Bailey Mackey (Ngati Porou, Tuhoe, Rongowhakaata)

Story by Himiona Grace


CEO / Producer

East Coast boy Bailey Mackey had an interesting childhood. He was bought up by his grandparents in Kaiti, on the out skirts of Gisborne. They, like many were a product of the urban drift where rural people and communities moved to the towns and cities for employment and the prospect of a ‘better life’. Although Bailey describes his childhood as “pohara as” his grandparents made sure they didn’t lack the essentials in life. Stability, schooling and there was always food on the table. “I was instilled with Ngati Poroutanga but (going to school in Kaiti) meant I had also mixed and interacted with a lot of Pakeha kids and teachers so in that sense I ended up with a pretty balanced upbringing”. This was no doubt where Bailey’s competence in speaking both Maori and English came from. And his ‘Naati’ humour.

“There was a lot humour, [at home] and it was interesting too. My grandfather was a 28th Battalion veteran. He was a fencer and a shearer and was a grand nephew of Sir Apirana Ngata (National Party) He was a Tory with conservative politics. My grandmother was a sewing machinist and a pretty staunch unionist. And I’d get up in morning and they’d be arguing about politics all in Maori. Sometimes it was heated arguments but then they’d be laughing too. It was awesome”.

His fluency in both Maori and English wasn’t the only result of growing up in this environment. 
When he attended Gisborne Boys High he committed himself to the Manu Korero speech competitions where he was very successful. His ability to stand and speak seemed to come naturally. It was around this time his passion for broadcasting was born. “I wanted to be a reporter for Te Karere or Wakahuia so I could visit all the marae around the country and talk to our kuia and koroua.”

 But school wasn’t always great for Bailey. “To be honest, when I look back at my schooling I didn’t really fit in. I was smart enough and got in the top classes and the teachers told me I should I commit myself more. But I don’t think the school system catered for us. I’m a believer in passion and it’s something you can’t be taught [in school]. I had a passion for Manu Korero and was successful at it. After college I committed to rugby and played for East Coast/ Ngati Porou, was really passionate about it. Then in my twenties I committed to broadcasting, another passion [of mine]. I think we’re natural explorers and that’s one of my big things now. Don’t lose the explorer in you. We’re descendants of Maui and that’s who we are”. Of course he’s referring to Maui Tikitiki-a-Taranga who was famously mischievous and a daring opportunist. Ngati Porou are descendants of Maui. 

“If Maui was at school today he wouldn’t be sitting NCEA, he’d be out the back of the incinerator checking out the fire, or behind bike sheds”. [Laughs]

Bailey started his broadcasting career at Radio Ngati Porou in Ruatoria. He then went on the become a reporter for Te Karere (passion). He even had a short stint at writing for Shortland Street before becoming a reporter for TV3’s sports department. When he became Head of Sport for Maori TV another opportunity presented itself. “It was a bit of sea-change for me because I was no longer a sole trader or practitioner, I was a manager, strategist learning more of the production side of things”. This is where he learned the tricks of the trade needed to go it alone.

He went on to set up his own company which allowed him to work for any network in any genre of television programming. From sports to reality to drama. This broadened his skill set and provided more opportunities. After producing over 20 shows Bailey’s company Pango ( have made the move into the film industry. A natural progression for someone with the talent, passion and an eye for opportunity.

Himiona Grace - Director, Writer, Photographer

Story by Tony Cutting


Writer, Musician, Father of four and Director of one of New Zealands latest hit movies.

Well. It’s early Friday afternoon, an absolutely stunning Kapiti Coast afternoon consisting of a slight north-westerly breeze with baking hot sun, making it feel like mid-Summer although we are still in the final days of Spring. I am just pulling into Paekakariki heading for a table at the Perching Parrot.

Feeling pretty excited as this is my first interview and article that I will publish in Our People and very happy that one of my very talented cousins from Hongoeka Marae is my subject.

I meet Himiona outside he is looking far too relaxed with a smile that’s too familiar and reminds me immediately of the young kid I grew up with a long time ago. We grab a great corner spot in the Café for the dialog which I know will be entertaining and that the reality is only 10% of what is said will hit print. Two flat whites and we are ready to rock.

The first confession - this is his second trip today to his favourite local hangout, he is pretty chilled out while I organise the photo then we sit down and start to chat.

We are using the new JobCafe format for the discussion - Live, Work & Play…

Live - What does life mean for Himiona?

“Well life for me is based on where and how I was brought up – very lucky to have had the best childhood you could ever imagine. In a place that provided a massive playground of hills, bush and beaches with a tight knit family in a stable up bringing”

He is referring to the Hongoeka Marae whanau as well as his own rather large and insanely talented family.

