Liliana Gil Valletta at the Impact Wahine Forum

By Public Affairs staff, U.S. Consulate, Auckland. This September the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand welcomed a very special guest – Liliana ‘Lili’ Gil Valletta.  A global business leader and entrepreneur, Lili emigrated from Colombia to the United States at age 17, and would later became one of the youngest executives at Johnson & Johnson, ...
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Pacific Women Leaders: highlighting Pacific women’s contributions to humanity

By Gail Brown, wife of US Ambassador Scott Brown New Zealand and Samoa, known for their natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and thriving societies, was top of my husband’s list to serve our country as United States Ambassador abroad. New Zealand is home to some of the largest Pacific people’s diasporas, and a gate-way to South ...
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Wahine Toa: Aimee Kaio

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. For the next Wahine Toa blog I traveled to the world’s southernmost marae which is at the bottom of the South Island in Bluff. I met Aimee Kaio, a dedicated social entrepreneur from Ngāi Tahu, Tuhourangi, Ngāti Whakaue and Ngā Puhi, whose ...
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Wahine Toa 20: Professor Jacinta Ruru

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Jacinta Ruru is New Zealand’s first Māori Professor of Law, co-director of Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga (New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence), and a two-time Fulbright award grantee. Jacinta’s utmost mission has been straightforward: to bring a strong Indigenous voice ...
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Wahine Toa: Nicol “Kelly” Takurua

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Wahine Toa Nicol ‘Kelly’ Takurua of Ngāti Porou descent, is a champion social worker in rural Southland.  And , as she tells it, her interest in organizing and helping others with their lives is something she’s done all her life. Kelly’s family ...
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Wahine Toa: Brittany Teei

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Brittany Teei is a former professional tennis player, social entrepreneur, founder of KidsCoin tech-company, and she’s only 27 years young. Blessed with a prodigious mind and heart, this tenacious Ngāi Tahu woman recently shared her incredible story at the Remuera Tennis Club ...
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Wahine Toa: Deidre Otene

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. The next Wahine Toa feature is Deidre Otene of Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi. Over the last decade she has been at the forefront supporting Māori youth and women in grassroots communities. At the heart of her work is her own community in ...
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Wahine Toa: Libby Hakaraia

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Libby Hakaraia is a trailblazing journalist, author and filmmaker, broadcasting New Zealand’s culture and cinematic stories to the world. A masterful auteur,  Libby pioneered New Zealand’s first international indigenous film festival – Māoriland Film Festival. I visited this gifted storyteller in her ...
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Wahine Toa: Ranei Wineera – Parai

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Ranei Wineera-Parai is a change agent whose formidable community development work touches and improves lives in her home town of  Porirua and its environs. Ranei has mana tangata whenua (indigenous rights) through her Ngāti Toa iwi.   I had the privilege ...
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Wahine Toa Leadership Conference

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. In October, the United States Embassy in New Zealand brought together 140 Maori women from across the country for the Wahine Toa (“Women of Strength”) Leadership Conference, the culmination of two years of interviews and engagement with emerging female leaders from the ...
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Wahine Toa: Rukumoana Schaafhausen

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Our next Wahine Toa feature is Rukumoana Schaafhausen from Ngāti Haua. Her ardent desire to help her community, her church, and her Māori people is central to her story as the longest standing trustee for Waikato Tainui Te Kauhaunganui Inc, ...
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Wahine Toa: Kerensa Johnston

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Kerensa Johnston is an accomplished lawyer who passionately advocates for Indigenous and human rights.  Her stellar career spans from the halls of academia to the court room and led to her recent appointment as first female CEO of Wakatū Incorporated. Wakatū is ...
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Wahine Toa: Kiri Nathan

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. This month I’d like to introduce Kiri Nathan, an elegant mother, fashion designer, Māori female leadership and youth advocate of Ngā Puhi and Tainui descent. She has developed an internationally-recognized brand – Kiri Nathan – a high-end fashion label with a Māori heart and ...
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Wahine Toa: Rachel Taulelei

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. The next Wahine Toa feature is Rachel Taulelei. Rachel’s Māori heritage and advocacy for young entrepreneurs, women in particular, are among her most passionate inspirations. Business savvy, and an innate gift for innovation have led to extraordinary success —first as an entrepreneur ...
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Wahine Toa: Olivia Hall

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. The Ngāti Rārua iwi in the upper South Island is known for its strong female leadership, beginning with the women that the iwi was named after Raruaioio and Raruatere.  Generations later their legacy holds true as they introduce a current female leader, Olivia ...
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Wahine Toa: Liana Poutu

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Wherever you may travel in the Taranaki region, you stand in awe of the stunning Mount Taranaki that unites the eight surrounding iwi through history and lore.  In Māori legend, Taranaki migrated from Taupo after losing a battle with Tongariro over the ...
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Wahine Toa: Ana Morrison

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Rotorua has been a thriving macrocosm of Māori tourism since 1877 when local hapū, Ngāti Whakaue of the Arawa iwi, gifted the downtown area to the Crown to develop for the people of Rotorua. Central to the township is Ohinemutu Māori village, ...
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WAHINE TOA: Jackie Colliar

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. On the riverbank where the Waipa and Waikato rivers meet in Ngaruawahia, I met our next Wahine Toa, Jackie Colliar.  She represents a rare but growing group in New Zealand –female Māori engineers.  As an Environmental Engineer at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) coupled with ...
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Wahine Toa: Gina Rangi

The latest Wahine Toa post by By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. This month I’d like to introduce Gina Rangi of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Raukawa iwi. Everything about Gina – her intellectual pursuit, ambition to create positive outcomes for Māori, and social life – is based on the premise that leadership is ...
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Wahine Toa: Dr. Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai

By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. As part of our now well established Wahine Toa series, I traveled to “King country”, home to the Waikato-Tainui iwi and a dear friend, King Tuheitia Paki. Pioneers of Kingitanga , (a collective spirit to unify Māori tribes under a Māori monarchy) the iwi holds an incredible ...
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Wahine Toa: Charisma Rangipunga

By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. I continued my Wahine Toa journey south to the city of Christchurch, which is the base of New Zealand’s wealthiest tribe, Ngāi Tahu. At their impressive new headquarters I met Charisma Rangipunga, who, like so many Māori women I have come across, is talented on many ...
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Wahine Toa: Lynell Huria

By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. Last month I embarked on a long-term program called Wahine Toa (Women Leaders) to meet with, learn about, and highlight to our blog readers some extraordinary women Maori leadership and their significant contributions throughout the country. In the first blog of the series, I met trailblazer ...
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Wahine Toa: Meeting Maori Women Leaders across Aotearoa

By Nancy Gilbert, wife of U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. My family and I arrived in New Zealand with a commitment to make the most of each day — to learn, explore, and connect with the full spectrum of New Zealand society in this beautiful, culturally rich country. From my husband’s credentialing ceremony, I have witnessed ...
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