He Tangata Winnie Matahaere

Jul 21, 2022

Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Ruanui, Taranaki Iwi, Te Arawa, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri ōku Iwi

Above: Matthew and Winnie Matahaere.

Ko Te Atua o
Taiehu te mauka
Ko Mata-au te awa
Kāi Te Ruahikihiki,
Kāti Te Taoka te hapū
Ko Ōtākou te papakāika
Ko Pōtiki te whānau
Ko Kāi Tahu,
Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Ruanui, Taranaki Iwi, Te Arawa,
Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri ōku Iwi
Ko Winnie Matahaere tāku ikoa

My first job was in the late 90s where I worked closely with Tahu Potiki on manuscripts he was translating at the time. Tahu also set up the first rōpū of rakatahi, dragging us around the motu and building a sense of connection through whakapapa. He took us up to the signing of the Deed of Settlement in Kaikōura and reminded us of the mahi of our tūpuna, usually heroic or dastardly deeds and always the odd battle thrown in. I am still left wondering about the wives and daughters of these Rakatira.

These early experiences have led me into a career where my mission is to return our tamariki from non-kin care back into their whānau leading out the first s396 iwi provider of support to tamariki and whānau in Te Waipounamu.

I am a proud mama of three tamariki; Atawhiua, Tutekawa and Taoka, who fill my days with confusion and joy as they navigate the normal that is the pandemic.

What constitutes a good day?
Being able to work with like-minded people.

One thing you could not live without?
My whānau.

Who or what inspires you and why?
My mother Donna; her unwavering commitment and dedication to addressing inequalities for Māori in the areas of health, education and Social Services has inspired a sense of social justice in myself, my siblings and wider whānau.

Highlight in the last year and why?
Building a strong and committed team who will not compromise on whakapapa in the care of tamariki.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Clothing, shoes, house plants, kids …

Favourite way to chill out? Favourite place?
Anything to do with the moana.
Learning to dive is an opportunity to explore different taiao and connect with my whakapapa.

Dance or wallflower?
You can catch me on the dancefloor.

What food could you not live without?
Bluff Oysters.

What meal do you cook the most?
My partner is an amazing cook. The meals I like him to cook for me are Asian Fusion.

Greatest achievement?
Leading an amazing team of Kaiāwhina at Ōtākou Health Ltd.

Do you have an aspiration for Ngāi Tahu to achieve by 2025?
For all Ngāi Tahu tamariki currently in State care to be transferred to our Iwi-mandated 396 Whānau Care Service, Tiaki Taoka. And to be able to name the wives and daughters of our rakatira; to retell the stories of these tupuna.