BACKGROUND STORY

Kia ora & welcome! My name is Mana, I’m a Policy worker at the Ministry of Social Development in New Zealand, a Masters student at Massey University, and Group Fitness Instructor at Les Mills. This is a collection of my personal life experiences collated into a series of blogs.

Since January 2017 I began to blog about my life with the aim of trying to make sense of this crazy and chaotic world.

After growing up in the state care system in Blenheim, I later moved to the earthquake shook city of NZ, Christchurch. Just like any regular teenager, I went to high school, fell in love, had all those monotonous teenage angst experiences… but I also had the luck as a 16-year old of helping to advise Ministers and senior government officials on how they could rapidly design and restructure an old-lumbering ministerial organisation known as CYFS (or Child Youth and Family) into what is now known as Oranga Tamariki – the Ministry for Children, a children’s agency that affects the lives of over 6,500 children and young people at any one time, and communities in every class and cluster in New Zealand.

It was clear to me then that my voice (while in itself was not really that influential at all) could help encourage and inspire people at every level in every forum (including govt officials, iwi Māori organisations, children, young people and their families, and politicians) to recognise that people’s voices, particularly those who do not have a voice (like children), can really help shape and drive decisions that can lead to better more equitable outcomes for them, the out-of-touch/cold system’s that are determining their outcomes, and the way in which communities care about people without a voice.

After moving to Wellington I studied architecture and commerce at Victoria University. I later started working for Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children, and a couple of charities that advocate for the voices of children and young people, as well as a mental health not for profit which supports people struggling with grief, loss, and trauma.

I’m now the Deputy Chairperson for the board of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai (https://voyce.org.nz) and have the privilege of continuing to make sure that individual voices don’t get lost in the politics and nonsense of systems which are supposed to be there to make their lives better, and to ensure that one day all people will be able to self-determine their own life outcomes without any strings attached.

At a high level, the things that I like to talk about are:

Morals & Values
Daily Experiences
Belief Systems
Social Politics
Social Responsibilities
Daily Rants

Health & Wellbeing
Current Affairs

Here you can also see some of the honest stories other people have shared with me. I hope you can find something to challenge your way of thinking. Please feel free to drop a comment at the end of the respective blog. Otherwise be sure to subscribe to each discussion and follow the WHAT MANA SEES Facebook page here.

Ngā Mihi,
Mana