Staff Profile

Roera Komene - Kaitiaki Practitioner

Roera tells us a bit about himself, what drives him and answers the question ‘if he could have dinner with someone famous, who would it be and why?’

Te taha o toku kuia,

Ko Mamari te waka

Ko Kirioke te maunga

Ko Punakitere te awa

Ko Te Iringa te marae

Te mana e noho ana i reira, ko Ngati Tautahi te hapu

Ko Nga Puhi te iwi

Ko Roera Apiata Komene taku ingoa

I identify as Ngati Tautahi ki Te Iringa of Nga Puhi iwi from my father’s side in the far north (Kaikohe), and Scottish, Irish on my mother’s side.

Born in Murihiku/Invercargill, we moved to Tamakimakaurau/Auckland returning to Otepoti/Dunedin at age 3 to our relation’s down at the Kaik. I did some schooling there, eventually shifting to Brockville where I grew up, leaving the whanau home at age 16 to pursue a girl and anything but school!

I started work in the transport industry which lasted till my late twenties. It was an interesting industry at that time due to a couple of “world financial crisis’” and subsequent job losses – I was made redundant 3 times in the space of 12 months! On reflection these and other work experiences at that time led me to a realisation and I really started asking myself what I wanted to do in life. The only thing I could practically come up with was that I wanted to learn te reo maori. That was in 1998.

I became the tutor of that course 2 years later for the te reo me ona tikanga maori (maori language and culture programme) at the then named Arai-te-uru Kokiri Training Centre, now known as Kokiri Training Centre. I moved on to then work at Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga, as kaimahi/co-facilitator on the Te Puna Manawa, maori men’s stopping violence programme. There I was introduced to some brilliant maori facilitation, role models, training and supervisors’. It was while working there that I was introduced to the addictions field working with problem gambling, alcohol and other drugs – nunui nga hua i aua wa = I learnt heaps! This lead me into working as a maori health promoter at, Te Waka Hauora in the public health unit working with Alcohol and other Drugs, Mental Health and Sexual Health kaupapa through to 2007 at which time I was approached by Michelle Taiaroa, Kaihautu, A3Kaitiaki Ltd to assist in establishing the work at the Otago Corrections Facility alongside her and Anne Robertson.

I’ve now been with A3Kaitiaki Ltd for the last 7 years as a Cultural Therapist and Programme Facilitator.

I’m very passionate about promoting and using te reo me ona tikanga maori and maori models of practice as a pathway for wellbeing to assist tane/men with changes they want or need to seriously consider changing.

When I’m asked what it is I do I usually reply “I work with identity “ and if we identify as being maori there is an unlimited and inexhaustible wealth of knowledge and experience just waiting for us to tap into. There is a minimum we should know about maori protocols and my experiences let me know that when maori are given the opportunity and are guided to engage in kaupapa maori activities I’ve seen amazing transformations’ and certainly measureable personal/cultural growth not only from our 3 day wananga programmes but across all our kaupapa. For me it’s nothing but plus, plus and a no brainer if our language is the major gateway to our culture – Kia rapua = gather it!

I would love to have dinner with my tupuna Hone Heke. He was of the old world, a great rangatira/leader and yet a man of his time. Controversial, politically active and an acknowledged cultural expert the korero would no doubt go all night.