He Tangata Moana-o-Hinerangi

Jul 11, 2023

Ngāi Tahu, Ngāiti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kōnohi, Ngāi Tūtekohi, Rakaipaaka, Ngāti Hikairo, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou

He uri ahau nō Te Wai Pounamu…

Nō Te Aotaumarewa, Ngāti Hāteatea, Te Ruahikihiki,

Ngāti Huirapa, Ngāti Irakehu, Te Rakiāmoa, Ngāti Hinematua, Ngāti Te Atawhiua, Ngāi Tūāhuriri.

He uri anō ahau nō Te Tai Rāwhiti…

Nō Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kōnohi, Ngāi Tūtekohi, Rakaipaaka, Ngāti Hikairo, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou.

I was born in Te Tai Rāwhiti amongst my northern Taurima whānau, but raised amongst my southern Rehu/Te Au whānau in Murihiku, so have only known the Ngāi Tahu way.

My great-aunt Kitty McKay and her husband Joe Beaton (son of Mereaina Pere and John Piitini-Morera) took our mother, myself and my two brothers into their Ouetoto home and we had a blessed life.

I was educated at Pahia Primary School and St Catherine’s College in Invercargill, while my brothers went to St Peter’s College in Gore. Eventually we moved to Gore for better employment opportunities. I married a Gore boy and we had two daughters and six sons. We shifted to Ōtautahi in 2000 where I worked for Ngāi Tahu Development until it folded.

I went on to set up my own consultancy, working until becoming unwell and eventually moving into Whare Tiaki at Wesley Care: supported shared accommodation living with other “older Māori.”

Through my own self-care programme of rest, good food and exercise, I have become well to the point where I have started doing low-key, light work for a few hours a week. Life has taught me many lessons, and I am convinced I have had an army of guardian angels around me, keeping me (and others) safe.

It’s been a life of miracles and divine care.


What constitutes a good day?
Being able to go to sleep at night settled, satisfied and grateful for the day’s goings on.

One thing you could not live without? 


Who or what inspires you?

Music; my life blood.

And Maya Angelou… “I’ve learned that making a living is not the same as making a life.”

Highlights in the last year and why?

Accepting the invitation to live with my son Te Koha, daughter-in-law Casey and my four mokopuna.

What is your greatest extravegence?

Three return trips to London to visit James, our whānau pōtiki, when he was at ArtsEd Performing Arts School in the West End.

Favourite way to chill out? Favourite place?

Music; on the keyboard of a grand piano.

I had the pleasure of playing a grand piano to open an exhibition at the NG Gallery a few years back. The red carved piano was the beautiful work of Michael Te Rakato Parekowhai. It was an honour.

Dance or wallflower?


What food could you not live without?

Tītī and rāwaru nō Rakiura – mutton birds and Stewart Island blue cod.

What meal do cook the most? 

Kaimoana, pork bones, meat balls and silver beet pie.

Greatest Achievement?

Two daughters, six sons and 22 mokopuna so far.

Do you have an aspiration for Ngāi Tahu to achieve by 2050?

That our tribal table is ensuring our mokopuna and their whānau have exemplary opportunities to have bountiful tūpuna – inspired lives.