Maori women leaders from Rotorua are getting ready for a once-in-a-lifetime brunch with former United States President Barack Obama.
Gina Rangi and Ana Morrison are members of the group Wahine Toa.
The informal group is made up of about 25 Maori women and was set up by Nancy Gilbert, the wife of the former US Ambassador Mark Gilbert.
The Gilberts are hosting the Wahine Toa alongside Obama at a brunch tomorrow in Auckland, said Rangi.
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"When they were in New Zealand Nancy interviewed a group of Maori women who were community leaders and through that process we got together," Rangi said.
"We've developed a network of Maori women supporting each other and giving advice to each other."
Rangi works as the kaiwhakahaere [Maori group manager] at Rotorua Lakes Council and said she was looking forward to talking with Obama.
"Looking at the women and the type of work we do and what he's interested in, the conversation will be around community leadership, community development, how to get people talking to each other and how to get community to work together," Rangi said.
"We're all interested in community development and social development and managing people, but in a range of different ways."
Rangi said she was excited, not nervous, about the opportunity and she would be making the introductory speech at the event.
"I'm just really excited to represent Rotorua. We're doing some amazing, community-led, focused initiatives here. We're doing some things we should be proud of and I want to share them," she said.
"Obama came up from community activism ... and he learned how to motivate people for social justice. The opportunity to talk to someone who had an immense leadership role but was also in his local community is very exciting.
"To have a leader and thinker like him in the room is an incredible opportunity."
Rangi first received an invitation to the brunch last Friday and said she was excited and humbled.
She will be joined by Toi Ohomai's executive director of strategic partnerships and Maori success, Ana Morrison, who did not want to comment.