What makes me beat?

Im a coastie kid, who has a Pākehā māmā with hippie tendencies and an extremely hard working pāpā with coastie tendencies. I have two brothers, who I brought up as the older sister. I grew up around my both my sets of grandparents – they taught me where I came from and planted seeds. I have an awesome whānau whom I care deeply about. I have a loving partner and best mate and three stunning tamariki. I also love animals and insects big or small.

I can be funny, serious, rude, extroverted, introverted, thoughtful and absent minded and all the in between. I dont like to be boxed up but I like order and cleanliness.

In my working life I am committed to seeking, exposing, and highlighting the practised and lived realities of individuals, whānau, community, hāpū and iwi. I do this through my mahi as a kaupapa Māori researcher, evaluator and strategist.

The work I do must be ethical, action-oriented, restorative, transformative, decolonising, and participatory.

My deeply held values

Aroha – encompasses the breath of life and the creative force of wairua, acknowledging that the universe is abundant. It sees and draws out the best in people, rejects greed, aggression and ignorance and encourages generosity.

Mana – a powerful inner essence, knowing that your tīpuna have your back no matter

what, to know who you are and where you come from, living the change you

want to see and the courage to do and learn new things.

Mana wāhine – the power to create and take life. Powerful knowing that you can endure birth you can endure anything. The intrinsic grounding and connection to the environment, the earth and the universe.

Manaaki – honouring guests, hosting, being of service, giving from the heart

without expectation.

Whakarongo – embodied listening, listening for understanding not to just respond, being present in the moment.

Whanaungatanga – foundations of relationships, responsive, reciprocal and meaningful relationships – met with curiosity.

Whakapapa – the code to life, the interwoven universe, our bloodline. Life experience beyond this lifetime and the next.

Utu – actions and behaviours that lead to balance and harmony. Karmic rules of the universe, cause and effect of our actions and deeds.

People who inspire me & guide me

My partner and tamariki, grandparents, friends, cousins, parents, Mrs Harrison – Primary school teacher, hardworking people, people who know about the land, animals, plants, trees etc – farmers, shearers, builders, hunters, fencers and kai gatherers.

When am I most myself?

When I’m alone and in silence – being present in the moment trying not to think just be.
When I’m with my tamariki, hugging, kissing, dancing, singing and telling stories.
When its late at night and my partner and I are in wānanga.
When I’m laughing with my brothers, cousins and friends till I cry and hurt my puku.
When underwater, on water, by water, in the bush, watching and feeding animals.
When im being generous in time, gifts and creativity.

What guides your decisions?

When I make decisions, they are based on my values. All my kaupapa have a common cause, Indigenise, decolonise, emancipate, freedom, love for life and the environment. Everything I do has higher purpose and because of that if it doesn’t work out, or I come up against barriers I give it over to that higher purpose.

Who is in your support team?

Tīpuna, manu, pūngāwere, partner, tamariki, whānau, friends and work mates.

Is your life integrated?

I feel like my life has streamlined a lot this year. I have had time to centre, make sense of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I also have integrated a daily practice that I enjoy and keeps me centred.


Published by Tākuta Teah

Indigenous woman, partner, māmā, sister, daughter, aunty, artist, story catcher/teller, researcher, evaluator and academic. I draw on these identities to express, connect and articulate kotahitanga, mana motuhake and aroha.

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