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Up the Wāh’s

Up the Wāh’s

Not those Wah’s, but the trio of wāhine toa that graced the panel of the most recent He Toronga Pakihi ki Taranaki networking event hosted at Ngāmotu House last night to celebrate Puanga. 

On the night of June 20, almost the shortest day of the year, an enthusiastic crowd of wāhine ma, and the odd tāne, gathered to hear from a diverse panel offering their different perspectives on mana wāhine leadership and what that means to them.

Joining Tui Ora’s Pou Tū Kūrae Alana Ruakere on the panel were Sandra Julian, a business coach, mentor, and founder of Auaha – a multimillion-dollar event management business, and Kiri Erb, māmā to seven tamariki, and owner/operator of Tika restaurant in Hawera. Adding some sparkle to the event was the ‘hostess with the mostest’ Puna Wano-Bryant who facilitated the discussion in true Punz style, inviting each panelist to take the stage by dancing down the aisle to their own handpicked anthem.

Over the course of the next two hours, guests were treated to some heartfelt, often personal, and sometimes vulnerable insights into our panelists’ journeys to leadership. The main takeaway was that there is no one-size-fits-all model for what good leadership looks like and that it’s ok to make mistakes – as long as you learn from them. Sandra shared a favourite saying: “The tide rises all boats, so be the high tide,” while Alana said something she only learnt later in life which was that “love shouldn’t hurt.”

There were many Tui Ora kaimahi on the scene to awhi the panelists and get some inspiration (name and fame: Stacy Lewis, Laura Harris, Sarah Wano, Ngapera Hohaia-Aiton, and Leanne Matuku), and Te Waipounamu and her kitchen crew who rustled up the most delicious kai including some top-notch meringues, ceviche, and sushi.

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