Lighting a fire under Kaitaia


So when things go wrong there it hurts her. And when she saw an opportunity to turn things around for the better by accentuating the positive there was no holding her back.

"Like many towns and cities across New Zealand, Kaitaia produces incredible talent, people succeeding on their own terms, be that locally, nationally or internationally," she said.

"But Kaitaia's pride took a bit of a beating in 2012. Shocking, angry, sad events from the region reverberated across the broader community.

For many people the question was, 'What can I do?' The answer for me was 'Kaitaia on Fire'."

Kaitaia on Fire, she said, would be a multi-media experiential workshop about challenge, courage, resilience, possibility and success.

"It's about learning from role models who have experienced knockbacks and achieved success and modelling their 'how.' It's about connection and community, and forms a bridge between those who are physically in the community and those virtually connected to it," The "self-professed Kaitaia Kid," now a career and leadership coach, said.

It began from the deeply negative, when Peta, soon after the "breaking news stories of 2012" (particularly of child abuse), began randomly connecting with role models from Kaitaia - Maarama Kamira, the first Maori woman in the Australian Federal Police, Sarah Yeoman, an inspiring leader in the technology sector, and Wynne Pirini, a former Kaitaia College Dux, now an on-line product strategist.

"And it dawned on me, role models are everywhere," she said.

"They are overseas, peppered throughout New Zealand and at the source. They aren't 'just' All Blacks, Silver Ferns or celebrities. They are artists, musicians, nurses, entrepreneurs, techies, scientists, teachers and parents etc. What if we made them more accessible?

Kaitaia on Fire will be delivered to the students of Kaitaia College on Wednesday and Thursday next week, Peta saying it would be a truly international effort.

Participating role models would include college old boy Jayson Norris, now a successful musician based in London, Wellington-based Wynne Pirini and Kaitaia nurse Toni-Melanie Wi, bolstered by a globally-dispersed alumni who were available via social media, curated and facilitated by Peta.

- Northland Age

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