May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views


3 min read

A total of six community leaders in health and social services as well as whanau and community development have been appointed to the Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) Regional Leadership Group (RLG) for Whanau Ora.

Charles Joe, Tania Kingi and new Pacific representatives Gayle Lafaialii, Dr Ofa Dewes, Fia T. Tupou and Reverend Inoke Masima join current community members Peter Thomas and Dr Lorna Dyall on the Auckland RLG.

Whanau Ora is an inclusive whole-of-government approach in which families agree on solutions to meet their priorities, develop a whanau plan or pathway for the future, and receive assistance to achieve their goals.

Thirty-four collectives representing more than 180 health and social service providers from throughout the country are working to develop and deliver this collaborative way of working for and with whanau.

A total of 10 RLGs represent Whanau Ora at a local and regional level, leading strategic change to ensure whanau-centred initiatives contribute in positive and realistic ways to their communities.

They also have an important role in considering funding proposals to support whanau.

RLG membership includes between three and seven community representatives as well as one representative each from Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Social Development and District Health Boards.

The Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland) RLG now has eight community members:

Charles Joe (Waikato-Tainui, Taranaki) is a Pou Whakahaere (Associate Manager) overseeing the development of kaupapa Maori services at Aucklands Mason Clinic a forensic psychiatry mental health service with the Waitemata District Health Board. Charles has been involved in the Pukekohe Maori community for 40 years.

Tania Kingi (Ngati Awa, Ngai Tai, Te Arawa) has a long history of involvement in the social, health and disability sectors. As well as extensive management and governance experience, Tania has specialist strategic planning skills arising from her focus on integrating wellbeing services through community collaborations.

Gayle Lafaialii (MEd, BA) (Samoan, Scottish) is a member of the Ministry of Educations Auckland Pacific advisory group. Now working at Laidlaw College, Gayle was instrumental in the implementation of an integrated service delivery model, Whanau Tahi, for a Whanau Ora provider: Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust.

Dr Ofa Dewes (Rotuman, Tongan, Tuvaluan, Ngati Porou) born and raised in Fiji has a public administration and business management background. Currently a researcher at Auckland Universitys School of Population Health, Dr Dewes has worked extensively in the public, private and international sectors.

Fia T. Tupou (Samoan) has served on a number of boards including the South Auckland Family Violence Prevention Network, Sexual Abuse Foundation Education and the M?ngere Community Board. She specialises in counselling and supervisory roles and has been a student guidance counsellor at various learning institutions.

Reverend Inoke Masima (Tongan) has been a tireless worker for the Wesleyan Church of Tonga and community for more than two decades. A cultural consultant for the Pacific mentor at Project K, Reverend Masima has been a counsellor and facilitator with Relationships Aotearoa in Manukau since 2010.

Peter Thomas (Te Rarawa ki Hokianga, Ngapuhi ki Hokianga) works in local government leading Maori service development in the largest public library system in Australasia. Peter has a long history in the health sector and public health with skills in both strategic advice and policy development and analysis.

Dr Lorna Dyall (Ngati Maniapoto) received the Queens Service Medal for services to Maori health in 2009. A senior Maori health lecturer, Dr Dyall has been instrumental in instigating the development of Maori health services and has contributed to numerous research publications as well as medical and social policy journals.

For more information about Whanau Ora, email [email protected] or go to


For more information, contact Whanau Ora Communications Adviser Vanessa Bidois on mobile +64 27 845 6152 or email [email protected]

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