Growing the Puna

We recognise that there are a number of tauira coming through different tertiary providers with a passion to work in Māori health. Often these tauira don’t get the opportunity to connect to the mahi happening within Māori public health, nutrition and physical activity.

Growing the Puna is aimed at identifying these students of sport, exercise and physical activity. It focusses on fostering the whanaungatanga between tertiary students, the community, and the sector working in the area of sport, nutrition, exercise and physical activity.

Past Interns

2017-2018 Interns


Hannah Rapata

Ko Motu-Pōhue toku mauka
Ko Te Ara a Kiwa toku tai
Ko Uruao, Takitimu, Tairea oku waka
Ko Awarua toku rohe
Ko Kai Tahu toku iwi
Ko Kai Atawhiua toku hapū
Ko Te Rau Aroha toku marae
Ko Tahupotiki toku whare

Kia ora, my name is Hannah and I am currently a third-year Nutrition and Food Science student at the University of Auckland. Once I finish my undergraduate studies I aspire to complete a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics and become a registered Dietitian. I am passionate about Māori health and wellbeing, and hope to work with NZ communities to reduce the rates of negative nutrition related health outcomes among Māori.

I am very excited to be an intern at Toi Tangata for the 2017/18 summer. My role is to develop the nutrition component of the He Pī Ka Rere programme, a previously validated Toi Tangata initiative. I look forward to the learning opportunities this project will bring, and to connecting with others who are equally passionate about Māori health and wellbeing.

Ben (1)

Benjamin Hanara

Ko Kahuranaki te maunga
Ko Ngaruroro te awa
Ko Omahu, ko Marangai ōku marae
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu, ko Ngāti Rangi ōku iwi
Ko Ngāti Hinemanu te hapu
Ko Tākitimu, ko Aotea ōku waka
Ko Benjamin Dimitrious Hanara tōku ingoa

Kia ora whanau, my name is Ben and I have recently completed my Bachelors degree of Physical Education Sport and Exercise science at the University of Otago. In 2018, I will do further research into postgraduate study under the supervision of Dr Anne-Marie Jackson and Dr Hauiti through a Māori research excellence group known as Te Koronga. I am passionate about finding a way for Māori to recuperate cultural identity in the world using sport and exercise as a vehicle to do so.

If I could summarise my interest, it would be any sport under the sun. I am specifically interested in basketball, rugby, and powerlifting. I have played rugby most of my life and have been involved in powerlifting over the last few years, competing at an international scale.

I am extremely excited to be an intern at Toi Tangata for the 2017/18 summer. My job is to research the importance of wai in relieving negative health impacts for Māori whānau and extended communities. I look forward to working with the people of Toi Tangata and extending my research capabilities.

 Mitchell Purvis

Ko Matawhaura te maunga
Ko Rotoiti te roto
Ko Te Arawa te waka
Ko Tapuaeharuru te marae
Ko Te Arawa te iwi
Ko Ngāti Pikiao te hapū
Ko Mitchell Purvis tōku ingoa.
Nō Te Awakairangi ahau.

Kia ora, my name is Mitchell and I am from Lower Hutt, Wellington whilst I whakapapa to Ngāti Pikiao in the Rotorua region. I have recently completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Physical Education at the University of Otago under the supervision of Dr Hauiti Hakopa and Dr Anne-Marie Jackson. Additionally, I am apart of a Māori research excellence group named Te Koronga. During this year, my focus was on examining sport as a vehicle to provide opportunities for male youth to understand their identity, challenging the perception of masculinity.

Through my lifetime passion and achievements in the sporting field, in particular rugby, my focus over the past five years has been premised on building youth competencies and self-confidence. Additionally, I am enthusiastic to see an opportunity as the one Toi Tangata has provided to utilise my expertise and experiences thus far through the internship for the 2017/2018 Summer.

2016-2017 Interns


Debs Heke

Ko Ngatokimatawhauroa te waka.
Ko Te Ahuahu te maunga.
Ko Omapere te wai.
Ko Parawhenua te marae.
Ko Taiamai te rohe.
Ko Ngatihineira me Uritaniwha ōku hapu.
Ko Ngapuhi te iwi.
Ko Turei raua ko Karen oku maatua.
Ko Deborah Heke tōku ingoa.