Himiona immediately praises his Mum (A New Zealand renown Writer) and Dad ( A great teacher and educator both at and after School) for being independent and implanting this quality in all the Grace whanau and giving him the tools to do the same.

“I grew up watching Mum writing and this has positively affected who I am and what I am doing today”

He loves living in Paekakariki with Briar the place where they have successfully raise four kids. Three who are now in their 20’s and a 9 year old, he jokes number four was a mistake but the twinkle in his eye as he mentions his youngest daughter tells the real story.

2nd confession “I’m Broke but I’m Rich” got no money (I suspect this is short term), but rich as he has recreated a rich, stable family life.

So for this talented creative – Director of what will be the next fantastic Kiwi Movie “The Pa Boys” (This is where he reminds me his release date is Feb 2014) life is clearly about his foundation – Family.

A typical day – Up early get some work done before helping organise kids for school. Walk the dog along the Beach, try get some more work done before kids get home. Cook Dinner (Although he quickly confesses he is not the greatest chef but he loves cooking) try finish off some more work then watch a Movie at night with family,

3rd confession - not a big one for TV programmes.

So what about Work?

“Yep work is important, you know I have the greatest respect for the 9-5 job, for some it is the thing that’s gives you choices. Me personally I have always loved the creative industry but started my working life during College with Uncle Alan during school holidays working as a general labourer doing stuff like plumbing, building, shearing – hard work which opened up our minds to the real world."

He spent three years carving our local meeting house, worked on the catamaran that traveled from Mana to South Island (featuring some scary but exciting times in some big Cook Strait swells), Part Time Actor, Writer and finding his way in the kiwi creative industry.

Spent time as a guitarist with a few bands and remembers he was never far away from his Camera.

“Mum and Dad gave me a camera when I was young and it has always been a great part of my life”

“My main job for 14 years was working with the Film Archives which was absolutely awesome, restoring old Movies and looking after our early film heritage. One of the things I got to do was cruise around rural New Zealand showing old Movies to locals.

Movies were from the early 1900’s to 1980’s and people really just loved what we showed them”

“So I guess it all lead up to writing and producing my own Movie which has been 30 years in the making”

“Funny I always knew I would do it”

At this point I reflect on the movie Himiona filmed and directed and roped me into when we were 9-10 year old boys?

“The Runner” - which got rave reviews and loads of laughs on our Marae at the time and was about a young skinny white runner who has a nightmare about getting chased by a big Maori boy (my other Cousin)

– ironically not only did Himiona go on to make a real Movie but I “the Runner” did quite well at college athletics and sport and my chaser the big Maori looking to beat me up went on to join the Mongrel Mob! … Art becomes life? But that is another story.

So what is “The Pa Boys” all about?

The story is about a three piece band that tour the North Island starting in Wellington and moving up the country through the East Coast and up to Northland. They visit small town pubs like Tologa Bay, Te Teko, and great little pubs in Northland and a few others throughout mainland New Zealand on the way. The story revolves around what the band and crew get up to on this tour.

It features drama and conflict in the form of a love triangle using some traditional concepts and stories and set close to present day as they (the Story lines) are still relevant today. He purposely kept technology out of the movie "I think having people texting on cell phones and using ipads would not have made the story interesting I don’t think you will find a cell phone anywhere in this"

So what is Play for you?

“Well for me pretty much what I am doing now every day, they say if you love what you do it is not work and I guess that is play?”

What do you do to relax outside of your normal day?

“Camping and Swimming at the Beach pretty much my favourite things either visiting our family land on the East Coast and camping on the beach or visiting Briars family and doing the same in Northland”

“I have about 3-4 other movies to finish writing and I would love to write stories about our old people and not just Maori but all New Zealander's and tell their stories”

My summary - Himiona Grace (Beach Bum, Family Man, Writer, Director)

No struggled through adversity-broken home story here.

He is the real product of a supportive nurturing close knit family that have given him the gift of courage to be who he wants to be and achieve what he wants to achieve. And now he is repeating the cycle. 

Checkout this article on Marae TV about our very own Himiona Grace and his Pa Boys Movie.

Tola Newbury - Actor

Story by Himiona Grace


Ko Hiwi-o-te-Wera me Kiha nga pae maunga.

Ko Haurepo ko Wainui nga koawa.

Ko Te Umuroa te marae.

Ko Te-Poho-o-Parahaki te tipuna whare.

Ko Mihi-ki-te-Kapua te wharekai.

Ko Ngati Manunui te hapu.

Ko Paraki te tipuna.

Tae noa

Ko Ngāi Tūhoe

It would be an injustice to describe Tola Newbery just as an actor. He is so much more than that. In The Pā Boys, his most recent film he plays ‘Cityboy’ a young drummer with dreams of making it big. The role showcased Tola’s talent as an actor, singer and musician. But he is also a performance artist and is known to set up in the streets of Auckland, Wellington, or where ever he happens to be ‘to play on ideas’, tell stories through dance or movement and waiata (song).

