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Mō Mātou | Profiles

Kathie Irwin, MNZM, PHD, MinstD, Founder and CEO

Ko Hikurangi me Moumoukai ngā maunga,

Hikurangi and Moumoukai are my mountains

Ko Waiapu me Nuhaka ngā awa,

Waiapu and Nuhaka are my rivers

Ko Putaanga me Tāne-Nui-A-Rangi ngā marae,

Putaanga and Tane-Nui-A-Rangi are my marae

Nō ngā mōtu ō Orkney, Kōtirana me Airani hoki ōku whakapapa.

I also descend from the Orkney Islands, Scotland and Ireland

Ko Kathie Irwin ahau.

My name is Kathie Irwin

I am a third generation Māori educationist. Public service and social justice are deeply embedded in my bloodlines. My passion inspires me to contribute to nation building, in innovative and creative ways, that are framed by Sir Apirana Ngata's whakatauāki (proverb) "E tipu, e rea". Written for a young Māori woman in her autograph book in the 1940’s by Sir Apirana, this proverb speaks to the possibilities of Treaty based models of change – honouring the wordviews of both Treaty partners – to create authentic transformation.

E tipu, e rea (Sir Apirana Ngata)


E tipu e rea mō ngā rā o tō ao,
Ko tō ringa ki ngā rākau a te Pākehā,
Hei ora mō te tinana,
Ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a ō tīpuna Māori,
Hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga,
Ko tō wairua ki tō atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa.

Grow and branch forth for the days destined to you,
Your hands to the tools of the Pākehā,

for the welfare of your body
Your heart to the treasures of your ancestors

as adornments for your brow
Your spirit to God, who made all things.

As a Māori, feminist, academic I specialized in Māori education, research and development, for nearly thirty years. I have worked as an academic at Massey and Victoria Universities, Christchurch College of Education, the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust, and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.

My second career has been in senior management and governance, across the NGO, Iwi and public sectors. I have worked at Te Puni Kōkiri, the Families Commission, Barnardos NZ, the Accident Compensation Corporation, the Office of the Children’s Commission and Te Ara Ahunga Ora Retirement Commission.

I have served in governance roles as Ministerial Nominations from the 1980’s, until recently, when I served as the Minister of Education’s nomination on Te Mana Whakahaere (Council) of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (2013 – 2017).

Kathie Irwin 5 year vision
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