Jean Te Huia, or "Nanny Jean" as she is affectionately known, epitomises what it is to have community spirit.

She has dedicated countless hours to others, started a number of initiatives and is a champion in the Maori community.

As a result, Mrs Te Huia has been nominated for the Pride of New Zealand community spirit award.

Mrs Te Huia has many strings to her bow.


She is a nurse, an author, a chef, a midwife, an employer, a nanny, a wife, a mother and a friend.

Although her view is not always shared by others, when it comes to the Maori community's rights and needs she has to make sure that their voice is heard.

This means she spends a lot of her time and energy working against the current.

"Being pro-Maori is my greatest resilience. I know what my challenges are, go around negative people if I have to and continue to forge ahead," she said.

Mrs Te Huia started a reintegration programme at the Hawke's Bay prison. Her role in this position can range from helping prisoners train for employment, to finding jobs and support networks before they move back into the community.

She has also founded a low-cost community gym in Hastings, complete with the latest training equipment for only $2 a week.

Mrs Te Huia founded a marae in Waimarama where just last week 76 children from the kura kaupapa stayed for seven days.

She was the first Maori woman to complete her Masters in nursing at EIT.


She founded the first Maori midwifery group.

She has raised three daughters and has six grandchildren.

The most satisfying aspect of her work is seeing a baby born into a loving family.

"A happy family is not about having money, it's about loving, caring and accepting."

Mrs Te Huia said none of her success came easily.

"I still have to mow my own lawn," she said.

Her family have become "excellent" cooks as a result of her long working hours.

"My husband and children are very supportive of everything I do," Mrs Te Huia said.

She is known as having an endless amounts of energy having 10 different projects on the go and yet she finds time for everyone including attending a funeral between antenatal appointments and home visits.

As founder manager and owner of Choices Maori Health, Mrs Te Huia ensures that Maori and those in the low socio-economic sector are receiving access to quality health care.

The services are not only free but she refuses to discriminate and makes it clear that all ethnicities are welcome.

Clients are able to access a range of services and referrals into the DHB.

Mrs Te Huia is constantly keeping her finger on the pulse to see the needs and meet them such as hosting a diabetes cooking class and young new mum antenatal classes.

She would often visit homes of new mums where other toddlers are home also and cooped up, bored and possibly being a pain to mum.

From there Mrs Te Huia went on to open a daycare service where these pre-schoolers could attend and learn basic social skills and partake in an early childhood educational curriculum.

The centre is clean and the teachers are qualified.

To make things easier the centre is free to attend, warm meals are supplied and they even have a bus to pick up and drop off the children.

Affectionately known as "Nanny Jean" by the children, she even finds time to attend disco and fancy dress days.

Mrs Te Huia said her proudest achievement in life is raising a happy, healthy whanau.
She is humbled by the nomination.

"It is such a joy that someone thinks I deserve this award, there will be others more deserving but its still wonderful," she said.

The Pride of New Zealand Awards are proudly brought to you by The New Zealand Herald, The Hits and TSB Bank.
Nominations for the 2015 awards have now closed.
To see more stories of our wonderful nominees click here.
For more information on the awards go to the official website.