“I always knew it’s what I wanted to do. Growing up my parents said I loved entertaining, singing, telling jokes and doing comedy. It’s as far back as I can remember. I was always on stage from primary school right through to college.”

Tola grew up in Lyttelton “a cool little port town, which was quite generous in terms of art. It was a small community then and really inspirational”. 

Creativity is on both sides of his family. His father is an inventor and his Mum a singer/performer so it’s very much “in the blood.” And when it comes to Tola’s original art performances they definitely can be described as ‘inventive’. 

“When I create a piece I don’t even write a script. I do a physical score, work it out through movement and rhythm and song. It’s always about the kaupapa and creating. But if other people come in [to help with the show] you have to write something down, so I grab a bit of cardboard,” he laughs.

It wasn’t just his parents who supported him in pursuing a career in the arts. 

“I had a great drama teacher at college, she encouraged me to do New Zealand drama for NCEA. And it was at college that I saw a poster advertising for students to join Toi Whakaari (The NZ Drama School) in Wellington. I had a gap year and did a few different jobs and shows, starting with Crash Bash Tour, and productions for The Court Theatre in Christchurch. I just wanted to see if the acting buzz was really what I wanted to do.” 

It was a big decision to move to Wellington after being accepted into Toi Whakaari. “It was an experience. You learned techniques and the psychology of theatre.

It was intense, I had a 6 month old baby and we were young parents. We had a house by the drama school but it was long hours and days, starting at 7.30 in the morning with warm ups and sometimes we weren’t out of there til 10. Especially intense when you’re doing a show that would run for up to four weeks plus everything else you’re doing at the time, the family, study, playing in a band, just trying to have a social life.”

Since graduation Tola has played many varying roles in theatre, television and film. And in each role he seems to actually take on another persona, to the point that you sometimes wonder if this is an actor playing a role or is this the real character who has been put on stage. 

A review of the 2013 production Hui had this to say, "...But it is Tola Newbery who is the revelation here. His portrayal of George, who is intellectually disabled, is something really special - sincere, touching, respectful.”

And there’s not much chance of him being typecast either. He does play young Maori male roles because that what he is. But each character he plays is different from the others and he can easily move in to more mainstream roles like Rev Athol Segwick from The Pohutukawa Tree and Oberon from a Midsummer Nights Dream.

So how does acting in theatre compare to television or film? “Theatre is very physical, you have to be on your game night after night after night. And a play could take a long time to write. For instance ‘Hīkoi’ written and directed by Nancy Brunning took her years to write it. But we only performed it for two weeks (with the possibility of more shows). Film is different, it keeps and can be watched forever”. Theatre acting is also big, you make your characters larger than life because you’re on stage and have to project out to the audience to connect with them. In film it’s the opposite, you pull everything internally because the camera is close and reads everything you do or think. Every expression.

“[There are] good people in the arts, heaps of actors, coming out of drama school too, we’re all competing for the same roles but everyone is close”. Inevitably, with such competition there is only so much theatre and screen work to go around.

“As I refine what I want to do, my performances, art, acting I have a lot of jobs in between, like plastering and working in schools and communities. Anything goes, sometimes you just need money to fund your art”. 

Inspiration for his performance pieces come from the usual influences, whanau, surroundings, politics, what’s happening at the time. “Sometimes it’s pictures that come into my head.” 

But for Tola a big driving force to perform and create comes from within. “I just want to do better”.


Tracie Pile

Making a difference where it matters most.

Tracie Pile.jpg

Name: Tracie Pile
Tertiary Education: Bachelor of Matauranga Maori, Te Wananga o Raukawa
Previous role: Te Wananga o Raukawa Administrator
Current role: te reo Maori teacher at James Cook High School, Manurewa

Teach First NZ offers a unique pathway into secondary teaching for talented individuals who aspire to be future leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand. The Teach First NZ programme is two years long, but the experience and skills participants gain last a lifetime. Teach First NZ participants teach in schools serving low-income communities while training towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching. During the programme, participants receive a full-time salary and a scholarship for their qualification.

Tracie Pile is a born and bred South Aucklander. Having completed her Bachelor of Matauranga Maori at Te Wananga o Raukawa, she decided that the Teach First NZ programme was where she could make the biggest difference. Tracie is a part of the 2015 cohort and is currently teaching te reo Maori at James Cook High School, Manurewa.

Why did you choose to join the Teach First NZ programme?

When I found out about Teach First NZ, I got goose bumps. I had been searching for a meaningful career path for a long time, one which I could be proud of, where I could make a difference and contribute to the community. As someone who has grown up in a low income area, left school early and then returned to University as an adult, the vision and mission of Teach First NZ truly spoke to me.

