Being treated differently is something Debbie Ngarewa-Packer knows a thing or two about.
These days she is the head of Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui and oversees a treaty settlement portfolio worth about $60 million but she admits
After leaving an abusive relationship, Ngarewa-Packer said she
“I struggled like hell.”
But she did not let this experience define her and used it as motivation to prove to others she could still succeed in life.
“I think it drew a fire in my belly.”
After getting a cadetship at the Department of Maori Affairs she
However, she made a conscious decision to move back to Taranaki as she had a desire to be back home and work with her own people.
After serving as South Taranaki’s deputy mayor for a time, she now
However, she still finds it hard to call herself a leader,
“I feel pipsqueak in comparison to the real rimu trees,” said the mother of three.
Although passionate about her job and the chance she had to make a difference, she said her dedication did have its pitfalls at times.”It’s made me quite a workaholic.”
A lesson she has learned in recent times has been that she needed
One of her recent accomplishments was to complete the Iron Maori triathlon, held in Hawera this month. “It’s quite a movement. It transforms your life.”
While she considered herself an inclusive leader, she said she took
The bid was denied by the Environmental Protection Authority and TTR abandoned plans to appeal the decision in December.
Being open to new challenges was also an important part of Ngarewa-Packer’s makeup and was one of the reasons behind her
She plans to study how whanau groups can move from a position of poverty to financial freedom, an idea inspired by her own transformation.