO meaning Māori Science.

Her latest contribution to Te Ao Māori is her groundbreaking work on “healing trauma in the womb.” Pre-natal , Antenatal and Post-natal. In her forthcoming documentary, set to be released in September 2024, Awhitia explores this crucial aspect of healing with support and sponsorship from Dir. Gabor Mate, a renowned expert in trauma and addiction.
In addition to her documentary project, Awhitia continues her work in indigenous healing, spiritual ceremonies, and traditional methods, embodying her commitment to fostering harmony and balance in the world.

Te Hira Pere

Growing up on the shores of Lake Waikaremoana, under the loving guidance and wisdom of his grandparents, Te Hira was immersed in the richness of te ao Māori. Those formative years instilled in him a profound appreciation for his language, identity, and culture. They ignited within him a fierce passion for fairness, social justice, and equality for all.

Throughout his professional journey, he has dedicated himself to dismantling barriers and promoting equitable practices. He has tirelessly advocated for the voices and perspectives of our most marginalised communities to be heard and genuinely integrated into decision-making processes.

Te Hira is a current civil servant working in the New Zealand government with a background in Law, public policy, strategic partnerships, Crown Māori relations.
Proudly Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngati Ruapani, Ngati Kahungunu and Whanau a Kai, tribal decent.

Having held several senior roles across various iwi/Māori entities and Crown agencies, including Te Puni Kokiri, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Worksafe New Zealand, and now currently at the Tertiary Education Commission.
Te Hira’s commitment to empowering Māori communities and fostering self-determination has been instrumental in his work across both the public service and private sector.

In 2020 Te Hira co-founded “Whakatipuranga Limited”, a Law and cultural consultancy firm specialising in Treaty settlements, Māori equity, land law, Māori policy and Treaty issues.

While in 2023 Te Hira joined Vertilink Infrastructure Group as a director which is a New Zealand based firm dedicated to the design, development, and management of Vertiports with supporting the integration of Advanced Air mobility in the APAC region.

Internationally, Te Hira has shared his insights in the United States on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the incorporation of indigenous solutions to address systemic inequalities.

Currently leading the Business and Partnerships unit at the Tertiary Education Commission, Te Hira remains dedicated to effecting positive changes in all that he does.