Presenters will be updated regularly.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
MP for Hauraki-Waikato
Minister for Māori Development and Local Government
Associate Minister for the Environment, Housing (Māori Housing), and Trade and Export Growth 


As a mother, and a constituent MP with 20 plus years’ experience who has come from flax-root politics, Nanaia Mahuta remains connected to the aspirations of people from all walks of life. Those who work hard for a living so that their children can do better, kaumātua, tradespeople, those who aspire to own their home, those who own small businesses and those who lead a range of services and organisations and huge iwi entities. During her time in Parliament, Hon Nanaia Mahuta supported policies and initiatives that built the capacity of communities, especially social service organisations, greater investment in education, employment and training opportunities particularly for young people, supported the continuation of the Treaty Settlement process and supported specific initiatives that lift the wellbeing and opportunities for young mums and those who are vulnerable and victims of abuse.

Hon. Te Ururoa Flavell
Te Taiurungi [Chief Executive]
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

As Te Taiurungi of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Te Ururoa is the navigator who sets strategic priorities and ensures the waka is heading on the right course. He is responsible for leading 1,500 kaimahi across Aotearoa and supporting them to achieve their mission of tauira success. Before joining Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in 2018, Te Ururoa was the Member of Parliament for Waiariki for 12 years. During his time in Parliament he was Minister for Māori Development, Minister for Whānau Ora, and Associate Minister for Economic Development. Prior to becoming an MP, Te Ururoa had extensive leadership experience in the Māori education sector as the former chief executive of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and Te Ataarangi.

Paora Te Hurihanganui  
Chief Executive, Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa  

Paora is currently the Chief Executive of Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa an Iwi mandated trust working within the sport, health and social sectors based in Rotorua. He has been a successful kapa haka exponent and cultural ambassador travelling the world and performing in six Te Matatini finals, winning a national title in 1996 alongside Ngāti Rangiwewehi. Paora is the captain of the Te Arawa waka, he loves whakapapa, his whānau, the All Blacks when they are winning and spending time in the ngahere or on the moana. In 2015 Paora received a New Zealander of the Year Award for Innovation. 

Kirsty Buggins
Manager, Housing and Support Services – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development


Originally from the UK, Kirsty came to Aotearoa for the first time 15 years ago, spending three years here before settling permanently into Wellington six years ago. She is new to the government sector, having worked for the past 22 years in the community and NGO sectors. Starting out as a careers advisor working with young people who were experiencing multiple barriers to entering education, employment or training, she has since worked in the homelessness, elder care, youth, mental health, sexual health, sexual violence and disability spaces, both in direct service delivery roles and as a consultant. She gained an MBA in Management Consultancy, focusing on effective support for the NGO sector. Prior to moving into her current role (just 8 weeks ago), she was the Director of the Wellington Men’s Night Shelter. 

Manujon Pemerika
Waikato Regional Commissioner Advisor, Ministry of Social Development 


Manujon has ties to Ngāti Hine in the North and Tau'ese in Samoa. He has been with the Ministry of Social Development for over 12 years. Much of Manujon's work over the past three years, has been heavily focused on the changing dynamic within the Waikato that has been driven by the increasing need for emergency housing. Manujon has a background in Māori Health and a strong interest in Māori economic development.

Jim Nicolson
Manager, Healthy Ageing - Ministry of Health


Jim is of Clan MacNaecal with forbears from Quarff, Shetland but was born and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. He heads the Ministry’s policy and national improvement work in relation to the health and wellbeing of older people. From 2015 to 2017, Jim and his team led the development and implementation of a new strategy to guide health and social sectors in meeting the future health needs of older New Zealanders. The Healthy Ageing Strategy was launched in December 2016. In 2019, the Ministry worked with many in the sector to identify new priorities for improving the way in which health services and supports work for our older community members. Jim is keen for kōrerorero with kaumātua and service providers to help inform ways to improve access to, and outcomes from health services and supports for kaumatua and support them to age well.

Brendon McIntosh
Healthier Lives – He Oranga Hauora National Science Challenge

Brendon is a Māori pharmacist with a passion for taking health to the people. Brendon understands that the current health system is not designed for Māori and is constantly looking for ways to improve the health outcomes of our tangata whenua. When he is not the Kia Kaha Chemist at marae giving medicines education and performing medication reviews on kaumātua. Brendon enjoys being out in the taiao, our natural environment, whether it be trying to catch waves at Taylor’s Mistake, tramping with friends, or shredding the slopes of our local ski fields. Brendon is a member of the WellConnectedNZ™ research project which is funded (in part) by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Ministry of Health and Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, as part of the Long-Term Conditions Partnership.

Sophie Nock
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Māori & Indigenous Studies - University of Waikato


Sophie is of Ngāti Kurī descent from Te Hapua in the far north of the North Island. She is a te reo Māori teacher and also a researcher on NSC, Ageing well-Kaumatua Mana Motuhake in collaboration with Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust, and Kaumāatua Mana Motuhake PŌĪ positive ageing, and NSC, BBHTC- He Kāinga Pai Rawa, creating kaumātua community through housing.

