Monique Heke is a Kahungunu wahine who works hard in the community supporting whānau, hapū and iwi.
She was raised by her grandparents Bill and Rangi Stirling who instilled in her their fine work ethics and values that she continues to live by today.
Married to Henry Heke, who is also big in whānau, hapū and iwi development, the couple are dynamic to say the least, and their two daughters Keita (13yrs) and Mahinarangi (9yrs) make a beautiful whānau.
Monique has worked for Te Puni Kōkiri since 2008 where she started as the office administrator and slowly worked her way into her former role as Senior Advisor where she led the Oranga Marae and Māori Housing Network Repairs programmes.
In that role, she developed relationships with whānau, hapū and marae by helping whānau work through opportunities for advancement.
"My aspiration for Māori is that all Māori feel connected to our beautiful culture; to Te Ao Māori; to our reo; to their whakapapa; to their marae; hapū; and Iwi; and that Māori are creating and supporting pathways of rangatiratanga / self-determination for each other", Monique said.
Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) is the Principal Policy Advisor to the government on Māori outcomes.
Earlier this month TPK adopted a new operational model that has seen a few personnel changes in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti Region.
Two changes include the name change from Regional Manager to Regional Director and the establishment of a new position called Manukura (Team Leader).
Monique was recently appointed as the Manukura for the region and her role will be to provide leadership to the team who are responsible for supporting Iwi, hapū and whānau engagement as well as implement regional plans through the brokering engagement & co-design of solutions between government agencies, NGO's & iwi, hapū & whānau.
Monique will be responsible for gathering community level intelligence on needs, issues and opportunities; and will administer regionally-applied funds.
In her new role, Monique will work more closely with the Regional Director – Mere Pohatu, as they see more changes roll out.
"I am looking forward to the challenge of this new role", Monique said.
"This is where personal growth truly occurs - when you are pushed out of your comfort zone".
Monique and husband Henry Heke featured on My Kitchen Rules in 2015. As busy as they are, the couple love spending time with whanau, and the gatherings always revolve around good food.
Monique has 10 siblings so their gatherings are huge and a great time to catch up with each other. After a 10 year break, Monique recently picked up her squash racket and she's loving it.
She attends a Paepae Kahukuranui wānanga where she is surrounded by Te Reo Māori, whakapapa, karakia and waiata to help deepen her connection with her hapū and the community of Omahu where she is from.
He aha te mea nui o tēnei Ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.
Ko Puketapu tōku Maunga
Ko Ngaruroro tōku Awa
Ko Omahu tōku Marae
Ko Ngati Hinemanu, Ngai te Upokoiri ōku hapū
Ko Ngati Kahungunu tōku Iwi
Ko Paul Hakiwai raua ko Yvonne Stirling ōku Matua
Ko Henry Heke tōku hoa rangatira
Ko Keita raua ko Mahinarangi āku tamariki
Ko Monique Heke ahau
Tēnā tātou katoa,
Puketapu is my mountain,
Ngaruroro is my river,
Ngati Hinemanu, Ngai te Upokoiri are my sub-tribe,
Ngāti Kahungunu is my tribe,
Paul Hakiwai and Yvonne Stirling are my parents
Henry Heke is my husband
Keita and Mahinarangi are my daughters
I am Monique Heke
Greetings to you all