Ngā Ringa Raupā - Christine Panapa

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Christine Panapa of Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Maniapoto has been involved in a number of organisations over the years, from Māori Women's Rugby League, Māori Women Welfare League and the rebuild of Te Māhurehure Marae in Auckland.

But despite all sweat and hard work that went into Christine's achievements, she does it in a well-presented regal manner which is why we caught her at the Sylva Beauty Salon.  Christine Panapa is one of Te Kāea's Matariki Heroes.

Panapa says, “My Pākehā father was my dressmaker, so every week I had a different dress, I might have had the same pattern, but it was a different colour and my mum was all about fashion.

I've been a part of New Zealand Women’s Rugby League for a very long time, been a part of three marae as treasurer, as secretary and two back up north.

One on my mother-in-law's side in Mangakahia in Kaikohe, my husband's marae, the Panapa marae in Ahikiwi, in Dargaville, and of course, Te Māhurehure ki Tāmaki Makaurau.

My parents and aunts, they had this vision and the vision was to have our own marae, our own cultural centre.  Because my parents and aunties and uncles were very, very involved in the Māori community centres that was based on Fanshawe Street and myself as a little girl that's where we grew up, so the dream was to have our own Māori community centre.

Te Māhurehure for me is about, for me personally it's about my mum.  A beautiful women adopted me as a child, as a 10-month-old child and brought me up in an iwi that is just full of so many beautiful people.  It's just being a part of the kaupapa.

I just enjoy being able to help people.  I just enjoy seeing people that are sad, happy.  My job at the moment is I work for our Labour MP Peeni Henare and we have a lot of sad constituents out there. I just enjoy being able to kōrero to them, they came to me very, very sad."