Kaumatua Biographies

Kahui Left to right: George Epapara, Peter Mason, August Akuhata, Frances Diver, Percy Reedy, Phillip Gully, Te Aupouri Whautere, Kathleen Akuhata (seated)

Akuhata Akuhata

Born and raised in the Bay of Plenty, Koro Akuhata worked on his family farm on Motiti Island until moving to the mainland after serving time in the army.  He worked in the forestry industry and met his future wife at a logging village before moving with her to Murapara and raising 5 children. In the late 1980's he and his family moved to his mother's tribal home in Otaki where he began to get involved in the local Marae as one of the few fluent speakers of Te Reo.  Koro Akuhata has been a member of the National Kahui Kaumatua and in the position of Kaumatua for the Central Region for 14 years.

George Epapara

Koro George was born at Rotorua hospital 13th May, 1941, George is now an elder of the sub tribe Ngati Rongomai, of Te Arawa Waka.  Married in 1958, George and his wife have eight children. George is fluent in Te Reo and is a Jehovah’s Witness.  George has worked with Government Departments, since 1956, New Zealand Forest service, (6 years) 1962, before beginning a career with New Zealand Railways lasting 29 years.   Since them George has worked in community services, including Iwi Social Services, Te Roopu A Iwi O Te Arawa, Matua Whangai.  George is also a Member of the Maori Wardens Association of New Zealand, a trustee with the Okataina Outdoor centre and Manupirua Thermal Baths Rotoiti and Treasurer of the Ngapumanawa Marae Trust

Frances Diver

Frances Diver is Ngai Tahu, Waitaha, Kati Mamoe and Rapuwai, she and her husband Peter have lived in Central Otago for 38 years, raised a family of 3 and now have 7 wonderful mokopuna. Frances and Peter are managing directors of a pioneered aquaculture business of a fresh water crayfish farm in Alexandra. She has established the first Maori Health Provider Service in Central Otago and is the director of Uruuruwhenua Health UH Inc. She is currently Chairperson for Te Ao Huri whanau group and Supporting Families with Mental Illness in Central Otago (Which she also founded).  Frances is also a Ngai Tahu Representative on the Otago Conservation Board.

Phillip Gully

Koro Piripi is of Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Rongomaiwahine me Ngati Pakeha descent. He has worked in a variety of jobs including being a Maori Warden.  He is a Minister for the Ringatu Haahi, the Chairman of Tarere Marae in Gisborne and also a trustee for Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki trust.

Peter Mason

Koro Pete is married to Linley (Kàti Màmoe) and together, they are co-owners of their company, Connections ‘Ngà Kete e Rua’, providing training and consultancy services to both crown agencies and NGO’s.  Peter spent 26 years in the NZ Army.  On retirement, he worked in various government agencies.  His focus then changed to mental health and in particular to Kaupapa Màori (tangata whaiora).  Koro Pete is Chairman of Richmond Primary School Bord of Trustees, Te Rito O Te Harakeke.  He is on the Board of Nga Hau E Wha National Marae, Te Runanga O Nga Mataawaka (Urban Màori Authority) and the 28th Màori Battalion Òtautahi branch.  He is also Kaumatua for the Disabled Persons Assembly and the Christchurch Bridge programme (Salvation Army).  Koro Pete is passionate about our kaupapa in Tu Maia Whanau, and the whakatauki “he aha te mea nui o te Ao? He tamariki he tamariki he tamariki”! Says it all.

Ko Pehi (Percy) Reedy

Koro Percy was born and raised on the east cape at Waipiro Bay near Ruatoria.  Koro Percy is of Ngati Porou descent and he was educated in Ruatoria before moving to Wellington in the postal service.  In later life Koro Percy took up teaching and he has taught and been involved with education in a number of schools throughout the Hawkes Bay, Wellington and Auckland areas. Koro Percy has had an interesting history as a member of world touring cultural groups and has performed in countries as diverse as Hungary, Greece, Russia, Japan and the USA.  

Te Aupouri Whautere

Te Aupouri was born in Kaikohe and bought up in the Mid and Far North region and is a direct descendant of Ngapuhi Nui Tonu.  He has been residing in Whangarei for 48 years. Te Aupouri has a background in Warehousing, Retailing, Transport, Industrial law, Education, Economic development, Iwi Authorities, Local Bodies, Children & Young Persons Welfare Services and Politics. He has been involved with the organisation since 1994.