Joanne Urlich

Health Promotion Manager, Te Hiku Hauora

Joanne (Ngāti Kahu, Ngaāi Tahu, Ngāti Tarara) is the Health Promotion (Te Roopu Whakahirahira) Manager for Te Hiku Hauora – the Far North’s most comprehensive health service provider. They offer healthcare from birth, through to old age, incorporating kaupapa Māori principles into everything they do. Her team leads health promotion services for stop cessation, breast and cervical screening support services, youth suicide prevention and nutrition and physical activity from birth through to kaumātua. Her passion and qualifications are in nutrition and public health and believes kai is what unites us as people. Korikori A Kaumaātua is a service designed for kaumātua to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and social engagement.

Helen Leahy
Pouarahi, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu

Formerly a Ministerial Advisor, Chief of Staff and National Secretary of the Māori Party, Helen also authored the Dame Tariana Turia biography, ‘Crossing the Floor’. It is not hard to see the influence Dame Tariana has had on Helen in her role as Pouārahi for the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu. Helen is determined to continue the legacy of enabling whānau to generate fresh-thinking on issues, such as cultural competency, self-determination, and whānau wellbeing. 

Mary Simpson
Senior Lecturer, Waikato Management School, University of Waikato. 

Mary has worked with Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust in both voluntary and research capacities since 2009. During which time, they've worked collaboratively on research projects about positive ageing (MORST funded); palliative care (HRC-MSD funded); He Kāinga Pai Rawa, creating kaumātua community through housing, funded by BBHTC National Science Challenge; and Kaumātua Mana Motuhake and KMM  Pōī, positive ageing, funded by AW National Science Challenge. 

Professor Robyn Phipps
Professor in Construction and Director of Research for the School of Built Environment, Massey University, Albany. 


Prof. Robyn Phipps has extensively researched the performance of homes and schools, including heating, ventilation and energy efficiency. She is dedicated to creating environments that promote wellbeing for the occupants and workers who make the buildings. She is Co-director of He Kainga Oranga Healthy Housing Research Group, which was presented the 2014 Prime Minister's Science Research Team Prize for research that has created robust evidence of how relatively small improvements in housing can lead to significantly improved health outcomes. She is a Director of the New Green Building Council and a Trustee of the Property Foundation.

Karleen Turner Puriri

Whanake Manager, Waikato-Tainui


Karleen, of Waikato descent, is the Whanake Manager for Waikato-Tainui. Her team leads the delivery of Waikato-Tainui key priorities in Housing, Business Development and initiatives that grow the economic prosperity for Waikato-Tainui members. 

Hurimoana Dennis
Chairperson, Te Puea Memorial Marae


Hurimoana (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungungu, Rongowhaakatai) is Chairperson of Te Puea Memorial Marae, and leader of a Māori marae-based emergency housing initiative that voluntarily cared for 181 homeless people in 2016. Hurimoana brings a wealth of experience to his leadership at the marae. He has worked in law enforcement for 30 years, specialising in reducing Maori participation in crime as victims and/or offenders. He is well-known nationally for leading the courageous initiative at Te Puea Marae, and his outspokenness on homeless issues in Auckland. Last year, Mr Dennis’ efforts at Te Puea Marae were recognised as a recipient of New Zealand’s premier community award, the Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year.

Catherine Hall
Chief Executive, Alzheimers New Zealand

Catherine has extensive experience in the health and justice sectors. Her career began as a registered nurse before taking on management positions with services for older people including at Wellington Hospital, Methodist Social Services and with the Central Regional Health Authority. After 20 years, Catherine moved to the Justice sector, where she held various senior management roles, before coming back to health and joining Alzheimers NZ in 2012. Under her leadership as Chief Executive, Catherine has directed her energy toward raising awareness and understanding of dementia, advocating for more and better services, and lifting the quality of information and services.

John G. Oetzel
Professor, Waikato Management School


John moved to Aotearoa from the U.S.A. eight years ago and since that time has worked with several Māori health organisations to collaboratively develop health interventions related to pre-diabetes (He Pikinga Waiora) and positive ageing (Kaumātua Mana Motuhake, KMM). These projects have been funded by the National Science Challenges. The KMM project is a long-standing collaboration with Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust. 

Warren Nicholls 
Business Manager – Ngāruahine Iwi Authority
Whānau Ora Practitioner – Ngaruahine Iwi Health Services


Warren (Ngāruahine, Ngāti Ruanui  me Taranaki Iwi) has had a 30 year career in health and practiced in a variety of nursing roles within DHB services and since 2006 has been focused working across iwi Māori services and has actively contributed to the transitioning of Māori Health in Taranaki to the Results Based Accountability and Pae Ora Outcomes Framework that evidences the contribution to outcomes across the life course of whanau. Kaumātua and Pahake has always been an area of passion and takes every opportunity to support activities and projects that assist in advancing, enhancing and benefiting their lives and wellbeing using research to provide an evidence based approach in the co-design and experienced modelling of services.

