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Mō MāTOU

About Us

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Ako Academy is a proudly wāhine māori owned and operated business that was established in 2021 to meet the growing demand of supporting individuals and organisations in building and growing their cultural capabilities. Since then, we have had the privilege of working alongside many organisations in various sectors.

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Natalia Wi

Kaiwhakahaere Matua / Director

Kaiako / Teacher

Ko Natalia Wi tōku ingoa. He uri tēnei nō Ngāti Pōrou, Te Aupouri, me Ngāti Kuri. 

My name is Natalia Wi. I am a descendant of the Ngāti Pōrou, Te Aupouri, and Ngāti Kuri iwi (tribes).

My professional background is in education and I have had experience working in kōhanga (pre-school), to secondary school, through to adult learners working in both mainstream and Kura Kaupapa Māori (total immersion). 

I’m extremely passionate about helping more people to learn about Te Ao Māori. I get really excited seeing the confidence of people grow as they learn and develop.

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Denise Coffey

Kaiako / Teacher

Ko Denise Coffey tōku ingoa. He uri tēnei nō te rohe o Taranaki.Ko Tāngahoe, Te Ati Awa, me Ngāruahine ngā iwi. Ki te taha o tōku pāpā, nō Airana ōku tūpuna.Ko Wainuiomata tōku haukāinga, te whenua taurikura kua rarau e tēnei kākano. 

My name is Denise Coffey and I am of proud Tāngahoe, Te Ati Awa, Ngāruahine and Irish decent. I was born and raised in beautiful Wainuiomata.  

I have recently completed a Bachelor of Arts with Massey University majoring in Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and minoring in Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga. As well as this, I am a qualified rongoā (Māori holistic health) practitioner.  I am very enthusiastic about embracing the diversity of all cultures and languages and the sharing and exchanging of ideas and cultural knowledge.

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Waimahana Aahuru

Kaiwhakahaere tari  / Office Manager
 

Mauri ora ki a koutou katoa! He uri ahau nō ngā hau e whā - Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kurī, Ngāti Kahungunu, Tūhoe, Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Toa, me Taranaki whānui. Ko Waimahana Aahuru tōku ingoa.

 

I have been fortunate enough to have been raised immersed in Te Reo Māori from birth. My role at Ako is to provide support to the kaiako (teachers) and in the operations of the business. I am very passionate about working for a Māori led organisation.

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Phoebe Sullivan

Kaiako / Teacher

Ko Phoebe Sullivan tōku ingoa. He uri ahau nō Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara, Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei, Tainui-Waikato hoki. 

 

My name is Phoebe Sullivan. I am a descendant of Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara, Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei, and Tainui-Waikato iwi (tribes). 

 

I am currently a tauira (student) at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington. I study Law, Māori Resource Management and Māori Studies. During my time at university, I have taken on various mentoring and tutoring roles teaching te reo, Māori history and studies, and various management papers too. 

 

I’m extremely passionate about te ao Māori and can’t wait to share my knowledge with you. 

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Tehani Buchanan

Kaiako / Teacher

Ko Tehani Buchanan tōku ingoa. Nō Ngāti Rupe Makea ki Aitutaki, nō Rarotonga, Mitiaro, Kōtirana ahau. Ko Tākitimu tōku waka e heke mai ki Aotearoa nei. Tokorua aku tamariki. Nō Ngāti Porou nō Koroaitia rāua i te taha o tā rāua pāpā. 

 

My name is Tehani and I am of Ngāti Rupe Makea of Aitutaki, Rarotongan, Mitiaro and Scottish descent. Tākitimu is my ancestral waka. I have two, young tamariki who are of Ngāti Porou and Croatian descent of their father's side. 

 

I have been teaching te reo Māori as Pou Mātauranga (Head of Faculty) in secondary schools for the last decade. I am passionate about implementing and educating about systemic change from a decolonial and Te Tiriti based lens. I have experience in leading Professional Development workshops, creating culturally responsive frameworks, policies and kaupapa Māori based learning programmes.

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Jasmine Jones

Kaiako / Teacher

Supervisor

Ko Jasmine Jones tōku ingoa. He uri ahau nō Tainui, Ngāruahinerangi, Ngāti
Ruanui, Tongareva, Ingarangi ngā iwi.


My name is Jasmine Jones and I whakapapa back to Tainui and Aotea waka,
England and to the beautiful shores of the Cook Islands. I currently reside under
the protection of Maunga Taranaki here in Pātea. It's beautiful to be
reconnecting back to my Whakapapa here and to also live on my whenua.
I am a passionate educator, community activator, writer, creative, professional
supervisor and mum. As a second language learner of the reo, I understand how
it feels to be disconnected to your culture; I also know how important it is to be
able to have access to it. I look forward to supporting people from all walks of
life to develop their understandings of te reo Māori me ona Tikanga.

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Kelly Te Paa

Kaiako / Teacher

Ki te taha o tōku Pāpā, he uri tēnei nō Ngāpuhi, Te Roroa me Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara.  Ki te taha o tōku Māmā, he Pākehā ahau.  Nō Kōtirana ōku tupuna.   

 

My name is Kelly Te Paa and I am from Ngāpuhi, Te Roroa and Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara with Scottish ancestry. I am currently a lecturer for the Faculty of Education at Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington. I teach te reo Māori across the undergraduate and postgraduate initial teacher education programmes. I am a second language learner and have had the privilege of being taught by many amazing kaiako across the country. I am passionate about education and how education can enhance our lived experiences and create connections between all of us as New Zealanders. 

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