Meet some of our team
Our Mataaho Aronui – Māori Strategic Outcomes team provides Wellington City Council with a strong Māori voice.
They have a strong focus on elevating Māori voices and increasing Māori representation in our leadership and across our city.
The team are driven to maximise their impact for Māori through building strong and enduring partnerships so that Māori are proactively engaged in Pōneke's future.
Here’s what our Mataaho Aronui team had to say about their roles, their aspirations for Pōneke, and what they love best about our city.
Karepa Wall, Tātai Heke Māori (Chief Māori Officer)
Manukorihi, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Ruanui, Taranaki Tūturu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa
It’s important that we have a huge focus on raising the status of our indigenous language and our culture and identity here in Wellington, while also focusing on the wellbeing of our people, our environment, and our wider communities.
Mana whenua and Māori aspirations for Wellington are firmly fixed on elevating and celebrating te ao Māori in all spaces, normalising te reo Māori, and creating a sense of community pride for all things Māori within our city. Wellington is the innovative capital, the creative city and the head of the fish – and with all of these components, we can really shape an exciting future for Pōneke. Kia mouri ora te tāone mīharo a Pōneke.
Manda Grubner, Manager Māori Partnerships
In my role I support the organisation to have strong and authentic partnerships with mana whenua and Māori. I have a vision for a Pōneke where Te Tiriti is embodied at all levels, through our governance, operations and at the community level.
My favourite thing about Pōneke is our wild windy coastline and I love to hīkoi around the South Coast to settle my wairua.
Johnnie Freeland, Manager Māori Strategy
Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua, Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Apakura, Ngāi Tūhoe
As the Māori Strategy team, our role is to weave te ao Māori knowledge, strategic thinking and rangahau Māori research together so that Māori prosper as Māori. My aspiration for Pōneke/Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui (the head of Māui's fish) is to be a place where Māori thrive, and that Wellington is seen internationally as the benchmark of excellence in the way indigenous peoples are valued and accorded mana.
Naina O Te Waipounamu West, Programme Manager Māori Success
Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Pikiao
I dream of a day where my sons can walk down Lambton Quay and see, hear and speak te reo Māori and te ao Māori is well represented, where they can sit in a boardroom and see themselves reflected in those around that table. More Māori in leadership, more mana whenua presence in spaces, more co-governance, more equitable funding and support for kaupapa Māori.
Te Po Hohua Johnstone, Senior Advisor Māori Partnerships
My favourite thing about Wellington is all the hidden alleyways throughout town, which have amazing shops, cafes and restaurants. I also love our city’s coastline. I hope that one day we see more Māori motifs, narratives, and te reo displayed around the capital as we go about our everyday lives.
Ana Nicholls, Senior Advisor Māori Strategy
My aspirations are to see a city where inequities are no longer visible and where the wellbeing of our people and the environment is at the heart of everything we do. Working in local government excites me because I believe the foundations have been laid for significant, long-term change that will benefit our people, communities, and environment. It may be slow, and we still have a long way to go, but we are making progress, and that matters.
Silas Phillips, Advisor Māori Strategy
Taranaki, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Raukawa ki Ōtaki
I'm the most junior member of the team and the newest to policy writing, advice and local government processes. I work to support our different kaupapa and thought leadership in any way I can. I love the Wellington harbour and ocean. My hope for Wellington is for it to be a place where kids don't have to grow up in poverty, young people are nurtured, where they can see themselves in roles and positions of leadership.
Tāwhiao McMaster, Senior Advisor Māori Strategy
Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, Waikato-Tainui
I aim to collaborate with mana whenua and Māori to improve the wellbeing of our communities by weaving appropriate strands of mātauranga Māori with western knowledge. Through this work, we aspire to fill the void of inherent inequalities, through taking equitable steps that improve the wellbeing of our people. What is my favourite thing about Wellington? The people. More than any other place in the world, our people express themselves with confidence and finesse.
Kohe Webster, Coordinator Mataaho Aronui
Ngāti Toarangatira, Ngāti Raukawa ki Ōtaki
The Wellington region has a rich history and some amazing stories from some of the first people who lived here. We’re a city that is embracing te reo Māori and Māori stories, history and art. There has been a real change in this space over the past decade. I believe a bilingual city is within our grasp if we make the right moves. We need to uplift and tautoko our mana whenua partners to meet their aspirations and sail that waka alongside them.
Paratene WiRepa-Kingi, Senior Advisor Māori Partnerships
Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa
My mahi symbolises a willingness to develop practical and critical approaches for engagement with mana whenua. Internally, this looks like guiding staff to be confident in proactively seeking mana whenua guidance and input when needed and externally, ensuring that we uphold our collective approaches by striving for better outcomes for Māori and for all here in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. I hope my actions foster a sense of pride when we all succeed rather than celebrating individual successes.