This year’s Ōtepoti Tuia participants have been selected and are eager to make the most of the opportunity to develop their leadership capabilities, Dunedin City Council said today.
Tia Taiaroa, who has strong whakapapa links to Ōtākou (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha) and Te Ati Awa ki Taranaki, and Bobbie Rushton, who has Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou and Italian heritage, will take part in this year’s Tuia leadership programme for rangatahi Māori.
As part of the programme, Tia and Bobbie will receive mentoring from Mayor of Dunedin Jules Radich and Māori mentors.
They will also help develop a project to benefit their respective communities and they will attend wānanga hosted at different marae around the country to build connections with other rangatahi, explore ancestral journeys and learn and reflect on their own whakapapa journey.
Tia has a Bachelor of Arts at University of Otago in Māori & Indigenous Development and Tourism and has worked for multiple iwi and rūnaka organisations.
“I grew up on my pā at Ōtākou surrounded by whānau. Growing up on the marae gave me a real sense of self identity and throughout the years built on my knowledge of history, kōrero-ā-iwi and provoked a passion for whakapapa and leadership,” Tia says.
“I hope participating in the Tuia programme will help me build on these passions for, and on behalf of, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou.”
Bobbie currently works for Manaaki Whenua where she is the Coordinator – Site Operations for Dunedin and also responsible for managing environmental sustainability data.
“I was brought up on a rural farm in South Canterbury surrounded by a strong community. This upbringing inspired a real interest to learn first-hand what brings a community together,” she says.
“Tuia will allow me to expand on my leadership, grow as an individual and in my identity, as well as thrive in my passion for working with rangatahi.”
The Tuia programme is a long term, intergenerational approach to develop the leadership capacity of young Māori in communities throughout New Zealand. The DCC has been
involved since its inception in 2011.
Waiariki Parata-Taiapa, the inaugural Tuia recipient and now a Māori mentor for the programme, says Ōtepoti has been a proud supporter of the Tuia kaupapa since its inception.
“We have had great advocates such as the late (DCC Community Advisor) Michael Laufiso and (former Mayor) Dave Cull who recognised the potential and contribution that rakatahi Māori provide within our city,” Mr Parata-Taiapa says.
“Tuia is a unique kaupapa that focuses on developing the leadership potential of rakatahi Māori by strengthening relationships with people and communities and understanding our past, connecting with the present and paving a pathway for the future.”