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: 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: 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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Project16 – Creativity in Business

By U.S. Embassy Youth Council members James Coventry, Liana Kaiwai, and James Tawhiao. Lasting only a day, but packed with enough advice and inspiration for a whole week, Project16 was a crash course in making dreams reality, achieving success and doing the unthinkable. The conference kicked off with an address by U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert. It ...
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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: 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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