What has been the most important thing you have learnt on your journey so far?

The most important thing that I have learnt is that it only takes one person with passion, motivation and unwavering belief to make a real difference. On my journey so far I have learnt from some of the best educators, the most influential leaders and some of the most resilient students to whom I am extremely grateful.

What has been the most surprising part about teaching?

I mistakenly entered the classroom thinking that my role in the classroom was to be the teacher and it was my students to be the learners. As I approach my third year in the classroom I have found that I’ve learnt far more from my tauira than I ever perceived. This has been one of the most valuable lessons in my teaching so far. Each student of mine teaches me about what I am doing right and what I can do better. That learning experience has been priceless.

What would you say to those who are thinking about joining the Teach First NZ programme?

The opportunity to work in the community with our rangatahi has been one of the biggest privileges of my life so far and to ensure all of our students are achieving their full potential we need more talented professionals and graduates choosing to make a difference in the classroom as well.

To find out more about the Teach First NZ programme visit

Lennox Jones

Following his heart - Story by Sonya Bloomfield


I opened up Facebook the other day and saw a message from an old friend telling everyone that he had just been chosen to step into a six month incubator writing programme, ka pai! 

I had to find out how he made the transition to become a writer. What I thought was going to be a story about changing careers turned out to be a story about a man developing a craft that had such a pull he had to figure out how to make it happen.

Lennox is Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu descent. He’s always had a spiritual connection, he said “being a Maori you always have spirituality, it is an inbuilt inherent thing.” As a teenager he connected to holistic writing through books his sister shared with him and this has really influenced his view.

Initially Lennox was not an avid writer but he always loved to read. He dabbled with writing a little in his 20’s but it wasn’t till his mid 30’s that it began to really take hold of him.  He had built up a strong landscaping business but he was feeling like he was at a crossroads and didn’t see himself doing this into his future.  He also went through relationship break up and was at a really low place. “Becoming a writer seemed so far away and the transition to do it seemed worlds apart.  I had no creative writing degree, none of that sort of stuff.”

As Lennox searched for answers he devoured a whole lot of self-help material and began healing from the inside out. This is when he started journaling and writing poetry.  

“I started collecting words, anything that I would read or see on TV, anything that peaked my interest to try and build my vocabulary.” He would often rewrite sentences, copy them down and look over them, working through how they could be structured in different ways.  
“I started making my own thesaurus.” He found the act of writing it down and finding the meaning gave him an awareness of what he liked and was interested in.

“I wasn’t that fast at typing so I rewrote a whole Eckhart Tolle book to increase my typing speed, his material was a huge help to me and the process of typing it out helped reinforce the message and become it.” He was writing poetry about the simplicity of every day life.  “We lose sight of those things, that’s what life is made up of, the small things.”  

He was now writing quite a bit and feeling quite connected with it, although self-doubt would still creep into his mind he plucked up the courage to show some of his work to a group he was meeting.

By this stage I was beginning to get completely engrossed in Lennox’s story of how he taught himself to write and the work that has gone into to him honing his craft.  His fulltime role was in sales in the coffee industry and in his spare time being a husband and father. He was writing when he could.

“I was still battling with what I was doing and wanted to be a writer, the attraction to it got stronger and stronger and stronger.  When I wasn’t doing it, I was flat, and when I was writing I felt good.  The more I wrote the better I got. I am a hell of a lot better to when I first started.  I’ve always believed stuff can be learnt, it is just the amount of time you put to it.”
“When you really love what you do, you find that in the end it is easier to be in that space.”

As time progressed and the years went by Lennox’s desire to write continued and he wanted to start writing a novel. Because he had a family he couldn’t just give up his job so he had to find another way.  By this time they had had their second boy Tane and with Lennox writing at night time he was struggling to find a balance between family, work and writing. When he was out of balance it really affected his creative space.

“Then I woke up one morning and had an epiphany. I was going to stop working at night and get up in the early hours and write. That morning I wrote a contract to Katie and the kids.”
“I promise to be a good Dad and husband and not be to hōhā anymore, and commit to my work during the day and commit to write this book.”  

They all signed the contract and from the next night onwards Lennox has been getting up at 2-3am nearly every morning. He has his ritual, he gets up and sits down in front of the fireplace, lights a candle and meditates for half an hour. Then he makes himself a cup of tea, sits down in front of the computer, lights another candle and writes.  

“It doesn’t feel disciplined, it is natural now, I just wake up. That’s a hard place to get to when you are going through being challenged about whether or not you can do this. I used to get up and get discouraged and chase word count.  You read stuff about chasing word count but putting it into perspective is important. I’ve read a lot about other authors and their habits. You get up and have something in your mind that you need to achieve but it is not the end of the world if you don’t do it.  There are times when you get up, and you write it, and then delete it.  At the end of the night you don’t have anything but you have thought about a lot.”

