After working in many Crown agencies, Tracy Tangihaere of Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Maniapoto is moving to Te Tairāwhiti to take up the reins as the new chief executive at Eastern Institute of Technology in Tūranga Nui a Kiwa.
A formal welcome was held at Toihoukura this morning, attended by community leaders and members, EIT staff and a strong representation of Toihoukura students.
"The way to improve our lives through education, like many other places and EIT here is a place where people can receive a formal education but also they can achieve greatness in the learning of their own culture in the learning of their own Reo, of the learning of their own Tikanga here in Tūranga Nui in Ngāti Porou, and across our rohe", Tangihaere says.
Growing up in Taumarunui, and educated at Taumarunui High School, she was also taught by her elders.
"I'm influenced mainly by my grandmother and great aunts, who basically said 'only go when you get the call' and 'always be in the back,' and 'manaaki your whānau and manuhiri,' those are my lessons. "
Tangihaere has worked in numerous roles in the Department of Corrections, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Ministry of Justice and other Crown agencies.
"Most of my mahi has been around ensuring our whānau are engaged in decisions, making sure their voices are heard, and that those in the Crown agencies hear those, those authentic karanga, of mostly our pōharatanga, our ways that we need to improve our lives and the ways in which our communities need to support each other, awhi each other to make really lifechanging experiences for whānau."
For Tangihaere, being back fulltime in the territory means more time to support the development of her own whānau and hapū as well.
"To contribute to my hāhi, my hapū, my own iwi development, so I'm pretty much involved in whenua management, incorporations, whānau trusts and so outside of work and I'm pretty busy with my own mahi in terms supporting my own whānau."
Tangihaere has words of encouragement for young wāhine who aspire to succeed.
"Every one of us is a seed from our tūpuna from Rangiātea, so every one of us in our whakapapa has had great leaders, great role models. Claim those role models, claim your ancestry and wear it like a crown upon your head because it takes us into the future."