With a technical background in Science and Law Ana’s career began down the corporate law pathway through Russell McVeagh and then overseas before she returned to Rotorua and moved into management positions in kaupapa Māori community health and social services, and then into the education sector at Toi Ohomai. She says, “Reflecting on my new role, I realise that the Treaty work I did as a junior solicitor alongside the late Martin Dawson was actually the start of my journey to Te Pūkenga. He was one of the great legal advocates of his time and a very generous mentor. He was involved in the SOE lands case that set the foundation for the development of Treaty of Waitangi practice and and a catalyst for acceptance that the Crown had an active responsibiltiy to protect ahuatanga Māori. Now I am charged with actioning the new expanded Te Tiriti legislative mandate for Te Pūkenga. I hope to do Martin proud.”
Ana is the wife of a kura kaupapa Māori teacher and a mother of two basketball-obsessed boys who are at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Koutu. As with many ahi kaa, she is a servant of her people – Ngāti Whakaue, through governance and community roles. “I strive to be a positive example to my sons of how to meaningfully contribute to their iwi, whānau and Te Ao Māori. I want them to live with purpose, add value to those kaupapa that they care about and, at its simplest, to be good humans. I’m passionate about mana motuhake and the wellbeing of people and environment,” says Ana.
“I came to Te Pūkenga for the opportunity to affect real systems change that has Te Tiriti o Waitangi at the heart of it, and equity for Māori as a key outcome. This is not going to be an exercise where we ‘tweak around the edges’, rather it is a large scale and whole system re-design. I am a creator and change agent at heart, and the journey that Te Pūkenga is taking speaks to my natural style of work. And, that’s just code for saying, I’m not very good at structure and bureacracy. The biggest challenge we face in the transformation is our mindsets. Our enacting legislation is progressive – we must honour and give effect to Te Tiriti in all we do. This means the new future of vocational education is Tiriti-centred, and that requires a mindset shift and action by all.”
“During our day-one pōhiri, I recall one of the kaikaranga making reference to Te Pā Harakeke – which I think is an apt analogy for the impact and transformation that Te Pūkenga is striving to make – a flourishing interconnected network that delivers intergenerational prosperity.
“We will be developing a new Tiriti jurisprudence and standard of Tiriti practice for Aotearoa NZ – and I am excited and invigorated by that challenge. I look forward to leading this discussion and engaging Te Tiriti thought leaders, Māori economy and community leaders, and iwi, hapū and whānau in this.”
When asked what Ana is working on first, she says, “Some of the workstreams under my stewardship were already underway when I arrived, so delivering on those to timeframe is key – this includes Te Pae Tawhiti Tiriti Excellence Framework engagement with subsidiaries and transitional ITOs. The most important focus for me in the next while is to connect with and build partnering relationships with my DCE colleagues, Tiriti partners, and the wider network.
“On day one we had our first engagement with our operating model design partner (EY and EY Tahi), where we set the foundation of our relationship through tikanga Māori – that was an important first step. The second day was a Council meeting where I had a Paper to present, and we had an in-depth discussion on Equity. The next three days it was #GSD - Getting Stuff Done. The pace of work is fast, which I thrive on.”