Kia ora whānau
We recently caught up with whanaunga Jason Mika on his whakapapa, his mahi at Massey University and how hard work has lead him to the role he is in now, supporting and developing our Māori rangatahi.
Have a nohi at what he has to say below!
“I whakapapa to Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Kahungunu through my mother Hiria Merito and have Scottish and French ‘connections’ through my father Paul Pettit. I was born in Whakatāne and raised by my kuia Ani Mika mostly in Rotorua in a little hamlet known as Ford Block, during the 70s, with my older sisters Tina and Tania. Best time in the block – riding Tania’s Raleigh 20 bike flat out down Bellingham Crescent before hitting a rock and momentarily mimicking Evel Knievel before bike and me went their separate ways.
My whakapapa to Whakatōhea is through my great grandmother Ripeka Poihipi who married Te Mana Mika from Waikirikiri. My kuia Ani Mika was one of their nine children and was brought up at Raroa by koro Hawera Tuna, but stayed for a time by her Poihipi cousins in Ōpōtiki. Our whānau have land interests at Ōpape. In the mid-1980s, just after getting my driver’s licence at 15, I went for a holiday by my mum when she was living at Waioeka—a very cool place. One day my brother and I decided to ride to Tōrere. We couldn’t catch the fast horse, it was too wild. So we settled for an old donkey of a horse, which had a habit of backing up to any nearby post or building to scratch its nono. Consequently, we took turns running down the road and riding the horse all the way there. Quite why went there is another story.
I think people are defined by the jobs they start with as much as the ones they end up with. My grandfather (dad) was a chef, so I was a kitchen hand for 10 years in Rotorua. I preferred washing pots to figuring out how to read multiple orders like dad. Jobs as a student though were the best. While at Waiāriki, I once had jobs ironing socks 12 hours a day, putting stickers over misspelled words on paper rubbish bags 16 hours a day, and refiling 90,000 old paper files at State Insurance. While at Waikato University, I graduated to trimming cabbages 12 hours a day. I learnt hard work pays and repetition leads to perfecting what you’re doing and doing it with crazy speed.
Over the course of my working life, I have worked in policy, consultancy, and research. All such mahi has been a privilege, always working with Māori, and always a focus on management. While I teach management, doing management, well that is just a whole ‘nother business. My darling wife Valencia and I and our three tamariki, Hiria, Jason and Emily live in Palmerston North. I have four older children, Jade, Patrick, Ripeka and Taiarahia. It is through my work as a lecturer that I came to know Maui Hudson, and from there, was invited to join the Roopu Awhina.
Ana, kua rahi tēnei. Mauri ora ki a tātau”.