“For me it’s about honouring that space, make a cup of tea and sit down and at least I’ve tried.  You might not have a good day and then the next day it’s wicked. It’s a matter of understanding yourself, or more awareness about your craft, that it’s nothing to beat yourself up over. I used to be bull at a gate.  Now I’m a lot more patient, not competing with anyone but myself.”
 “Getting up early works for me. I knew it wasn’t going to be forever but it was something that had to be done.”

That was in February 2012 and since then he has been plugging away.  He’s begun sharing the odd poem with friends and realized that he has to put it out there. When he does he gets great feedback and energy from that.

The support and encouragement from Katie has been huge.  She was the one that sent him the link for the writing competition.  It is held by a respected publishing house and enables budding wannabe writers to enter a body of work to be scrutinized by a panel of judges. Six writers were to chosen to step into a six month incubator writing programme.  The intention of the programme is to take “the chosen ones” work through to a completed first draft. Then if it’s good enough, to be published. He gets a mentor and weekly financial support, which in Lennox’s words is nothing short of PRIMO!

Lennox has just resigned from his sales role and gone back to a leadership role in landscaping 3 days a week. He’s achieved time with his family and time for writing.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in something.  Lennox has carved out those hours through moments in the day in the early days, and in recent times through hours in the night.  He’s honoured his contract to his family and he’s honoured the space he created to write during the night.  He’s had his good days and his bad days and through it all he’s finally got to this place through a labour of love. 

This is only the beginning.

Michel Tuffery MNZM – Artist

Story by Tony Cutting


I have had the pleasure of knowing Michel and Jayne (Mrs Tuffery) since we were all in our early adult years in Wellington.  He is a great friend who always has a smile on his face.  Michel is a man who loves life and is passionate about his music, diverse pacific culture, art and sport.

Although I do not get to see much of Michel (He is a very busy man), when we do catch up, it really is like nothing has changed.

Michel is a very humble man who has achieved great things.  Here is my version of Michel’s story.

A Shining Star is born

The year was 1966 and a young man ‘Michel Cliff Tuffery’ is born in Wellington, New Zealand.  He is to become one of New Zealand’s most sort after international artists, awarded the MNZM, while still retaining the humbleness, cheekiness and ‘mana’ of the young man we knew from Newlands back in the day.  

His mum Bula Tuffery (nee Paotonu) was of Samoan heritage and biological dad William Bates (Rarotongan, Tahitian Ma’ohi). William was the Proprietor of Hostel Aorangi, Rarotonga. Bula married Denis Tuffery who was European, creating a melting pot of siblings across his family. In total Michel had eleven other brothers and sisters he was related to, they include Mary, Anna, Moana, Tetanui, Paul, Tessa, Peter, Andrew, Shane, Craig, Daniel.

Michel’s stepfather Denis Tuffery was a Patent Attorney and Bula worked as a cleaner.

Thorndon Primary School

Michel attended Thorndon Primary School where he remembers his teachers well. 

“My teachers were able to capture my attention, engaged with me, they helped me confidently learning how to speak, read and write, they acknowledged that art was my first language (drawing).  I was initially the only way I could communicate, so they built on this and grew my confidence using a well-rounded approach”

Michel played Rugby during those primary school years and describes himself as;

“Cheeky as always however, I was fortunate to be sent to Thorndon Primary where a new pilot program was being implemented for challenged kids like myself. It was at Thorndon that I was able to become fully engaged academically and socially”.

Newlands College

At Newlands College, Michel struggled with the core academic subjects to start with.  He had a lot of additional support within these classes, however, with this support he achieved School Certificate and gain his University Entrance qualifications allowing him to seriously consider tertiary study.

He played Rugby and Athletics for school.  After school, he also attended the local Boxing club. There was one subject at college he loved the most – Art. 

Michel achieved both with his sporting prowess and with his artist talent.  He remembers his Art teacher Gregory Flint as the someone who encouraging him to chase his dream and set his goal to go to Art School in Dunedin.  

Throughout his college years Michel had a “Pretty normal” secondary school life.  He was very social, loved sports and had a broad range of diverse friends.

“It was a great time to be growing up, and I definitely loved my music!”

Dunedin School of Art / University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus

Michel followed his destiny and attended Dunedin Art School (The school was administered by the Otago Polytechnic).  Where he gained his Diploma in Fine Arts (Honours) 1989, he would be awarded a Master of Fine Arts (Honorary) in 2014. He also attended the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus as a fine arts student and tutor when he completed his time in Dunedin.


