Tena Kotou Katoa,
It is with great pleasure and an honour to introduce myself as chair of Tae Ora Tinana. Before I can go any further I have to pay tribute to the work that Lynda Kirkman has done for our roopu and her achievements as chair. Lynda has been a foundation member of Tae Ora Tinana and worked tirelessly to shine the spotlight on Māori within our profession. Lynda was pivotal in signing a treaty partnership between the National Executive of Physiotherapy New Zealand and Tae Ora Tinana and for that we will forever owe her gratitude. I would also like to thank my fellow Kaitiaki for their approval to take on this role; it certainly feels like a daunting prospect when you have past lecturers sitting around the table with you. However I have great comfort in knowing they will stand by my side and support me through this journey.
The path I have taken to get here is one that I have enjoyed thoroughly. In 2003 I left my humble upbringing in Hastings and moved to Auckland to start my Physiotherapy degree at AUT. After completing my degree I worked in West Auckland in private practice and also spent a year at Waiora PHO. Within that time I began my post graduate diploma in public health with an interest in Maori health but took a hiatus to live in London and travel around Europe. On my return in 2012, I decided to work in Whangārei, which has led me back to my whenua to work with the whanau of Ngāti Kahungunu. Currently I operate out of my own small practice, have taken up a role at Health Hawkes Bay PHO, am studying my Master's in Public health and am assisting my Marae in setting up a health and well-being clinic.
Being Māori means a lot to meIt gives me a sense of responsibility to take care of my whānau, that includes my immediate whānau, my hapu and Iwi but also the whānau within PNZ. Bringing to mind what is to be achieved as chair at this time is difficult. In general I feel as though we have a lot to do because Māori in New Zealand are continuing to experience inequities inbalance in our society, especially with health. In the past I have felt that I am incapable of changing this as a physiotherapist, but have learnt that our pragmatic nature and ability to think outside the box is essential to implement the change that is required. I believe a big challenge is convincing other physiotherapists that they too have this ability. It will be difficult but I look forward to it.