As one of the 2016/17 interns with Toi Tangata I am keen to learn from this awesome organisation and hope to contribute something of my own over this summer internship.  My professional background includes 7 years working in community mental health and around five years in the fitness industry.  I enjoy moving.  Moving me, moving stuff and moving others if they’re willing.
I am currently about midway through my Masters in Health Science at Auckland University of Technology and see this internship as an opportunity to take a step back from the daily writing and rewriting that has been my reality.  My thesis topic is looking at responses to “short, sharp” exercise with inactive Māori women and hopes to encourage this group of women into regular physical activity – F.I.T. Wāhine.  I have been honoured to meet and work with some awesome wāhine throughout this journey and am so proud of what they have achieved so far.
My personal journey throughout this past year has brought me to Toi Tangata with the hope that I can grow my understanding and connection to mātauranga me te ao Māori to apply it to the future work I do with potential doctoral studies and further.


Tukohirangi Pini

Ko Rangiuru te maunga
Ko Kaituna te awa
Ko Te Arawa te waka
Ko Ngati Marukukere te hapū
Ko Tapuika te tangata
Ko Tapuika te iwi

Kia ora whānau, my name is Tukohirangi Pini, I have recently completed my post graduate diploma in Physical Education looking at the use of taonga tākaro, or traditional Māori games, as a form of pedagogy to teach and learn about a Māori worldview. Born in Lower Hutt, Wellington, I grew up in Tauranga and attended Tauranga Boys College. Earlier this year I graduated with a Bachelor of Physical Education. I am a member of Te Koronga roopu here at the University of Otago. Te Koronga is the academic research excellence group within the School of Physical Education. The group is co-led by Dr Anne-Marie Jackson and Dr Hauiti Hakopa, and under their watchful eyes, I have been able to grow as a person and as an academic. My passions include basketball, kapa haka and taonga tākaro. I am hoping that the skills I have learnt during my time here in Dunedin will enable me to successfully undertake this summer internship that I am about to embark on.


Waitiria Greeks

Ko Tarakeha te Maunga
Ko Opape te Marae
Ko Muriwai te Tangata
He uri ahau noo ngaa iwi o Whakatōhea me Ngāti Maniapoto
Ko Waitiria Greeks ahau

I was born and raised in Ngāti Kahungunu and educated in te ao Māori from Kōhanga Reo through to Kura Kaupapa and then on to Hukarere Māori Girls College. As a young mother I began to explore my own interests in Sport & Health Massage and Health Promotion which eventually sparked my passion in Hauora Māori. I have recently completed an exciting journey with Te Wānanga or Raukawa gaining Poutuarongo Kawa Oranga – Bachelor of Māori Health, Sport and Exercise. This journey has not only contributed to my own mātauranga but it has also contributed to my own personal growth and been a powerful tool to help me to move on from my past and continue to build a better future for myself and my tamariki. I hope that one day I am able to give back to our Māori people, work and liaise in communities and help other whānau towards better health and wellbeing through mātauranga Māori.  I have begun to develop my own kaupapa Māori initiative that I hope to build on through this summer internship while gaining new knowledge and experiences, meeting new people and building connections within the health sector.

2015-2016 Interns


Crystal Pekepo

Ko Kahuranaki, Ko Rangimōtia ngā maunga
Ko Tukituki, Ko Avarua ngā awa
Ko Takitimu, Ko Rangimātoru ngā waka
Ko Ngāti Ngarengare te hapū
Ko Houngarea te marae
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu, Ko Ngāti Vara, Ko Ngāti Tāne ngā iwi

Crystal Pekepo is a tauira at Te Wānanga ō Raukawa and is in her last year in Poutuarongo Kawa Oranga. Crystal was one of two students who undertook the 10 week 2015/16 internship at Toi Tangata. She enjoys working alongside communities promoting kaupapa Māori approaches to improve health and wellbeing. Crystal aims to continue engaging whānau in physical and nutritional activity through the Atua Matua framework redefining our way of thinking to reflect the pursuit of atua and whakapapa first.