Dr Makarena Dudley
Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland

Makarena is a Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist who has worked clinically for 20 years with Māori who have experienced a neurological condition. Currently, Makarena is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland. She is also involved in a number of research projects investigating Māori and mate wareware. These include the development of a Māori theory of mate wareware, a dementia diagnostic tool for Māori, a phone app designed to deliver information about mate wareware to Māori, and a marae-based intervention aimed at slowing down the progress of mate wareware in the early stages of the disease.

Cr Merepeka Raukawa-Tait
Chair, Te Pou Matakana Board

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait (Te Arawa) rose to national prominence as the outspoken former CEO of Women’s Refuge. An elected member of both the Rotorua Lakes Council and the Lakes District Health Board she is a high-profile member of the Rotorua community. Merepeka holds an MBA in International Management and spent many years living and working in Switzerland prior to returning to New Zealand in the 80s. She has a wealth of experience in the fields of business, management & politics and is constantly in demand as a commentator and guest panellist, particularly around issues to do with Māori, health & welfare and social justice.

Dr Bev James
Director, Public Policy & Research

Bev James has been working as a social researcher and policy advisor for over 30 years. Key areas of research are housing needs and housing solutions for older people, age-friendly living environments and community development. Bev has a strong focus on delivering research that improves housing, community planning and services. She is involved in the development of information and solutions toolkits for older people and service providers that support older people.

Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie

Co-Director of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge & Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy at University of Otago

Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie (Ngāti Maniapoto me Te Arawa) examines how brain cell activity controls movement and applies that knowledge to improve treatments for people living with Parkinson’s disease. Louise has extended her research programme to investigate Māori community perspectives of neurosurgical approaches to treat brain disorders. Louise will provide an update on research funded by Ageing Well in the last year, which will enhance positive ageing for kaumātua.

Keriana Brooking
Deputy Director - General Health System Improvement & Innovation, Ministry of Health


Keriana has held several senior positions at the Ministry since 2014. When she first stepped into a senior role in health, it was as DHB Planning and Funding Manager at Tairawhiti DHB. When Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) first formed in 2002, she became CEO of Turanganui PHO. Subsequently six PHOs merged and Keriana went on to become Deputy CEO and General Manager Practice Services of the Midlands Health Network. Keriana has whakapapa links to Ngāti Pāhauwera me Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa and is widely recognised for her dedication and commitment to improving the health of New Zealanders, backed by a high level of experience in the context of change.

Rob Beckett
Chair, Hei Manaaki Nga Kaumātua

Born in Mangakino, Rob Beckett is the oldest of six brothers and three sisters. He was educated at Western Heights High School before joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Ten wonderful years serving at RNZAF Wigram, Woodbourne, Hobsonville and Shelly Bay as a Physical Fitness Instructor, Rob was seriously injured in a car accident that resulted in paraplegia and use of a wheelchair for mobility the past 38 years. His work career and hobbies span 50 years in the health and sport and recreation fields. Rob enjoys living life to the fullest, and stills feel young at heart – although he says the body tells him differently.

Andrea Elliot-Hohepa
Chief Executive, Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa


Andrea (LLB/Masters of Indigenous Studies) is chief executive of Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa. She was amongst the first law graduates from Waikato Law school and the first female master’s graduate for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. She also helped establish one of the first community research units (of its kind) at the time. For the past 12 years, she has been involved in projects that provide direct positive outcomes to Māori and indigenous groups through her private consultancy. Andrea is not afraid to try something new and explore possible opportunities. Therefore, it is no surprise the rūnanga is firmly focused on innovative opportunities related to housing.

Saara Tawha
Manager - Startup Ventures


Saara was born in a small town in The Netherlands along the river ‘De Lek’.  Arriving in Aotearoa in 1988 she has lived in and around the Waikato /Waipa districs ever since, married into a Tainui whanau, and together raising 4 strapping boys.  Saara has worked with many entrepreneurs looking to start their own business in the past, and has recently joined Ahikōmako as part of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, as the New Ventures Manager to work with Māori entrepreneurs and ignite Māori business success.  Saara will discuss the services available through Ahikōmako, and how they can help you as Kaumatua, and your wider whanau to take advantage of what’s available in the business start-up space.

Peter Cordtz
Interim Retirement Commissioner

I've stepped up from my role as CCFCs GM Community to that of Interim Retirement Commissioner until the new Commissioner, yet to be appointed, can begin work. The appointment is being managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. I'll ensure CFFC's many important workstreams continue, including the three-yearly Review of Retirement Income Policies being undertaken this year. We look forward to welcoming our new Retirement Commissioner in due course.