Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Vaiala Fa'atoia, Fai'a'ai, Sagone, Hamburg
Maruata Reweti fondly remembers her childhood in Auckland, steeped in faith,love and manaakitanga, and learning at Kohanga and Kura Kaupapa Māori. She credits these with providing the foundations of her strong sense of cultural identity and desire to serve her communities.
At the age of 11, she moved to Samoa, and learning about her Samoan grandmother who had migrated to New Zealand for a better future for the family, changed her perspective on life, as well as "the pleasures we take for granted in New Zealand".
Fluent in Te Reo Māori and English and with a basic command of Samoan, Maruata studied a Bachelor of Arts at AUT, majoring in Māori Development.
"Māori and Pacific success are important to me. This means different things to the people we work with. It could be providing food on the table, or buying their first car or house. Whatever the individuals themselves decide they want to achieve and realise, that is success to me."
Maruata has applied her learning as a teacher aide in Kohanga and primary schools and also worked at Counties Manukau District Health Board for five years in three different roles.
"While I had different roles, the focus of my mahi was engaging Māori and Pacific tauira in secondary and tertiary education. I was exploring with secondary school students the possibilities of working in the health sector as well as supporting tertiary students who had decided that they wanted to work in health."
At TupuToa she has built on this experience and leads the Navigators Team to ensure excellent delivery of the internship programme and an absolute focus on "supporting our rangatahi to succeed".
Family and culture are the two defining pillars of her life and being a mum to Maea and an aunty to her nephews and nieces is a highlight.
"Ensuring that my whanau are well, warm and healthy is important to me. My culture - knowing who I am and where I've come from, is a journey that will last a lifetime."
Maruata has found living in Ōrākei has enabled her to connect more with her whanau from Ngāti Whāatua o Ōrākei through various events and opportunities.
Outside of work she enjoys time with friends, food and netball.
"I love playing indoor and outdoor netball. I am part of the Kumeu indoor netball club, and I was a part of the University of Auckland netball club for 3 years."
When asked about her advice for interns, Maruata draws on a quote from David Goggins: "Life isn't always about doing the things we like to do. It's about doing things we have to do".
She says like her grandmother she feels a deep sense of responsibility to her community and to creating opportunities for them.
"We are all learners in this waka."