E Tū Whānau Awards

Recognising innovation and leadership

In June 2013, five years after they came together at Hopuhopu Marae to help kick start a movement for positive change in their communities, the E Tū Whānau Māori Reference Group decided to celebrate the many Māori success stories.

They created two types of awards. One recognises collective change. There were four recipients – Bream Bay Community Support Trust, Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngā Hapū o Otaki, Te Whakatōhea. The other, the Kahukura Award, honours those individuals who speak out on important issues and help create change in their own whānau and hapū, and across their wider community.

The following people received the first E Tū Whānau Action and Innovation Awards for Collective Change in 2013:

Tamati Kruger, Tūhoe

Tamati Kruger’s role as chair of the Second Ministerial Māori Taskforce on Whānau Violence in 2002 enabled him to make an important contribution to a new conceptual framework on tackling whānau violence. The Taskforce was responsible for developing the Mauri Ora Framework which underpins all work in the domestic violence arena. His drive and commitment to change stretch over 30 years. Tamati has advocated on behalf of Māori, been actively involved in iwi and hapū development and is a recognised commentator on social and political events.

Tamati’s recent success as chief negotiator for Tūhoe in its settlement with the Crown is perhaps his most public and politically important achievement to date. An important part of the settlement is that Tūhoe will take over the delivery of its social services, which will effectively give them mana motahake or self-rule.

Tamati’s summary of the Tūhoe settlement may well reflect the hopes of many iwi.

“They just wish to be as self-reliant as possible, where they don’t owe anyone anything. That’s what they call being rich here.”


Nancy Mihaka, Te Arawa

When Nancy Mihaka saw a need for a kaupapa Māori stopping violence programme to work with men in Ōtepoti / Dunedin in the late 1990s, she took the idea to local provider Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga. They joined forces to secure contracts with several government agencies and eventually became an approved provider of Te Puna Manawa, a kaupapa Māori programme to address domestic violence.

This success along with other work she has done to support whānau over the years has been because of the hours Nancy has worked to ensure success. Some were paid but most were unpaid.

Te Roopu counsellor/facilitator Dennis Maru says Nancy was instrumental in setting up this new journey for te roopu. “Whaea Nancy has been an active campaigner and very hard worker in our local Māori community addressing the issue of whānau violence.”

Dennis attributes Nancy’s foresight to the many significant positive changes that have taken place in whānau in Ōtepoti over the past 15 years.

“We are very much indebted to her commitment and overwhelming support to this most important kaupapa.”


Grace Dorset, Ngāti Whakaue

For more than 20 years Grace Dorset has been the driving force behind Te Akatea Iwi Tauawhi Trust, set up in 2007 to put an end to child abuse and family violence in the Ohinemutu where she lives.

At 77, Grace still works full-time for the Trust – unpaid. She does it because she sees the need for her services.

She believes the movement of young people from their tribal areas in search of work in the cities is the root of many of the problems Māori face.

She sees the disruption of traditional Māori society where children used to be taught by their grandparents, and aunts and uncles as responsible for many of the issues Māori are now forced to address. One of the programmes she runs involves kaumatua providing leadership on alternatives to violence.

Grace is a member of the Waikeria Prison Board and the Rotorua Prisoners’ Families Network Support Group and was a member of the Parole Board. She was also trustee of Rotorua Girls’ High School. In 2012 Grace was awarded an ONZM for services to Māori.


Rita Tupe, Ngāti Haka Patuheuheu

Rita Tupe lives in Waiohau which is nestled in a quiet valley in the Urewera. From dawn to dusk this kuia can be found working tirelessly for her beloved whānau and hapū, Ngāti Haka Patuheuheu from Tūhoe.

Rita can be seen most days busy around the busy rongoā and mirimiri clinc at Te Tapenakara mo te Iwi, looking to the needs of this whānau or that mokopuna, ensuring they are comfortable and well provided for, preparing a meal for a passer-by who has stopped for a “cuppa”.

She could equally be found caring for her moko while their parents are at work. Or she is behind the scenes in the kitchen working beside her people to see that the manuhiri are more than catered for and leave the wharekai well satisfied and full. Her dedication to the wellbeing of her whānau and the fulfilment of their aspirations is her life’s work.


Read about the winners in 2014 here