Don't wait for anyone else to map out your path for you, go after whatever it is you want.
That's the advice Ngāpuhi woman Melanie Smith had for other young wāhine from the iwi - and if anyone knows how to go after what they want, it's her.
Smith is chief executive of billion-dollar revenue UK supermarket Ocado Retail, and she has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the UK New Year Honours for services to retail and the food supply chain during the Covid-19 response.
"I was very surprised, but delighted to accept the honour on behalf of my fantastic team. It was very unexpected, and I have been overwhelmed by the thousands of wonderful messages I have received since it was announced," she said.
While she is now based in the UK, Smith grew up in South Auckland. Her whānau whakapapa to Waima but she didn't discover the north until her parents bought a pub in Kawakawa when she was 14.
"The north is incredible. I spent my summers working in my parents' pub and I loved going to the beaches at Paihia, learning to drive a ute on the gravel roads to Karetu, taking the ferry to Russell for lunch and working in the Tutukaka pub.
"I would hang out at the Hokianga Harbour, camp at Spirits Bay, hike in Puketi and eat fish and chips at Mangonui. Nothing moves me like being at Cape Reinga where the two oceans collide."
In 1993 Smith started a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland.
"I considered becoming a doctor, but I didn't really like the idea of dissecting bodies, so I decided to study law and finance to keep my options open," she said.
Smith said studying law taught her how to be inquisitive. However, the thought of practising commercial law wasn't as appealing, so she decided to enter management consulting.
"I didn't really know what the job entailed, but it seemed to be a great way of learning a lot about business across different industries."
Smith joined global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. She said it had an excellent training programme and they encouraged her to do a Master of Business Administration.
After completing her studies she rejoined McKinsey and travelled all over the world for 12 years, working on every continent.
Smith settled in the UK after meeting her husband, who was French, on a bus in Peru.
He didn't want to move to New Zealand, and she didn't want to move to France.
"I also had a long held dream to travel and live everywhere in the world, so moving to the UK made a lot of sense to me."
Smith has been in London for 20 years and in 2019 she started her role as chief executive of Ocado Retail.
"I love everything about my job, you never know what the day is going to bring. Online retail is pure adrenaline; it moves so fast, we can change so much so quickly and see how customers respond."
Smith said the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge for the business. Customer demand skyrocketed and Ocado had to rapidly increase capacity and ensure processes were being changed to keep frontline staff safe and well.
"We are the only UK grocer to offer weekly Covid tests to all colleagues. I am really grateful to all of our colleagues who have done an amazing job looking after each other."
Smith said the first person she told about the CBE was her husband.
"He is my number one supporter and the person who kept me going last year when
I didn't take a day off for over six months."
Smith's Cable Bay-based parents - Francie and Dennis (Stretch) Smith - were also very proud of their daughter.
"Mum and Dad were over the moon, I am pretty sure they have told everyone they know."
But Smith said her team also needed acknowledging and she had never been more proud or inspired than she is leading Ocado.
"I have an amazing team of 400 people in our head office. They worked seven days a week during the first lockdown and they are rock stars who supported me and each other.
"I also have an incredible network of frontline colleagues working across the UK, including our pickers and drivers who deliver groceries to our customers; their dedication and hard work feeding the nation has been incredible."
Smith's advice for young Ngāpuhi women who might be reading her story?
"Don't wait for anyone else to map out your path for you, go after whatever it is you want. Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei (seek the treasure that you value most dearly, if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain)."