Working Life / Professional Full-time Artist

While developing his portfolio of art, Michel started his working career as a Physical Education teacher at Newlands College. He stayed one year then moved to Whitireia Polytechnic when he secured an Art Tutor role.  Michel was destined to be a full-time artist and this soon became his reality.

Here is what Wikipedia tells us about Michel

Michael "Michel" Cliff Tuffery MNZM is a New Zealand artist of Samoan, Tahitian and Cook Islands descent. He is one of New Zealand's most well-known artists and his work is held in many art collections in New Zealand and around the world. He lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. Renowned as a printmaker, painter and sculptor, Tuffery has gained national and international recognition, and has made a major contribution to New Zealand art.

One of his distinctive sculptures from 1994 is the life-sized work, entitled Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000), which was constructed from flattened and riveted re-cycled corned beef tins. His work is shaped by his research into, and encounters with his Polynesian heritage while making use of Māori design. His mother is Samoan and his father was Cook Island Tahitian.
He attended Newlands College in Wellington, and has a Diploma in Fine Arts (Hons) from the School of Fine Arts at Otago Polytechnic (1989). Many of his works explore colonialism and people's treatment of the environment.

He was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to art in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours. 


Michel has exhibited extensively in New Zealand and internationally here are some of his major exhibitions to date;

•    1989 Tautai Artists, Gallery 33 1/3 and Louise Beale Gallery, Wellington
•    1990 Te Moemoea no Iotefa, Sarjeant Art Gallery, Whanganui
•    1990 Three Polynesian Artists, Robert McDougall Art Gallery, Christchurch
•    1990 Anti Drift Net Series, ASA Gallery, Auckland
•    1994 Bottled Ocean City Gallery Wellington and touring
•    1994 Woodcuts on Tapa, Claybrook Gallery, Auckland
•    1994 Pisupo Lua Afe, Wellington
•    1994 Povi Tau Vaga - The Challenge, Wellington[7]
•    1996 7th Festival of Pacific Arts group exhibition, Samoa
•    1997 Pacific Diaries, Hogarth Gallery, Sydney
•    1997 Common Ground, Page 90 Art Gallery, Taranaki
•    1998 Recent Works, Portfolio Gallery, Auckland
•    1998 Paringa Ou, Fiji Museum, Fiji
•    1998 Testing Traditions, Aotea Centre, Auckland
•    1999 O le Vasa Loloto ma le Laloa, Christchurch
•    1999 Povi Lua Noumea, and Faga Ofe E'a, in collaboration with artist Patrice Kaikilekofe, New Caledonia
•    2001 Asiasi, Jane Land Gallery, Wellington
•    2001 Out of the Blue, Hawkes Bay Exhibitions Centre, Hastings
•    2002 Mata Mata, Toi o Tamaki, Auckland City Art Gallery
•    2002 Diaspora - Art of the Asia Pacific, Portfolio Gallery, Auckland
•    2002 Pasifika,The Lane Gallery, Auckland
•    2003 Voyages, The Lane Gallery, Auckland
•    2003 Animated Effigy, MacKay Art Gallery, North Queensland
•    2012 First Contact, multi-media work for the opening of the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival
•    2012 Siamani Samoa, Pataka Museum and Gallery, Porirua
•    2013 Made in Oceania: Tapa – Art and Social Landscapes, Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Germany
•    2015 World War I Remembered: A Light and Sound Show, multi-media installation with Ngataiharuru Taepa, Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Wellington


Other activities 

I asked Michel what he does when he is not working on his art?  His answer "Diving - it’s like being in the library for me, total bliss!"

What does the future hold for Michel Tuffery?

"Unknown, however as always it’ll be well considered and meaningful"

It was great catching up with Michel on the day he installed his exhibition at Mahara Gallery in Waikanae. It had been awhile since we last caught up face to face. He greeted me with his cheeky smile as always, you know the type of smile that makes you smile back.  What makes Michel so happy and someone I would like my kids to know more about?  The answer is simple he followed his dream and made it happen and now he is truly living a life he loves.

After Waikanae he is off to Europe again. I look forwarded to hearing about what he gets up to (usually from Jayne first).  I also hope this story inspires other budding young (and old) artists to follow Michel's approach - make it meaningful, make it happen.

Thank you Michel :-)

If you would like to view or buy Michels art please feel free to visit his Facebook Page HERE

Brett Keno, - Sculptor, Brother, Father, Husband & Son.

Story by Tony Cutting

BRETT Keno.jpg

Brett is now living the dream, working from home with his beautiful wife making a fulfilling existence doing something he is deeply passionate about.  His story explains how this choice rewards him in ways he never thought of before starting on this journey. But to get where he is today, he traversed a very different path.

