Meet Our Keynote Speakers

Dr Matire Harwood


A keen waka ama paddler and sideline basketball Mum, Matire’s background is in primary health care and rangahau hauora Māori. She is the Director for Tōmaiora, Māori Health Research, and Senior Lecturer at the Auckland Medical School; editor for the Māori Health Research Review; Gp at Papakura Marae, and GP Champion for Primary Care Health Targets at Counties Manukau DHB. Dr Harwood sits on the Board and Māori Health Committee at the Health Research Council, and the Māori Advisory Committee for Auckland / Waitemata DHB.

Other recent roles include Clinical Director at Tamaki Healthcare PHO; Deputy Chair for Te ORA (Māori Medical Practitioners Association); previous member of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, and Health and Disability Ethics Committees.

Navigating the waves of health equity with our waka – what seat are you in?

Using examples from both her work as a GP in Papakura, from recent research and her involvement in waka ama/outrigger canoe,  Matire will look at the role we play in the promotion of healthy lifestyles to individuals, whānau and communities.  Are we all on board the same waka?  Are our paddle strokes in unison as they enter the water ? Who are the powerhouses sitting in seats 3 and 4?  Is seat six steering the waka in the right direction to make a difference?

Dr Rangi Mataamua


Doctor Matamua of Tūhoe, is an Associate Professor based in the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies at Waikato University. As Associate Dean Postgraduate, he is also heavily involved with research development and postgraduate studies. He has undertaken significant research in the areas of Māori language revitalisation, Māori culture, Māori astronomy and broadcasting.

In his MA thesis Doctor Matamua focused on traditional Tūhoe weaponry, and his PhD examined the role of Māori radio in Māori language revitalisation. In addition, Dr Matamua sits on a number of related boards including Society for Māori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART). Dr Matamua is a graduate of Te Panekiretanga o te reo Māori and Te Mata Punenga. Recently, Dr Matamua has authored the  publications; Matariki: Te Whetū Tapu o te Tau, and more recently, Matariki: The Star of the Year.

Mātai Whetū | Aim for the Stars

 The hui-a-tau theme – Tātai Arorangi draws inspiration from the knowledge system of the stars, the conductors of the environment that we rely so heavily on. Inspired by the kupu ‘Ko tātai  arorangi i te kaiarataki i te ra,’ it speaks of how reading the stars once guided everything we did and how all components of our lives were guarded by these celestial bodies. Rangi will share some of his knowledge and explain the meaning Mātai Whetu and its significance to the Hui-a-tau theme.

Dr Ihirangi Heke


Dr. Justin Ihirangi Heke is currently a Māori health & physical activity consultant involved in a number of projects ranging from community based initiatives funded by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to working in applied roles with elite athletes as both a sport psychologist and strength/conditioner.  Previously he has held lecturing roles in the School of Physical Education at the University of Otago, the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Wānanga o Raukawa.

Dr Heke is an honorary research fellow to the University of Auckland. Dr Heke is an elite athlete performance consultant to New Zealand Sport and has worked in disciplines ranging from the traditional netball and rugby to the more contemporary interests of golf and motorsports.

Māori Systems Thinking

Ihirangi will provide an overview of Māori Systems Thinking approaches utilising examples from Atua Matua, wananga in 2017 and more recently with his work with Indigenous groups overseas.

Te Ururoa Flavell

Ngati Rangiwewehi, Ngapuhi

Trained as a teacher, Te Ururoa taught at the secondary and tertiary level for many years. He later held a number of roles in the education sector, including school principal, and then worked as a consultant to various government agencies. He is a former New Zealand Member of Parliament, Minister of Maori Development, and co-leader of the Māori Party, a position he has held since 2013. He represented the Waiariki electorate for the party in Parliament from 2005-2017. He has just launched a consultancy business where he will offer his skills to organisations, businesses, groups or individuals who want to bridge the gap between Māori and Pakeha. More recently he has returned to his roots and taken up roles within Victoria and Waikato universities helping with course assessments and lecturing in politics.

Moving the Māori Nation:
Where has it been and where is it

What challenges do our whānau face in achieving positive healthy lifestyle changes? Has the Māori nation moved?  How effective is our advocacy?  What policy settings do we need to focus on to effect positive change?  In his korero, Te Ururoa will discuss a range of kaupapa from his experience in government, education, and community.

Nikolasa Biasiny-Tule

Dutch, Puerto Rican

Nikolasa and husband, Potaua, currently provide ongoing services to Te Arawa Whanau Ora, Te Komiti Nui o Ngati Whakaue, Tipu Ora and GHA Associates.

With Potaua, she co-founded Digital Natives Academy and owns and operates Ltd.

Digital Natives Academy

It is easy to be inspired around our innovative spirit when 1000 years ago our ancestors were harnessing the natural elements and utilising celestial navigation to chart the Pacific and journey safely to New Zealand.

Māori innovation is a bit different to the mainstream. It’s about making connections between the old and the new; between the large and the small; between the whanau, the hapu and the iwi. It speaks to the transitional nature of change and looks to how Māori values can be retained throughout the entire process. And it is an essential part of bringing the culture into a 21st century paradigm. The potential for Māori is not just in innovative ideas, but in the innovative systems to support ideas that will benefit communities.

One of the more significant trends not fully discussed is the changing demographic of Māori. Fifty per cent of all Māori are aged 23 years or younger. This group are digital natives, often hyper-connected, and savvy. The question of where job opportunities come from for them may be partially answered in the palm of our hands.

Potaua Biasiny-Tule

Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Pikiao, Tuhoe

Potaua Biasiny-Tule is an innovator, academic and digital entrepreneur, founder of news website and previous project manager of Google Māori.

Having worked in the tech industry for 12 years and built a successful business during that time, Potaua and wife Nikolasa saw the power of technology to transform lives and created the foundation tamariki, rangatahi and whānau need to become creators and developers of their own digital tools by founding DNA, the Digital Natives Academy.

Digital Natives Academy

Digital innovation is a contemporary way for whanau to navigate the tricky waters of today, to chart the course, make the journey and arrive safely at their destination of digital self-sufficiency. It’s part of a wider solution to connect, share, train and employ tribal members. They are modern-day ancestors, planting the seeds of hope today so that the children might enjoy the fruits of innovation tomorrow.

So what role does nutrition and physical activity play in a space that generally sees users indoors, behind a computer screen and sitting down?  How can gaming be healthy? What opportunities are there to promote messages? Potaua and Nikolasa will share their thoughts and experiences in the digi-space that has new opportunities to engage rangatahi and  whānau moving into the future.