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We love a good story! These are stories from the Shifterhood.

Young women making a difference and inspiring others. 

Meet Kata, Wairarapa Shift Coordinator & read about her experience at iWāhine Leadership Hui
Kata and Founder.jpg

'Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain'

Awhimai Reynolds (founder of iWahine) and Kata Ngatai



Three words to describe this hui, held at Te Papa Tongarewa on the 14th & 15th November 2019! I am an admirer of our wahine toa out there leading the way in corporate, private and public sectors with a Māori perspective on life. Over the two days, I listened and learned about the struggles of what it takes to be a wahine Māori leader. All leaders had very similar experiences - racism being one, having to live in a colonized environment and also experiencing sexism. The learnings from these leaders were next level! Knowing your WHY, self care, listening, learning to say no, checking yourself, changing your approach and surrounding yourself with an awesome support system were some topics that were on the agenda. 


“Leadership is resilience. All learnings from these wahine have definitely grown on me and inspired me to become a better leader.”

Another key concept that stood out were 'The 4 C's - Confidence, Clarity, Courage and Commitment'

  • Confidence: About the kaupapa that you are leading

  • Clarity: Re-evaluating your kaupapa for you to have a clear vision on where you are heading.

  • Courage: Having the courage to back your kaupapa 100%.

  • Commitment: Committing to your kaupapa.  If the kaupapa is right, things will be right. Knowing what you are there for, referring back to what your main purpose is for this kaupapa.

The main speakers I felt really connected to were Professor Rawinia Higgins (Ngāi Tūhoe). She is the Māori Language Commissioner at Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) of Victoria University of Wellington. I also really enjoyed hearing from was Kaapua Smith, who is Head of Sustainability at Contact Energy and Vice President of Māori Party.  Rawinia was so calm and collected, yet staunch and bold in her mahi. Kaapua’s perspective was from a young person’s point of view, being a leader in her organisation. Both their presentations really resonated with me, though all the speakers were amazing and I connected with them in one way or another.

“Learn to Listen. Listen to Learn” - Professor Rawinia Higgins


I was a little bit nervous and uncomfortable not knowing anyone, but the registration process and opening address were so welcoming it was like everyone knew everyone prior to this hui. Renee Graham, CEO, Ministry for Women was the first presenter giving her insights into the public sector and the challenges she faced being Māori vs being a Māori leader. Learnings from this presentation for me were that Leadership differs -  being honest and open to the people you are leading is important. Also knowing your WHY! Following this was MORNING TEA!! and of course, the food was delish! What is a hui without food? These breaks were great as it gave me the opportunity to connect with other attendees and tell them a little about The Shift Foundation and the Shiftie way we do things. People were in awe of our kaupapa (cause) and I had heaps of feedback and also absorbed some great ideas to possibly incorporate into our Shift Wairarapa Nga Pou Wahine programme. Tina Porou, Environmental Planner, Poipoia Ltd. was another amazing and powerful presenter. Her kaupapa was about the politics of Māori identity. Hers was such a powerful presentation I forgot to write down any notes and just watched and listened to all the korero she had for us.

Day Two: On a high from all the energy of day one, I was more than excited to see what day two had in store for us. I was way more comfortable and managed to get to know almost all the attendees. This second day of hui had another powerful line up of presenters and I really enjoyed listening to Parekawhia McLean, Director of Counties Manukau Health/Chair Waikato Iwi and Dr. Chelsea Grootveld, Director of Aiko Consultants. Some leadership reflections from the kaikōrero wāhine toa for me were:

  • Taihoa and reflect - Parekawhia McLean

  • Me-wā - Rawinia Higgins

  • Create a plan - Chelsea Grootveld 

  • Poipoia te kākano, kia puawai (Nourish the seed so it can blossom) - Kaapua Smith

I am really grateful to Wellington Community Trust who provided The Shift Foundation this professional development funding through their LIFT grant. This has been an amazing, awesome, informative and upskilling opportunity for me.

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi

(With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive)

Ngā mihi manahau ki a tatou, 

Naku iti nei, Kata xx 

prof higgins.jpg
Kata and contact energy.jpg

Kaapua Smith and Kata

Professor Rawinia Higgins

Meet Emma, co-organiser of 3-day LeadHERship Discovery at Newlands College.

“Helping people find themselves and accept themselves for who they
are was our idea for the
3-day Discovery”


My first experience with Shift was a little nerve-wracking, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was in Year 9 at Newlands College and most of the other leadership courses were only for the seniors. I am really driven by broadening my horizons and having a sense of adventure though, so I decided to put myself forward - and it was so much fun.


