Clear trust vi­sion

He tiro­hanga ma¯ rama no¯ te Poari

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PURONGORONGO - By PET­RICE TAR­RANT

Koro Wi­keepa’s pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion started when his fa­ther bought him his first read­ing book 50 years ago.

The newly ap­pointed Raukawa Char­i­ta­ble Trust gen­eral man­ager has been in­spir­ing oth­ers, es­pe­cially Maori, to learn ever since.

He said his goal for the next year is to look at the ser­vice de­liv­ery in the South Waikato, from health and so­cial ser­vices to en­vi­ron­men­tal and cul­tural ser­vices.

‘‘ I want to make sure we’re fit for pur­pose.’’

Wi­keepa brings a wealth of knowl­edge to the po­si­tion hav­ing spent the last seven years with Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi and prior to that four years as chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer of Win­tec.

And through all his worldly ex­pe­ri­ences, his still draws on his child­hood for in­spi­ra­tion.

‘‘One of the most sig­nif­i­cant ways we can im­prove Maori out­comes is by im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion out­comes,’’ he said.

It is a ‘‘tried and true’’ method for the 55-year-old who re­calls be­ing one of very few Maori stu­dents study­ing for a bach­e­lor of com­merce.

‘‘I think of role mod­els in my life and to me, my fa­ther was an im­por­tant role model in that he en­cour­aged me to pur­sue ed­u­ca­tion.’’

He said his fa­ther, a labourer, wanted to ‘‘ broaden’’ Wi­keepa’s hori­zons.

Wi­keepa was the first per­son to get a de­gree in his wider whanau but cer­tainly not the last.

Amongst his own eight chil­dren are en­gi­neers, in­te­rior de­sign­ers, farm­ers and emerg­ing doc­tors.

He said his goal is to pro­vide the Ran­gataahi with re­sources and sup­port.

He said change in our com­mu­nity will only come through ef­fec­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion with other or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The key will be fo­cus­ing on ‘‘do­ing each what we do best’’, he said.

Wi­keepa said he is not ex­pect­ing to see change overnight.

‘‘ Just to em­bed op­por­tu­ni­ties can take two to three years, then to see them grow and flour­ish takes longer.’’

Guid­ing light: Koro Wi­keepa says the key to im­prov­ing out­comes for Maori is ed­u­ca­tion.

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