Our people

Pou (patrons)

Dame Tariana Turia and Professor Sir Mason Durie confirmed as our pou (patrons) in 2015.

Dame Tariana Turia

Ngāti Apa, Ngā Wairiki, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Whanganui | Pou, Whānau Ora

Dame Tariana Turia is widely regarded as the ‘Whaea’, or ‘Mother’ of Whānau Ora and was responsible for introducing it as government policy for helping families in 2010.

Dame Tariana has held several ministerial portfolios including Minister responsible for Whānau Ora, Disability Issues, the Community and Voluntary Sector, as well as further Associate Ministerial responsibilities including Health, Housing, Social Development and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment.

Through her work in and outside of Parliament, she was able to significantly and positively affect the lives of countless others. She established the first Community and Voluntary Sector office introduced the Treaty of Waitangi clause into the Health and Disability Act, and promoted the uptake of cultural competency as a basic standard right across the health sector. Her contributions towards the prevention of rheumatic fever and wide-ranging tobacco reform have seen her highly acclaimed on the international stage.

Emeritus Professor Sir Mason Durie

Rangitāne, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Raukawa | Pou, Whānau Ora

Emeritus Professor Sir Mason Durie is one of New Zealand’s most highly respected academics. His research on whānau development provided an important platform for Whānau Ora. He worked closely with Dame Tariana Turia to develop the Whānau Ora approach and was the founding Chair of the original Whānau Ora Taskforce in 2008.

He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand since 1995 and a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit since 2001. In 2008, Otago University awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Prior to retirement in 2012 he was Professor of Māori Research and Development and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Massey University. He was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2013.

His extensive publications continue to be widely quoted within New Zealand and internationally, especially in connection with indigenous health advancement. In 2010 he was knighted for services to public health and especially Māori health.


Our directors have impeccable credentials and ensure that every dollar spent aims to enable whānau to build self-management capability, and therefore a better future. Every member is independent, leaving them free to make decisions fully in the interests of whānau.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait

Te Arawa | Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency Chair

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is a leading advocate for the rights of women & children and also a strong public voice in the campaign to understand and prevent family violence.

Based in in Rotorua, Merepeka is currently an elected member of both the Rotorua Lakes Council and the Lakes District Health Board.

She has a long and distinguished history of public service, having served as CEO of the West Auckland Hospice and rose to National prominence as the outspoken former CEO of Women’s Refuge.

Merepeka holds an MBA in International Management. She has a wealth of experience in the fields of business, management & politics, and is constantly in demand as a commentator and guest panellist, particularly around issues to do with Māori, health & welfare and social justice.

A sought after motivational speaker, mentor and consultant, Merepeka is the author of a long running and highly regarded newspaper column as well as serving as a board member and advisor to several not-for-profit organisations. She is passionate about encouraging and advancing the aspirations of Māori.

Robin Hapi

CNZM Ngāti Kahungunu | Director

Robin Hapi is an experienced Māori business leader and is a sought after director and board member.

He is a Director of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and currently sits on a number of boards, including Callaghan Innovation, NZTE, Te Mātāwai, and is the Chair of Te Wānanga O Raukawa. Robin is the former Chief Executive of Aotearoa Fisheries and the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission and was Chairman of Sealord Group from 2007-2011.

Robin is a long-time advocate for Māori education and holds an MBA with Distinction from Massey University, where he was awarded a Massey Medal as one of its distinguished alumni.

Pahia Turia

Ngā Wairiki, Ngāti Apa, Ngā Rauru, Whanganui, Tuwharetoa | Director

Māori health consultant, teacher and iwi negotiator, Pahia Turia has been a passionate advocate for the principles of Whānau Ora having spent two decades in iwi and Māori health.

Pahia’s very successful Māori development consultancy has spearheaded projects for organisations ranging from Alcohol Advisory Council of NZ to IHC and has become a leader in the Whānau Ora, Māori health and social service sectors.

An Iwi leader and vital contributor to Maori health, he sits on several boards, including the NZ Asthma Foundation. Pahia was appointed to the board on the recommendation of the Iwi Leader’s Forum.

Bernie O’Donnell

Te Atiawa, Ngāti Motunga | Director

Bernie O’Donnell is a business consultant and professional director. He is on a number of boards, including as chairman of Manukau Urban Māori Authority, Directorships on Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, National Urban Māori Authority, Auckland District Health board (ministerial appointment) Te Mātāwai, the Independent statutory entity charged with revitalisng te reo Māori, Te Whakaruruhau o Ngā Reo Irirangi Māori, the confederation of iwi radio stations, Māori Media Network (a national advertising agency for Māori media) UMA Broadcasting Limited and co-chair of Ngā Whare Waatea marae in South Auckland, and finally the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Waatea school based in Māngere.

Bernie has spent more than 25 years working in the Māori radio industry, first as programme director and station manager of Te Korimako o Taranaki, followed by a brief stint with the Māori Media Network.

A fluent speaker of te reo Māori, Bernie has an Masters of Business Administration (MBA, 2019) from Auckland University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Māori Development (2016) from the same university, Te Tōhu Mōhiotanga Levels 1 – 4 Māori Language Certificate (1993) and a Certificate In Media Studies (1994) from Taranaki Polytechnic.

Takutai Moana Natasha Kemp

Nga Rauru, me nga Iwi O Mokai Patea ko Ngati Tamakopiri, ko Ngati Whitikaupeka, ko Ngai te Ohuake, ko Ngati Hauiti ratou ko Ngati Paki me Ngati Hinemanu. | Director

Takutai is the CEO of Manurewa Marae, an Urban Marae in the heart of Manurewa. She is also one of five CEO’s who are part of the Kotahitanga Whanau Ora Collective and the Hip Hop International New Zealand Director from 2014 to the present.

Takutai has worked in the New Zealand health sector for the last 20 plus years. She is experienced in Maori Community and Youth Development and has also worked in Maori Health Funding and Planning roles.

Takutai’s contribution to the South Auckland community through Hip Hop Dance was established through Dziah Dance Academy from 2007 – 2015 as the Director, DDA supported and encourage young people to live their dreams through Hip Hop. Dziah Dance Academy are nationally and internally recognised throughout the Hip Hop Dance World as the first New Zealand Hip Hop Crew to represent NZ at the World Hip Hop Champs in the USA.

Takutai is also a Governance Board member for Street Dance NZ, and Hip Hop International South Pacific Islands

Other Governance /Committee representation:

  • Te Ora O Manukau:  Trustee
  • Kaitiaki Roopu Suicide Prevention Maori Provider Network – Counties Manukau DHB: Co Chair

Glenn Hawkins

Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Maniapoto | Director

Glenn Hawkins has a BMS(Hons) and MMS and has been a fully qualified Chartered Accountant for 24 years.

Glenn has held governance roles with a range of iwi organisations and is currently Chairman of Life Skills For Life Trust and a director of Māori Television.

His previous roles include management consultant at Ernst & Young and General Manager, of the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute (Te Puia). In 2005, he established GHA, a kaupapa Māori accounting and consulting practice, with offices in Rotorua and Tauranga. Glenn has extensive experience with Māori post-settlement governance entities (PSGEs), Māori incorporations, Māori land trusts, Māori health providers, and Māori commercial businesses. Glenn is passionate about Māori business development and has helped numerous Māori commercial organisations in industries as diverse as tourism, agribusiness, fisheries, property, geothermal, forestry, education, health and aquaculture.