Interestingly Brett’s career has moved down tracks that you would not necessarily associate a born creative to take.  He trained and qualified in Finance, then spent many years in high pressure dealing rooms within some of New Zealand’s top banking organisations, played Rugby and Touch Football most of his younger years and had what I would describe as a pretty successful social life.  

As I listen to Brett describe his journey I can’t help feel fate, along with some good choices – possibly reinforced by his very supportive wife Christine, have placed him exactly where he should be.
I would argue that for Brett the timing has been just perfect.  

His younger days

Brett was raised in Newlands, Wellington.  This is a fair distance from where his family hails from, with his family Marae and many whanau in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty.  

Brett attended Newlands College, represented the college in track (sprinting) and was a wing for the first XV.  Rugby played a major part of Brett’s life in his early years and I really grew close to Brett when we played alongside each other at the Johnsonville Rugby Club.

Unlike the rest of the players (who had jobs) Brett had moved on to Victoria University and was the ‘poor’ student of the team – ironically when we lived together 10 years later it was Brett who owned the house, seems his education and career choices had started to pay dividends.

So you get the picture here was this well-educated young Maori making his way in the financial world, he had become a successful money market broker – but now is one of New Zealand most promising Sculptors.

Life today

Before we further connect the dots here is where Brett’s mind is on his shift…

“Going from leaving an organisation where I was employed and each morning jumping on the train making my way into the city to working for myself and walking out to my garage has been challenging.  Rolling out of bed having breakfast with the family and spending time at home with Christine (whom also works from home) is a totally new dynamic for me” “A lovely dynamic” says Brett 

“We only have one punch up a day” Christine yells from out the back.

What is really interesting is where Brett has made his mark, it’s not the only type of sculpting he does but it has obviously made a major (rewarding) impact on his being. It is better framed in his own words…

“Loving the new experiences I have on a daily basis, hearing the stories from the families I work for”. 

“These people share incredible emotional stories which they are hoping I can translate into a memorial worthy of the person they want to talk about” “Whilst headstones was never something I was comfortable doing, it’s an artwork that is now very close to my heart, I have to get it right, I have to hit the nail on the head and touch all the right points to ensure the respect is truly given for the loved one who has passed” 

In the early days Brett would never had considered this type of carving, but of recent times and experiences with families he is finding his art is more than just paying the bills, it is fulfilling him in meaningful ways and helping him connect with whanau all around the country.

Brett remembers doing his first headstone.  “I received this amazing story of this beautiful young girl from down south” “I got an immediate feeling, design and shape in my mind as the story unfolded and I knew I could to do this work”.

“I will never forget this young girl.  Immediately the family heard I had finished the work, jumped in a couple of cars and left from Invercargill on a very long drive.  They caught the Picton ferry and arrived in Wellington on a terrible rainy, windy night.  They drove up from Wellington to my place (Upper Hutt) where I was standing in the garage beside the taonga, garage door opened and lights on so they could see the artwork when they pulled into the drive.

I saw them arrive and pull into the drive, so I gave them a wave.  The lead car lights stayed on when the car stopped, and I got very nervous as no one got out of the car.  I stood for a few minutes, then walked towards the car – the people in the back seat were leaning over towards the people in the front seat and they were all weeping” “I opened the car door and invited them all into the garage and together we all sat down with a cup of tea.  The whanau explained how this was another milestone in their journey, they saw the art as part of her and were now going to take her home, helping complete another part of their journey with her”. 

Bridging the Gap
Brett openly admits he would not be sculpting now if it was not for the solid financial foundation he was able to build from in his early years.  He learned many skills in those jobs and without these he may never have been able to cut it as a self-employed artist today.  He actually started carving 10 years before making the leap, he took up his chisel while still in the financial industry and his skill has been honed over many years of serious practice and a fair number of “restarts”.  

In his last financial based role as an advisor for a Maori investment group he relinked with his heritage and started to connect his talent with his whakapapa, this gave him a deeper understanding of how his two worlds may come together.  Recently having turned 50 he made the leap of faith with the full support of Christine and his whanau. 

He now carves for families all over New Zealand and helps train other interested carvers during regular weekend workshops. 

You can find his work and reach him via his website

Arohanui brother – may your coffin be built of 150 year old kauri which we plant next year.

Yvonne Kainuku-Walsh

Registered nurse and special projects lead

Kia Orana

I am of Cook Islands and Irish descent. On my Kuki Airani side my whakapapa connects to the villages of Ngatangiia, Takitimu and County Tyron in Ireland. I am a registered nurse and have been specialising in sexual and reproductive health and adolescent health and development for more than 23 years.

