Written by Ngaroimata Reid
My congratulations to Leadership NZ for 10 years of leadership building and development and the positive impact this has had on individuals, whanau, hapu, iwi, businesses, organisations and communities.
I was really thrilled to be invited to participate in the 2007 Programme. I was a very different person back then, but I clearly remember the moment that I acknowledged that I was a leader when I listened to Sir Bob Harvey tell his story. Although our journeys have been very different there were common threads. I remember thinking that I was just as good as Bob was.
From that moment I think leadership took on a whole new meaning for me and I continued to develop my own leadership style throughout my Leadership NZ year. I became aware of the influence that I had and how I could use that influence within my whanau and community. I learnt new leadership skills – reflection being one, something which I routinely practise.
The past six years have been filled with some great lows and even greater highs. Taking care of my health and wellbeing was one of the first things I tackled as a new leader. I wrote about my efforts in a monthly column in a citywide health newsletter and through this, I was able to influence others to engage in fitness. This went on to be developing a partnership with the Unitec School of Sport, which supported my training to run in the 2012 New York Marathon. During this time I spoke at public events, sharing the stage with one of New Zealand’s top endurance runners. She spoke about her journey and I spoke about mine. Many people have told me how I have inspired them to reach their fitness goals.
I have received great satisfaction out of supporting friends, whanau, colleagues and organisations to develop and grow through my consultancy business. In 2011 my business success was acknowledged when I received the Dame Mira Szaszy Alumni Maori Leadership Award for Excellence in Maori Business from the University of Auckland – a great moment; my parents would have been proud.
This year has been no different, and I have been given another leadership opportunity and have become a member of the Australia New Zealand Academy of Management and the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indignas). In May I went to New York and participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the UN Indigenous Global Women’s Caucus, led a delegation from the International Indigenous Global Leadership School in talks with the UN Special Rapporteur and chaired a panel on education.
In 2007 I said I would start my PhD studies which I have commenced this year focused on Indigenous Women’s Leadership. I can see my international profile growing and work increasing but having said that I remain committed to my whanau, marae, my voluntary work with the Maori Women’s Welfare League, work with Maori Radio and marathon running.
Leadership NZ has been a game changer for me, it has absolutely led me to a life in leadership – and that’s okay with me.