I was born and raised by the grace of God in little big Ōpōtiki. My current Mahi is a Utility for Compass Group working Fly in Fly out which means I do all sorts from housekeeping to admin, bartending to kitchen hand and more.
My aspiration for Te Whakatōhea is for our people to care more for our tamariki… to develop programs and strategies that will equip our tamariki with the tools they need MENTALLY, SPIRITUALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY, to at the very least be able to survive in this world and ultimately survive happily and comfortably. So that they may feel like they can do WHATEVER they want with their life, and more than that, know HOW to achieve it. So they can also have the confidence to explore and venture out into the wider world for more life experiences.
I AM Whakatōhea to me means who I am because I’m from Te Whakatōhea. And that’s a lot. A lot of the foundation of the person I am today is because of my experiences growing up in Te Whakatōhea. It wasn’t perfect but I’m stronger today because of those imperfections. I learnt the value of identity and knowing who I am, where I’m from etc.
I didn’t think it would matter but it actually is a huge help in today’s world. I also learned things like Manaakitanga and Aroha mutunga kore. I could go on and on but I’ll wrap it up by saying I’m living my life to the fullest gaining as much life experience and skills as I can, seeing and studying as much of the world as I can and sharing them with the tamariki in my whanau. One day if its Gods will, I hope to return to Ōpōtiki with everything I’ve learnt attained and share it with the tamariki and all who will be keen to listen and learn.