Michael Naera (Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahungunu)
Māori Mental Health Leaders and Acting Programme Lead, Nōku Te Ao, Health Promotions Agency
Michael has worked across many fields within a professional context – health, social services, education, and justice. He has also worked in a variety of environments – non-government agencies, Indigenous spaces, not-for-profit service providers and marae. However, he is most clearly a leader in the work that he has completed, is currently completing and no doubt will continue to complete with his whānau, hapū, iwi and the wider community.
He is an elected member of his iwi, Ngāti Tūteniu, charged with the responsibility of managing post-settlement assets, cultural redress associated with loss of land, language, protocols and customs and at times managing the distribution of financial support directly to whānau, hapū and iwi. This is a task that is given to those who are able and confident in their understanding of their own connectedness to concepts such as their whakapapa, whenua, te reo and more.
As an emerging leader, Michael is supported in this role by his kaumātua and his whānau. Support such as this is given to Michael because of his ability and willingness to serve his people selflessly.
In his whānau and community role, Michael is invited to speak on behalf of Te Arawa, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Tūteniu and his whānau. This role comes with responsibilities that an emerging leader operates from. Such as; humility, confidence, resilience, and selflessness towards people. He is continually guided by tikanga – doing the right thing even when the majority is against doing the right thing, Michael’s leadership to maintain the focus and course to achieve the right thing, remains. He tino rangatira tēnei – not only does Michael have the skills, attributes of being an emerging leader, but he also has the mana to be a great leader.
Michael’s video message to celebrate the past 20 years