Presenter - Waingakau: Building an intentional community in Flaxmere
Thursday 25 Feb, 1135-1210
George Reedy is the chief executive of Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, a charitable trust that provides a wide range of health, social and education services to over 10,000 whanau. The Profit put a series of questions to George.
What’s your background?
I grew up in Tikitiki, up the East Coast, surrounded by uncles, aunts and grandparents. That gave me a solid start in life. I was secure in the knowledge of who I was, and who was there for me.
Who has been the most inspirational person in your life?
One of my earliest memories is of my mother piggybacking me across a floodgate spanning a flooded stream. It was quite a dangerous exercise really, but my mother was determined to get me across because, on the other side, the school bus was waiting for me. That was the value she put on education.
My parents, Te Moana and Apikara Rangi, worked hard. To them, education was the ultimate goal, the gateway to everything they didn’t have. That’s why I never got a day off school just because the stream was flooded. It’s an ethos that has always stayed with me. It’s why I’ve spent the past 20 years working in Māori development.
What career path have you followed?
After school, I spent a bit of time fencing, then went into the forestry service before getting a cadetship with Māori Affairs. They introduced me to accountancy and I realised I was really good with numbers. I went on to do a degree in accountancy and become a Chartered Accountant. That was my pathway into senior management.
Since then I’ve had many roles in a range of sectors, including Government and Māori economic and development initiatives. My focus is on growing sustainable businesses using information technology combined with a strong emphasis on quality of service and product.
What is a stand-out feature of your role?
TToH is values-based. That’s a lot more than a mission statement on the wall. We really do underpin everything with cultural values. They shape our world view, our business operations, and the way we function on a daily basis. As Chief Executive, it’s an important part of my role to maintain that. For example, our staff are 80 percent Māori, and one of our key goals is to promote the development of a skilled Māori workforce.
Out in the community, we’re engaged with 10,000 whānau. About 75 percent of them are younger than 25, and many are living in challenging circumstances, focused on day-to-day survival. That’s their reality.
TToH’s reality is the need to connect with whānau, and support them into a space where they can start to take control of their own lives and move forward.
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga