Dr Ihirangi Heke


Atua Matua, Tapuwae Kura 

Of Waikato-Tainui descent, Dr Ihirangi Heke was raised in the South Island mountain adventure environment of Queenstown. Over the past 15 years he has been active in helping Māori and other indigenous groups abroad, build their own health and wellness activities based on their traditional environmental knowledge. Dr Heke was awarded a research grant to compare Systems Science and Whakapapa by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and retains an Honorary Research Fellow position to the University of Auckland’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Dr Wayne Ngata

(Ngāti Ira)

Tapuwae Kura

Dr Wayne Ngata is a descendant of the Ngāti Ira tribe of Mangatuna, Tairāwhiti, Aotearoa and a long time advocate and supporter of Māori language revitalisation, Māori medium education, Māori art development, and traditional chant and performance. He is actively engaged in providing advice on Māori education and Māori language development at national and ministerial levels. Wayne has a keen interest and involvement with waka hourua renaissance and rebuilding environmental bodies of Māori knowledge.

Mark Kopua

(Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngāti Ira and Ngāti Porou)

Mahi a Atua

Mark was the master carver for several meeting houses both on the East Coast as well as in the lower North Island. He and a small group of moko artists are responsible for the reinstatement of moko into New Zealand society.  Mark has been employed in many national and international roles and one unique role has been to provenance artefacts. For many years he was a board member of the national Māori art advocacy, Toi Māori. He has trained several moko artists and continues to work as a moko artist and design consultant in addition to holding the position as a co-director for Te Kurahuna.

Dr Diana Kopua

(Ngāti Porou)

Mahi a Atua

Diana developed Mahi a Atua in the mid-90s and then in 2002 studied medicine at the University of Otago. In 2014 she completed her specialist training in psychiatry and is a Fellow of the Royal Australia New Zealand College of Psychiatry. Diana continues to lead change through her collaboration with her husband Mark Kopua and together they are growing a collective of Mataora (change agents who are trained in Mahi a Atua) who work to indigenise their respective communities of practice. 

Jessica Hutchings

(Ngāi Tahu, Gujurati)

Dr Jessica Hutchings has a PhD in environmental studies. She holds leadership and governance roles in the Māori science and research sector and is a widely published author. Dr Hutchings has been working at the crossroads of indigenous knowledge, whānau and environmental wellbeing for the last two decades. She works in the Māori science sector where she holds a number of governance and senior leadership roles, including a member of the MBIE Science Board and is also the Treaty relationships Manager for the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

She has been a member of Te Waka Kai Ora, the National Māori Organics Authority for the last two decades and is a Hua Parakore verified producer on her small whānau food farm just north of Upper Hutt. She is passionate about Māori soil and food sovereignty and growing the next generation of rangatahi to be Hua Parakore food farmers.

Lorinda Pereira

(Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahungunu)

Lorinda Pereira of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua and Ngāti Kahungunu descent, is a māmā of six who made the move back to her whenua in Panguru, Hokianga. Here, she is raising her tamariki and teaching them all they need to know to survive by growing their own mahinga kai. She follows the concept of food forests, which are a low maintenance, sustainable method to grow food that mimics the ecosystem of forests, reaping the benefits of the different foods all year round.

Wiremu Sarich

(Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa)

Te Whare Rēhia

Wiremu is a leading exponent in the resurgence of Nga taonga Takaro (traditional Maori games\pastimes) who lives by the proverbial philosophy “Kia kawea tatou e te rehia,” (let us be swept away by the pursuit of fun. leisure and entertainment). He works with rangatahi to explore the “kura huna” – the hidden learnings and deeper meanings – these activities contain. operates a whare karioi – what he describes as “a whare rēhia on wheels” – which allows him to share taonga tākaro with children across the country.

Nikki Penetito-Hemara

(Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Whakatōhea)

Kori Collab

Born and raised in the vibrant metropolis of Manurewa, Nikki is a proud South Aucklander. She has dedicated much of her professional career to leading multidisciplinary teams of people in health and education. After spending almost, a decade in the higher education space she found a particular passion for social innovation, rangahau and systems change. She believes this provides an ideal mix for unlocking the inner creative. Nikki enjoys zoning in on opportunities to both initiate and support kaupapa which contribute to positive impact for Māori communities. She is super competitive, naturally a bit of a tutū and is a sucker for any opportunity to play!

Rikki Solomon

(Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa)

Rikki holds a National Certificate in Embalming and has over 20 years’ experience working in the funeral industry as an embalmer and funeral director. He also holds a He Waka Hiringa: Masters Degree in Applied Indigenous Knowledge from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. He is currently working on his Doctorate of Indigenous Development and Advancement at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. His focus is on Nga Kitenga o te Maramataka: Insights into the Maramamataka (Māori Moon Calendar) and its relation to Whakamomori (Suicide).

