We’re pleased to welcome our newly appointed Whanau Ora Transition Manager, Jen Rutene-Smith, who takes up her position on 4th February 2019.

Jen introduces herself and talks about her new role below;

Jennifer Rutene-Smith ( Dip.Tchg, NZTTC, BA (Auck University), MA (1st class Hons Auck)

Te Ngahengahe, Ngai Tuteauru, Ngati Kahu.

Firstly, I am honoured to be chosen by Ngati Hine Health Trust to lead this important transformation work.

My whakapapa anchors me in the Hokianga where I was raised and where I currently live on our whānau whenua with my many goats, 2 cows, 2 dogs and 2 cats – oh, and my husband.

I don’t have a story of a special journey of any kind.  I am the baby of a large whāngai whānau of siblings made up biologically of aunties, uncles, cousins, a brother and even yes…our biological Mother – bless us!  It was often difficult explaining the dynamic to others but we grew up with no doubt who we actually belonged to.  My Dad was Australian and was often attributed as being the source of all my rerekētanga and `know it all tanga’.  My Great Grandmother who lived with us until she passed would run around her whānau picking up any mokopuna that she believed – needed the wider whānau support – she was our CYPFS!  She would then bring them all back to my grand aunt- her daughter and was also to become my darling Mum, my rock, my anchor and my compass – these 2 women taught me everything I know and are still very much spiritually with me.

We were raised like most Māori whānau, lots of people in the whare, big kai gardens to work on, Te Reo Māori as our 1st language, tikanga Māori as our foundation and was actually almost second in line to our taha whakapono – the 2 went seamlessly hand in hand and I have vivid memories of our Great Grandmother (a staunch Christian), chasing us with a manuka branch and growling us using quotes from the bible in Te Reo – the 10 commandments she could align to any context – hilarious!

These are the things that have shaped me, my journey and the reason that I am here with Ngati Hine Health Trust today.  I was fortunate to have been raised by honest, humble, wise and caring leaders and my hope is that I can bring all that I have learnt, experienced and continue to learn to this important transition role.

Since leaving University my career path has always kept me in roles related to Te Reo, Whānau, Education and Tikanga – so I have held many roles, many Senior levels of responsibility, but with a very narrow and purposeful focus.  So though I am new to the Health and Social Service Sector, I am not surprised to be where I am at Ngati Hine.

The Transition Manager role is challenging and ambitious.  The NHHT Strategic Plan 2018-2030 sets out a clear blueprint for a direction that will ultimately position NHHT, not for what Government wants but for what Whānau need in order to lead their own wellbeing journeys.

We seek to reconfigure our service design and delivery to align with thinking and practice that places whānau at the centre of everything we do, that encourages whānau leadership and that – in a systemic context and in the long-term is driving to ‘One Whanau, One Plan, One Place’