He Tangata
Tui Cadigan

Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, Poutini Ngāi Tahu

Tui Cadigan affiliates to Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, and Poutini Ngāi Tahu. Her hapu is Kāti Māhakiki Makaawhio. She is a religious Sister of Mercy and is in her ninth year as member of the Leadership Team of Ngā Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa Sisters of Mercy New Zealand. She has held the role of Congregation Bursar for eight years. Sister Tui is also a member of Te Kāhui o Te Ariki – Māori Priests and Religious Brothers and Sisters. She is Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Te Hāhi Katorika o Aotearoa – the National Catholic Māori Council advisory to the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, and a director on Kāti Māhaki ki Makaawhio Ltd.


What constitutes a good day?
The warmth of the sun on my skin, sitting at the seaside, watching the waves roll in.

One thing you could not live without?
Friends and whānau.

Who or what inspires you and why?
My parents. I descend from two whakapapa lines that suffered from British colonial oppression. From a Poutini Ngāi Tahu mother and an Irish Catholic father, I learned to value myself and not to tolerate bullies or injustices when I see them. It gets me into trouble, but I never fear speaking up when I am aware someone is not being treated justly. I learned from them that the risk is worth taking!

Highlight of your last year and why?
Returning to live in Ōtautahi after eight years in Wellington. To be back with whānau, hapū, and iwi, to reconnect with friends and get to see the aspects of the city being developed since the quakes, and to see the level of recognition of the place of Ngāi Tahu finally acknowledged and visible in this city.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Possibly my cat Moe – he is not cheap to run! Close behind that would be shoes. I am no Imelda Marcos, but I have a lot of shoes for a nun.

Favourite way to chill out? Favourite place?
At home with my cat.

Favorite place?
Hokitika. I love the rain, the magnificent sunsets, the beauty of the Hokitika Gorge, the amazing snow-covered mountain ranges on a crisp, fine, frosty morning. There is no place like home!

Dance or wallflower?
The ageing process determines that these days – more wallflower.

What food could you not live without?
Whitebait – it is in my DNA.

What meal do you cook the most?
Fresh fish: any variety I can access, with the exception of salmon. However, at this time of year, Bluff oysters in a light batter go down a treat with a cold beer.

Greatest achievement?
Being invited to attend a conference of indigenous women scholars of religion and theology at Duke University, North Carolina, USA. We were each asked to write a chapter for a volume titled The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theology. My chapter was titled The Impact of Globalization on Wāhine Māori.

Do you have an aspiration for Ngāi Tahu to achieve by 2025?
Te Rūnanga needs to demonstrate its uniqueness as an iwi business – everything Ngāi Tahu does has impacts on her people. We still have too many people living in poverty, too many in prison, too many with poor education. We also have to make sure our young Ngāi Tahu don’t suffer from a sense of entitlement. Don’t turn up at hui making demands and moaning about your mana not being respected if you aren’t willing to contribute to iwi life! Self-respect is an essential for every person, but it must not cross the line into arrogance. Our tūpuna worked for years over generations to get to this point – let’s make sure we are not the generation that squanders the lot by trying to emulate Pākehā big business!