I know I want to help others when I am older, so learning about my values and how you can be the very best version of yourself is really important to me. I knew I had values, but maybe at the time, I didn’t really know how to use them. They just kind of sat at the back of my mind.


“With Shift, I’ve learnt that some of my values include friendship, honesty, adventure, mindfulness, self-awareness and self-love”


I found out just how much they actually mean to me, and it made me want to put myself forward for more leadership opportunities at school. It’s so important to me that I challenge myself. We only live once, so I care about making the most of that, setting an example and showing others that you can do so much more than you think you can.


“Helping people find themselves and accept themselves for who they are was our idea for the
3-day Discovery”


I wanted to keep on developing my leadership skills and so I worked with Tahi, from Shift Wellington, who helped me and my friends design another 3-day LeadHERship programme that we could deliver for our year 9 and 10 students. We would meet up once a week and brainstorm ideas about how we could spread leadership. I am so interested in how the mind works, and this inspires me to help other women around me.


I wasn’t sure how many students would turn up. Maybe 30 or so. But we reached 45 girls all up - it was awesome! Over the three days, we decided together what we wanted to talk about. We then got into groups and spent the next three-days working on the activities we chose. Accepting yourself for exactly who you are was really important to everyone - and so personal discovery became our theme for the next three days.


This is my second time at Shift LeadHERship. Helping organise and design our own event last year allowed me to experience so much more. We had the opportunity to decide what information and advice we wanted to give to girls, to spread leadership across younger years.

Meet Olivia - I love Shift with all my heart.

I am so aware of my wellbeing since being part of Shift which is super important, taking care of yourself  is a non-negotiable

How it all started

I first heard about Shift through my school, Wellington Girls College. I was in Year 13 and my P.E teacher sent out an email about an opportunity to get involved in the Shift Jam (a wellbeing start-up weekend). Reading the email I got pretty excited, and thought this was a great new experience to try and also get me out of my comfort zone. I signed up straight away.

There was something different about the Shift Jam and the vibes of this community. I instantly felt connected, welcomed and part of something as soon as I walked through the doors of the Bizdojo. I learnt that I have lots of ideas that can be made into reality and that there are so many amazing humans in the world making a difference!

After the Jam weekend I was hooked and participated in everything else on offer because I loved Shift. The Jam set me up with all the info and contacts I needed to continue to be a part of the Shifterhood. I also got involved in the Shift Leaders pilot group and heaps of Just Shift It activities.


My Shift Apprenticeship

In 2017, I took on the role of Shift Apprentice! This was a new role created to assist the Wellington City Shift Coordinator based at Wellington City Council. My apprenticeship involved delivering programmes and activities to young women in schools, completing a Level 3&4 Certificate in Active Recreation through Skills Active, running the 2018 EmpowHER conference, organising the Just Shift It holiday events, hosting a Glow Yoga evening, delivering speeches/talks to different audiences, doing heaps of amazing movement activities/opportunities and learning all there is to know about Shift's ways of working from my amazing teamies at Council (Katie, Chloe and Fran).

I believe the biggest thing I learnt is that people DO want to hear what I have to say and that my opinion is valid. Also, human connection is such an important thing and establishing a good relationship with young women and deliverers makes a really positive experience and can make others (and yourself) feel really happy and appreciated.


A year on

In the last year, I’ve made a few changes to my life and work that I can connect back to my experiences with Shift. I am so aware of my wellbeing since being part of Shift which is super important, taking care of yourself is a non-negotiable. Also, I have implemented 'check-ins' to the art classes I teach. This means that my students start each lesson with a check-in before we start the art so they can tell me anything that's on their minds or just to let me know how their day was. Much like it did at Shift, check-ins allow the teacher/deliverer to gauge the mood of the group/class and then change/alter the delivery to suit the individuals. Expressing how I'm feeling is not something I did much before Shift, but, since Shift, I am a lot more open to doing so.


My wellbeing has been positively impacted, as I have such a deep understanding of what wellbeing is and my confidence has grown immensely. I felt so connected to the Shifterhood and was welcomed with open arms which made me really happy. My wellbeing was also positively impacted because I was working alongside humans who had so much passion, drive and similar values and they always lifted me up and supported me. This made me want to work hard and be the best possible version of myself!

Olivia Rundle, Former Shift Apprentice
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