At a very young age, I recall telling my mother, I wanted to be a nurse, even though I didn’t like hospitals – the smell and what they represented to me as a child. Soon after telling mum, I sought out my school guidance counsellor for advice on study pathways, but her discouragement deterred me for a number of years. When I was 19 my mother talked to me about how important it is to not only ‘dare to dream’ but ‘dare to share your dream’, for when you lose focus or hope, others hold it for you. This lesson has been a strong driver for me in connecting with the young people I am privileged to walk alongside.

As a student nurse, two things became very apparent to me (in terms of future focus and positioning myself in the sector). I enjoyed working in the community and primary health care sector, and I had a strong sense I wanted to work with young people.

Favourite inspirational quote:

"people don’t care about how much you know, until they know you care”. T Roosevelt.

Essential principles which underpin youth development (Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa 2002) include:

young people being connected (sense of belonging)
a consistent strengths-focused approach (fostering confidence)
it happening through quality relationships
it being triggered when young people fully participate
it having good information (evidence and experience of others)
it being shaped by the ‘big picture’ (locally, nationally, and globally).
With these in mind, we can’t afford to be siloed in our approach to the health and wellbeing needs of young people who consistently appear to be over-represented in teen pregnancy rates, high STI rates, suicide and suicide attempts and obesity related illnesses, to name a few.

In my many roles within the youth health and development sector (which spans almost 25 years) I am a true believer in these and other key values, which include ‘keeping it real’. I love the quote by T Roosevelt, “people don’t care about how much you know, until they know you care”.

It’s also critical to ensure we are walking alongside young people, not only addressing their risk factor issues, such as violence, crime and safe sex, but taking an interest in their everyday lives and aspirations for the future.  

Evidence must also underpin any successful youth development approach/programme/initiative. Education alone does not change behaviours, nor do scare tactics have long lasting effects towards reducing teen pregnancy and safe sex.

I like talking about the difficult topics (‘real speak’). For the past eight years I have enjoyed my contribution to Radio ZM’s Sealed Section late night podcast team as the resident ‘sexologist’. Sealed Selection confronts all sorts of issues and queries providing listeners with relationship tips and information on the human body.

Effective clinical approaches in my role as a clinician in sexual and reproductive health include:

  • quality clinical services

  • partnership with the young person and whānau

  • being linked with other providers in a way that supports young people to navigate the complex health system adults have created the right people being caring and approachable from reception to the consultant (multidisciplinary).

It’s been such a privilege to have walked alongside so many different people through my capacity as a registered nurse which has taken me into many areas in the health, community and education sectors.

My roles have included: executive officer for the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health; project managing Healthy Eating Healthy Action (HEHA) initiatives with youth populations within the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB), and being the lead writer of the ADHB’s Youth Health Improvement Plan 2010-2015. Furthermore, I held an interim role as the programme leader of the Bachelor in Human Services, Youth Studies major at The University of Auckland.

Role at Le Va
My title is special projects, which means my role within the Le Va team is determined by a variety of needs required. Currently I am part of the FLO programme. Within the programme I support, manage, monitor and evaluate 17 community-funded initiatives which address Pasifika suicide.  

The FLO programme is the first Pasifika Suicide Prevention programme in the country and is part of the Waka Hourua, a joint programme for suicide prevention in Māori and Pacific communities delivered by Te Rau Matatini and Le Va. Waka Hourua responds directly to the expectations of the Ministry of Health’s New Zealand Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013-2016. Other important facets to the FLO programme includes: FLO Talanoa, Le Va’s free, train the facilitators education workshop, FLO resources including our new video B.R.A.V.E.

Being a nurse in a workforce development centre
Le Va has set one of its key priority’s as relationships – hence ‘Le Va’ aka ‘the sacred space between’. With this in mind we also need to consider the ata mai (from you, to you), what we offer up into the Va (space between) is critical and often precipitated to nurturing relationships. As a nurse, this sits perfectly with my personal and professional life values so working for Le Va aligns with my own ways of being.

The skillsets I bring, are based on my clinical experience, policy writing, programme and project management, health promotion, teaching and facilitation skills.

Future aspirations
I want to continue serving in the community, sharing good information and creating opportunities for others to enhance their growth and development.

Key messages for nurses about how they can bring about change

  • Work in the areas you are passionate about, i.e. specialty, people.

  • Take every opportunity to capacity build, i.e. post grad studies.

  • Keep a healthy balance of career, family, recreation.

  • Don’t be defined by your title. Some of our best work (using our skills sets) comes in everyday relationships, supports, voluntary work, church, sports (for example, the manager of your child’s team), etc.

I believe that the most important thing of all is He tāngata he tāngata he tāngata – It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.

In April 2016 Le Va will hold its third GPS – Growing Pasifika Solutions – conference. The theme will focus on young people. For more details go to the Le Va website. You don’t want to miss out on this progressive and exciting meeting, which will be co-created with young people.