Whānau Reference Group
The Families Commission Act (2003) asks us to take account of the needs, values and beliefs of Māori as tangata whenua in our work.
To facilitate this, our Whānau Reference Group helps us identify issues and priorities for Māori so we can work with whānau to enable them to achieve wellbeing.
Awhimai is of Waikato-Tainui descent with strong whakapapa links to Ngaati Maahanga, and is the Kaiwhakahaere (GM) of Te Ropu Wahine Maori Toko i te Ora (the Maori Women’s Welfare League). The wellbeing of whānau is at the heart of everything the League does since its inception in 1951.
Awhimai has held senior management roles in IT, Treaty settlements, education and health in the public and private sectors, with a focus on Māori development. She has an MBA from the University of Waikato. Awhimai also served for many years as the secretary and communications officer for Waikato Ki Roto o Poneke, a taurahere roopu for Tainui descents living in the Wellington region.
Graham Bidois Cameron
Graham is a descendant of Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Rangiwewehi and Ngāti Hinerangi, and, along with his family, is involved in his marae, kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori.
Graham has a background working with whānau struggling with poverty and oppression. He speaks to groups and organisations about community and whānau development and the imperative for generosity in family and community relationships, and biculturalism and engaging Māori communities.
He studied Māori Studies and Sociology, has recently completed a PGDip in Theology and is currently studying towards a MTheol through Otago University.
Dr Te Kani Kingi
Te Kani is of Ngati Pukeko, Ngati Awa, and Ngai Tai descent. He is an Associate Professor and Director Maori at Massey University in Wellington and has a specialist interest in mental health research, psychometrics and Maori health.
He has been an executive member of various organisations, including the New Zealand Public Health Association and National Ethics Advisory Committee, the National Health Committee, and is a past Chair of the New Zealand Mental Health Commission.
Te Kani attended St Stephen’s School (Bombay, Sth Auckland) Waikato and Massey University.
Dr Tahu Kukutai
Tahu is a descendent of Waikato-Maniapoto and Te Aupōuri, and is Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis at The University of Waikato.
Tahu specialises in Māori and indigenous population research and has worked on a wide range of demographic projects for hapū, iwi and Māori communities. She leads a major project looking at how governments around the world count and classify their populations by ethnicity, and is part of an international research team investigating the impacts of colonisation on indigenous population health in Sweden, Australia and New Zealand.
Tahu has served on numerous boards and committees representing Māori and academic interests, and is Vice President of the Population Association of New Zealand Council. She has degrees in history and demography and a PhD in sociology from Stanford University.
Pareaute is descended from Waikato-Maniapoto, Rongowhakaata, Ngati Porou, Ngati Whatua and Ngapuhi.
She is a passionate advocate of iwi and social development, and has significant experience working with iwi including iwi settlement, post-settlement governance entities and tribal/social development models.
Pareaute has 20 years’ experience in the public sector covering a broad spectrum of organisations. These experiences have given her strong insight into the mechanics of support, policy and directives available to whānau.
Ko te Atua tooku piringa ka puta ka ora, Paimarire.