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Mīharo Henri Banks

Ko Hikurangi te maunga

Ko Waiapu te awa

Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi

Nō Te Whānau a Rākairoa, Te Awemapara, me Te Riu o Waiapu ahau

Ko Tāwhai Banks taku hoa rangatira

Tokorima a māua tamariki

Ko Henri Banks ahau

I was born and bred around the Tairāwhiti. I went to Te Waiū and Waikirikiri School growing up. From a full time mum and crossfit coach, I am now a Mataora at Te Hiringa Matua and have been here 1.5 years working with the Nga Pae Matarau Team

What is your role like?

Challenging. Because whānau can be so stuck. Identifying the underlying blocks and supporting them with therapy through maramataka and hauora is key. Some people have been through traumatic events and don’t even know they have. So navigating this with them to figure out what that could be and how it is affecting them is a big part of my role

A lot of whānau are living in distress, due to AOD and poverty. I was one of these people once and I feel like my lived experience helps me in my approach allowing me to empathise and support whānau better

What do you enjoy about the role?

The thing I enjoy most about the role is working with whānau, watching and helping them make a shift. It is amazing. I also love working in a Te Ao Māori Space. It has helped me to reconnect too. Learning how our tīpuna did things and managed different situations is really interesting

Do you like your job?

Yes, I love my job! I am passionate about breaking cycles

However, after working and wānanga with whānau, I realised I was intrigued by the underlying issues more so than the social work side of things. I felt like I wanted to get deeper and know more. I wanted to know why whānau were turning to addictions and what was it in their lives that made them do it

What would you say to anyone interested in pursuing a career as a Mataora?

You definitely have to be passionate! But it is never too late and life experience is good

How do you look after yourself in your mahi?

Some ways we look after ourselves are Pure/Tuku Wānanga at the beach in the waitai, where we can unload in a safe space. Knowing your crew is receiving feedback too, makes it super safe

What do you get up to when you’re not at work?

Chilling with my whānau and Crossfit!

Do you have an inspiring whakataukī or whakatauakī that inspire you?

Nā to rourou, nā toku rourou ka ora ai te iwi

If everyone gives something and helps each other then we will all survive

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