Māori career role models

Get inspired by reading these successful career stories.

Eddie Bluegum


2009-04-21-512-Eddie-BLUEGUM

Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whakaue

Bachelor of Laws
The University of Auckland

Solicitor, Corban Revell

“I am in the Commercial-Māori team - we do a lot of commercial-treaty work and general practice; you are not stuck in any one particular genre.

"I was the first in my whānau to go to university. A law degree gives you the skills to traverse any work situation, as every job has some connection to the law. In my degree I also did a lot of Māori Arts papers, and this gave me a work/life balance at University.

"My son is most important in my life, as are my grandparents and immediate whānau. A big influence is my grandparent’s aroha and hard working nature.

"Another was a great friend who has now passed on. He would say to debate a kaupapa you’ve got to know all about it. Don’t go to a gun fight when you’ve got no ammunition! University gives you that ammunition.

"Tikanga Māori and law are sets of rules. Both are dynamic and co-exist, and can bounce off one another. Tikanga Māori can help to build law and vice versa, thus there is balance.”


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Eddie Bluegum
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Aimee Matiu


2009-07-03-1244-Aimee-MATIU

Iwi: Te Rarawa, Ngā Puhi
Hapū: Ngāi Tūpoto

Bachelor of Arts (Māori, Politics)
Bachelor of Laws Conjoint
New Start Programme
The University of Auckland

“I am a single mother and an urban Māori who is learning te reo and re-establishing my whānau and tribal links.

"My passion for Māoridom and all that it encompasses has driven many of my decisions. I am the first person in my whānau to study at university. My mother, my son and the strong Māori women in my life have shown me that despite a less than ideal family situation, it is still possible to achieve anything – nothing is impossible.

"I want to work within the New Zealand Justice system. I want to be part of the movement to ensure that Māori are no longer at the bottom of every socio-economic indicator available.

"Find out what you are really passionate about. Do a foundational course like New Start at University. This is how I found my love for politics. The Māori Tūākana mentoring programme is incredibly helpful and gets you networking with other Māori students.

"My world will be one where Māori and non-Māori are working together and differences are celebrated.”

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Aimee Matiu
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Sharon Shea


2009-03-25-269-Sharon-SHEA

Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua

Master of Science (Comparative Social Policy) (Distinction)
University of Oxford

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Laws
The University of Auckland

Director, Shea Pita and Associates Ltd

“I was interested in Law because I envisaged it would be really interesting. Years later I realised how invaluable the BA/LLB was; it opened up a new career pathway for me in terms of Hauora Māori.

"New projects come up every month and the variety of mahi enables me to keep fresh and excited about what I do.

"Our whānau is our most important asset and as parents, our primary role in life is to protect, nurture and enable our children to enjoy productive and loving lives. In time, our mokopuna will enjoy the same, and their mokopuna, and their mokopuna and so on. I believe that if we nurture and plan for our mokopuna, we secure our future.

"Many non-Māori are now enjoying accessing Māori models of healthcare, and this highlights for me the success of Māori models of healthcare for all New Zealanders.”

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Sharon Shea
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Kingi Snelgar


2009-04-23-603-Kingi-SNELGAR

Ngā Puhi, Whakatōhea, Te Arawa

Bachelor of Arts (Māori Studies, Politics)
Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
The University of Auckland

Scholarships:
28th Māori Battalion Ngarimu VC Scholarship
Auckland City Council Scholarship
Te Arawa Trust Board Grant
Whakatōhea Trust Board Grant

Solicitor, Meredith Connell

“I have come through Kura Kaupapa Māori schooling and so for me Māori identity, aroha, mana, mauri, wairua, Māori success, leadership, being inclusive in our decision making and debate are really important. I believe that those who have gone through Kura Kaupapa Māori will be among our future leaders.

"I chose a conjoint BA/LLB because I’ve always enjoyed creative writing, debating, arguing, and discussing things. In the future I really want to travel and get some experience in other indigenous cultures learning new skills and experiencing different world views.

"There is a lot of financial support available to Māori students. I’ve received grants from Iwi boards – Te Arawa and Whakatōhea – and scholarships from the 28th Māori Battalion and the Auckland City Council. I recently went to Te Poho-ō-Rawiri marae in Gisborne to meet and talk to the hōia (soldiers) of the 28th Māori Battalion. They have inspired me to study to honour them and their support, as well as my whānau.”

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Kingi Snelgar
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Eric Teokotai


2009-09-08-717-Eric-TEOKOTAI

Iwi: Ngāiterangi
Mother: Mii – Mitiaro and Rakahanga
Father: Tutangata – Aitutaki and Rarotonga

Bachelor of Laws (Criminal Law, Employment)
Bachelor of Arts (Māori Studies, Social Anthropology)
The University of Auckland

Community Practices Manager, Manukau Police Station

"In my work I train staff and managers on Employment Law principles, processes and Human Resources Management. I investigate employment complaints or problems, write legal opinions on an interpretation of employment contract terms and conditions, or how certain employment legislation may impact on the ways that Police operate or facilitate mediation processes.

"Being a good listener and having people skills is, and will be, the future. Respect and understand others; planning, being prepared; personal leadership, being selfless about coaching, developing capability in others as well as yourself and then most importantly taking action.

"My Māori and Pasifika sides have been my foundation that have added value to my work and how I see things. My mother was a teacher and she had a lot of influence on me and still does. Whanau is important. I have experienced whanau members just being there in times of need or tragedy. No one asks why this is so. It just is."

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Eric Teokotai
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Kiri Toki


2009-04-23-597-Kiri-TOKI

Ngāti Wai, Ngā Puhi

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
The University of Auckland

Scholarships:
28th Māori Battalion Ngarimu VC Scholarship
Simpson & Grierson Scholarship

Solicitor, Simpson Grierson

“My Mum is the reason why I am studying. My grandfather is the reason why I want to succeed.

"When I was younger my grandfather was involved with the Waitangi Tribunal. His stories about our whenua and our tūpuna inspired me.

"My people were removed from Hauturu, Little Barrier Island, by the government. Yet they fought for their mana. Today we have legislation, like the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 which affects Māori mana moana. We too must continue what is right.

"My biggest challenge is being Māori and surviving in Te Ao Pākehā.

"You must remain strong in who you are. All I can do is to work hard. I do my readings. I go to lectures. I’ll revise my notes, do more readings. I do this every day. It’s a lot of hard work, but it will pay off.”

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Kiri Toki
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Stormie Waapu


2009-04-23-571-Stormy-WAAPU

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tuhoe

Bachelor of Laws
The University of Auckland

Bachelor of Arts
Victoria University of Wellington

Solicitor

“I work as a solicitor in a very small firm. There’s a good mixture of being in the office, in court, and out on the road. What you get from University helps, but the biggest thing is being able to relate to people.

"I have had strong, Māori, female role models in my life. My Nan has always been a solid base for our family. My mother is my biggest inspiration; it was she who said that I was going to University.

"I loved being at University. I started with a BA because it had so many awesome subjects that you don’t get to do at school. I then studied Law because I thought it would open more career opportunities.

"The long-term goal for me is to practice as a sole practitioner and work in a really small area on the east coast, like Nuhaka and Wairoa. My dream is to go home and take the skills and strategies I’ve learned back to my community.”

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Stormie Waapu
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