He Tangata
Corri Ackerman

Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe

Corri Ackerman was born in Hawke’s Bay and raised on Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū (Banks Peninsula). She attended Te Waipounamu Māori Girls’ College for three years and then at age 17 went tipi-haere; over the next 10 years she moved to Te Tai Tokerau, Wellington, Auckland, back to Te Tai Tokerau, Australia and finally did a tiny stint in the Middle East. Throughout this time she returned regularly to Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū to work the Akaroa tourist season and stoke the home fires. It was while she was in the Middle East she felt a deep and aching pull from tūpuna to return home and mahia te mahi (do the work).

Seventeen years, four beautiful babies (including whāngai) and many adventures later, Corri now resides between Ōtautahi and the Peninsula. Other than being a mum (and a hōhā daughter) she is a Kaimirimiri and Teina Karongoā at Te Pito o Te Pā, a Whare Rongoa at Te Pā o Rākaihautū kura, offering her services in mirimiri (massage) and rongoā (traditional Māori medicine). In addition to this, Corri is active in the community as the Executive Secretary for Ōnuku Rūnanga, the Ōnuku Representative on the Environmental Portfolio and Parent Representative on Te Pā o Rākaihautū Te Tautarinui o Matariki. She is also in the final stages of her Small Business Management studies at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, although she jokes that she is possibly the worst student ever due to the many pōtae she wears!

Ko Mahia Whatarau-Tainui tōku Māmā, ko Pere Tainui tōku pāpā whāngai. Ki te taha o tōku māmā, he uri au o te tipuna Hape-Ki-Tū-Manui-o-Te-Rangi (Hape). Nō reira, ko Te Hapū Oneone, Waitaha me Kāti Māmoe
ngā iwi. Ki te taha o tōku pāpā whāngai, he kaitiaki au o Ngāti Irakehu ki Ōnuku me Kāi Tārewa hoki. Ko Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū tōku Ūkaipō
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What constitutes a good day?
Mundane days are gold! Savour them!

One thing you could not live without?
My whānau and a car that can handle the peninsula roads (OK that’s two things).

Who or what inspires you and why?
Seeing tūpuna reflected in the lives of those around me inspires me. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by people who mahia te mahi. They embody tika, pono, and aroha. What’s more they’re savvy, sassy, intelligent, passionate, compassionate, determined and committed. It gives me great hope. I’m also inspired by whānau who work through the hard-life stuff, changing paradigms of generations, stepping out of the weeds and leading the way forward with hearts still intact – just beautiful!

Highlight of your last year and why?
Although the passing of Koro Anotia (Bossy) has been a terrible low for us, it’s been a massive year with many blessings and highlights. I think the best highlight was hearing my big girl tell me she was ready to relocate to Te Pā o Rākaihautū – I waited three years (with minimal nagging).

What is your greatest extravagance?
“Extravagance” and “Corri” are not synonymous. “He moumou tonu” is. I’m a terrible scrooge.

Favourite way to chill out? Favourite place?
Refer to mundane days (with my tamariki). My favourite place is the ngahere.

Dance or wallflower?
Both.

What food could you not live without?
The chocolate stays!

What meal do you cook the most?
Here’s the confession – I’ve always been surrounded by fabulous cooks and chefs, so if I can get away with not cooking I don’t. But if the whānau are subjected to my cooking it’s usually some form of slow cooked stew – with red wine and quality stock for best results, clean flavours, made from scratch. If I’m really in the mood I’ll make bread to go with it.

Greatest achievement?
My tamariki – they’re awesome and each their own unique person.

Do you have an aspiration for Ngai Tahu to achieve by 2025?
I’d like to see far more Papatipu Rūnanga collaboration and a greater commitment towards succession planning and capacity building. So “Hiring the Best” means looking first and foremost internally to Ngāi Tahu whānui. So our communities are thriving, the paepae are tino mahana and whānau are standing in the Mana Motuhake of their takiwā. Rangatiratanga from flaxroots up is where it’s at whānau!