A Woman to Watch!

Winner of the Margery Toulson Award 2011

A woman to watch !

Our winner this year is Te Aroha Hohaia from BPW Hawera. She has been an Executive Officer of the club holding various positions since October 2006.

Te Aroha is a freelance policy analyst and project manager and she is also on a five year journey doing doctoral study in public policy through the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington. Drawing on her professional interest and experience in local governance and community development, Te Aroha is a councillor on the South Taranaki District Council, a trustee on Parininihi ki Waitōtara Trust and a member of the COGS South Taranaki Local Distribution Committee.

When she can, Te Aroha  is out and about tramping or on a play date with the mokopuna.  Te Aroha is of Taranaki, Te Atiawa , and Ngā Rahine descent.She and her husband, Greg van Paassen, live in Hāwera.

The Margery Toulson Scholarship was established at the BPWNZ Conference in 2009 to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women and to homour our founding [president, Margery Toulson.  The scholarship of $1500 is awarded to a BPW member to undertake education and training relating to senior leadership and governance. In her application Te Aroha said –

“I’m not just interested – I’m in it, and have been for the last ten years. My interest is

specifically local governance because that’s where the decisions that affect people on a day-to-day basis are made. Communities want to be involved in local decisions and not just told about them. Instead of policies and programmes where they are ‘done-to’, communities do better in the long-term when initiatives are those where they ‘work-with’ others. For communities to be vibrant and resilient, it will require people in local governance roles – that is, community and civic leaders as well as senior managers – who pay attention to what’s going on, take time to listen to people, and then help make things happen. That’s where the decisions are made – and I want to be a part of that.”

I am sure we will be hearing and seeing a lot of Te Aroha in the future.

Faye Gardiner, Past President BPW NZ.

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