Wiki Burdon and Raiha Johnson

(Te Rarawa)

He Pī Ka Rere

Teachers Raiha Johnson (right) and Wikitoria Burdon (left), of Waverley Park School in Invercargill, both descendants of Te Rarawa, are fierce advocates for te reo me ona tikanga Māori. They are leaders in the He Pī Ka Rere kaupapa having introduced to to their kura auraki with great success.

Justin Gush

(Ngāti Apa, Ngā Wairiki, Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi, Ngāpuhi)


Kororia kia Ihoa o ngā Mano.

Matua, Tama, Wairua Tapu me ngā Anahera Pono me te Māngai Āe.

He uri mokopuna ahau nō Ratana Pā. He Kaimahi Hauora ki Ihi Whanganui (Sport Whanganui). Nō reira e rere kau mai te awa nui, mai I te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa.

Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au.

Tīhei Mouri Ora.

Deb Rewiri

(Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Awa, Te Whānau a Apanui)

He Oranga Wairua He Tikanga Aroha

Deb is the sole director of He Oranga Wairua He Tikanga Aroha. She is a passionate wahine who works to support whanau, hapū and Iwi community development. She is known for her good sense of humour and the ability to celebrate a process that leads to greater understanding and meaning making for both the individual and the collective.

Deb has a wealth of experience ranging from presentations to many groups from early years, adolescents, prisons and schools. She is often called upon to deliver kaupapa Māori presentations where science is beginning to catch up to indigenous practices pre-colonization.

Kristina Cavit


The Kindness Institute

Kristina is the Founder of The Kindness Institute. She has spent the past 10 years working with marginalised communities facing stress and trauma in Aotearoa and around the world. In 2018 Kristina was named a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to youth and community. Kristina was nominated for Young New Zealander of The Year 2018, received a Kiwibank Local Hero Award and a Women’s Fund 2018 Champion of Change award.

Te Aorangi Kowhai-Morini 

Waikato Tainui, Ngāpuhi

The Kindness Institute

Te Aorangi has a quick wit, massive confidence, and lights up the room. Te Aorangi is very passionate about mindfulness, yoga, and teaching these skills to her whanau, kura, and community. She loves dance, maramataka, and is competitive in kapa haka and waka ama through her kura Hoani Waititi.

Christine Russell


The Kindness Institute

Christine has taught mindfulness, stress management and yoga to teen mums, refugee communities, Ihumatao community and taught hundreds of students at Onehunga High School. She became the school appointed Mindfulness Teacher and was awarded the school’s Humanitarian Award for her work and is now a part-time Youth Mentor and Facilitator for TKI and Atawhai.

Genae Thompson

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa

Poutawa Reo

Genae is the Managing Director and lead Consultant of Poutawa Reo. As an ex secondary school kaiako, she is passionate about the authentic and engaging delivery of mātauranga and reo Māori kaupapa. In her mahi as an online facilitator and resource developer, Genae uses a range of digital technologies and interactive resources to engage a wide range of audiences from tamariki to kaumātua to enhance their journey to Te Ao Mārama. She is an advocate and staunch supporter of those who are on their learning journey and believes that mixing our traditional ways of being and knowing, with the exciting and refreshing digital world is an ideal combination in order to achieve success.

Te Puawaitanga Winterburn-Chapman

Fit Wāhine

Puawai is a māmā, a partner, an entrepreneur, actress, fitness coach and BOSS wahine! A māmā at the age of 17 years, she had to overcome her feeling of being stereotyped and harnessed her many talents to be a role model for other wāhine! 

With the guidance and support of her whānau, she pushed the boundaries to teach herself, and others, that self-love, self-care and healthy habits can and will change your life.

Kawiti Waetford

Ngātiwai, Ngāti Hine and Ngāpuhi

Kawiti descends from Ngātiwai, Ngāti Hine, and Ngāpuhi tribes of Te Taitokerau and is a raukura of Kura Kaupapa Māori.

As an opera singer, performer, public speaker, facilitator and educator on Taiao, Reo and Mātauranga Māori, he weaves both energy and people through the use of his voice.

With a Masters in Advanced Vocal Studies from the Wales International Academy of Voice, Kawiti trained and performed in the UK and Europe, mentored by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

Now home, he is Kaiurungi Tuakana for Te Aho Tū Roa (Toimata Foundation), practising sustainable living on whenua whānau including Tiny Home on Wheels living, Syntropic Agrofood Forestry, and Permaculture coupled with tikanga Mātauranga Māori.

Raised on the beautiful Tutukaka Coast of Northland New Zealand, Kawiti is now a multi-talented opera singer, performer, public speaker and Reo Māori expert.