Emma Chaney

Ko Ngongotaha te maunga
Ko Rotorua te moana
Ko Te Arawa te waka
Ko Ngāti Whakaue, Ngati Rangiwewehi, Tuhourangi, Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Rangitihi nga hapu
Ko Tutanekai te whare tupuna
Hinemoa te whare kai
Ko Owhata te marae
Kei tamaki Makaurau e noho ana.
Ko Emma Chaney toku ingoa.

Kia Ora, my name is Emma and I’ve been given the opportunity to complete a 10-week internship over the 2015/16 summer with Toi Tangata, it’s been an amazing journey and learning experience which will contribute greatly to my future mahi. Currently I’m studying a BSc(Bachelor of Science) in Human Nutrition with a minor in Māori studies at Massey University in Tāmaki Makaurau. My passion lies in all things kai and around the well-being of whānau. During weekends I enjoy heading out of Auckland for hiking, camping and rock climbing.

During the Hui-ā-Tau I will be assisting in Darrio’s workshop with Crystal around what we have created over our internship under the He Pī Ka Rere umbrella and haumiatiketike space.

2013/2014 Interns


Hariata Tai Rakena

Kia ora, I’m Hariata Tai Rakena an uri from Waikato. I whakapapa to Ngāti Māhanga and Ngāti Hauā with a touch of Ngāi Tauiwi in the mix. I grew up in Christchurch where I completed undergraduate Te Reo and Māori indigenous studies at Canterbury. I have continued my study in Te Reo at AUT and more recently taken on sport and exercise science to extend the depth of my kete. Mātauranga Māori and physical activity are two distinct passions that I intend on making a lifelong pursuit.

The Toi Tangata summer internship introduced me to innovative concepts like the Atua Matua framework and provided exciting opportunities for me to apply my skill set. I was able to learn, practice and grow an appropriate pathway for myself within the health sector. The resounding lesson from the internship was not only encouragement to apply myself with multiple lenses but that in fact it could be an advantageous professional attribute.

I am nearing a new chapter in my final semester of my current study path and looking at taking on my Masters in the near future. I want to implement an exercise intervention programme with mātauranga Māori methodology, and use success markers from a holistic health model. I am currently working at Toi Tangata as a training and development specialist in physical activity and am also a presenter on a new programme on Māori television and at Les Mills Auckland training people.


Fabian Broughton

Ko Mauao me Tongariro te maunga
Ko Tauranga te Moana me Taupo-nui-a-Tia te awa
Ko Mataatua me Te Arawa te waka
Ko Ngāti Tapu me Ngāti Hinemihi te hapu
Ko Ngāi Te Rangi me Ngāti Tūwhareatoa te iwi
Ko Fabian Broughton ahau.

I am currently studying the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation at AUT University, completing a double major in Health and Physical Education and Coaching. Alongside that, I am a Māori leader (Tuakana) within the Health and Environmental Science Faculty. I am an active participant in all sports, particularly rugby, touch and rugby league and have a passion for teaching, where I hope to one day venture down that pathway either on the field, gym or in the classroom. I am keen to look for ways to work with communities to enhance physical activity and health concepts.  During my internship with Toi Tangata I hope to gain more knowledge and understanding which will help me improve the health and wellbeing of Māori from all walks of life.


Chelsea Cunningham

Kia ora. I’m Chelsea and I’m from Hastings. I completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Physical Education in 2014 looking at the key factors that rangatahi in Ngāti Kahungunu who were struggling with living in today’s society particularly within education. The health, wellbeing and education of our rangatahi are what I am most passionate about. I was very fortunate to be able to study a degree that I loved so I am now looking to use it to help improve the health of our rangatahi.

Over the summer period I had the privilege of being a student intern with the Toi Tangata whānau. I had the opportunity to meet great and knowledgeable people and engage with a number of environments. For me exploring whakapapa and mātauranga of the particular environments we engaged with was a newfound passion. These experiences have influenced my decision to explore my own whakapapa and mātauranga around the Ngāti Kahungunu area for my Masters this year and ultimately be able to use this in constructing and developing a physical activity program for rangatahi that will help with self-identity and promote leadership and excellence for rangatahi to flourish.