"My life's been a little bit squiggly, straight then squiggly again."
Thanks for that Ana Morrison, Our People couldn't have bettered your definition of your 39 years.
One of Te Arawa's new breed of women business leaders, it's tempting to brand her a high flyer, but Ana's far too grounded for that; she's a woman with a cause, the sort who cuts to the chase, a 'do-ie not a hui' type whose purpose is to get on with whatever she tackles without fuss or fanfare.
Reluctant to define herself we turn to others; one enthuses she's inspirational, an online contributor calls her 'super-diverse'.
For confirmation we turn to a CV that's weighty on words like 'governance', 'transformational change', 'stakeholder management', 'strategy development and delivery'.
A realist, she agrees that's quite some mouthful but, distilled, it's one that encapsulates the working life of this woman who wears such an extensive korowai (cloak) of iwi responsibility.
The trait's inherited, her dad's kaumatua Monty Morrison; former teacher, entrepreneur (think Lakeside and similar community events) and is now the council's kaitiaki Maori leader (Our People, March 1, 2014). Her mother's former teacher Cath Morrison.
Ana's been around the employment traps locally and internationally and is recently back from a US Department of State programme focused on global politics and trends for women destined for the international stage. Drawing on Ana's wahine toa (strong woman) qualities, someone dedicated to giving back to her people, she was hand picked for the appointment by the US ambassador's wife.
Ana had barely set foot back in Te Arawa territory when she was appointed to the executive ranks at Toi Ohomai (formerly Waiariki Institute of Technology) as Executive Director Strategic Partnership and Maori Engagement.
She politely accepts for us less corporate types it's one of those titles that demands clarification.
"Put it this way, it's a job where I get to create which is what I love, here I'll be in on the foundation, creating something new."
Encouraging her to rewind to that "squiggly, straight, squiggly" life of hers, she was at primary school when her parents returned to her father's tangata whenua (home roots).
During the bulk of her secondary years she fancied becoming a doctor.
"Then when I was in the 7th form I realised my strength was in words and the written language, not medicine, and thought 'I can make more of an impact in the political management side of things'."
She graduated from Auckland University with conjoined Bachelor of Science and Law degrees.
Hard slog, but what she terms as wonderful years actively involved in Maori student bodies. "That was when I became fully aware of the Treaty of Waitangi and the development of New Zealand's current-day challenges."
The Ministry for Women's Affairs gave her a summer internship. "That really was my introduction into gender issues, women's rights and leadership."
Her first legal role was as a solicitor with Russell McVeigh's Wellington office working on treaty issues, public law and litigation.
By then she'd acquired partner Greg Allen (he's another teacher in the whanau). They met in that most Rotorua of ways for the 1990s; in a spacie parlour. "He was playing Street Fighter, we've been together, growing together since."
Travel topped their future road map heading for London in 2005 via South America where Ana gave thanks for the basic Spanish she learned at Western Heights High. "It meant I could order a beer."
Linguistically, the couple moved on to Portuguese. "We met this Brazilian girl on a bus to Machu Picchu, she invited us to stay, it was an intensive boot camp, we lived like locals, learning to speak like locals."
In London, following two weeks of back-to-back interviews, Ana was taken on by the 1743-founded law firm Freshfields, working in a risk management team loaded with Kiwis and Aussies. "My boss was a Maori girl from Ngai Tahu."
They were exciting times.
"You'd be sitting on the tube in the morning reading in the Financial Times about a firm going broke, later that day you'd be working with them."
From Freshfields Ana moved to American software company BMC "at Ascot, just down the road from Windsor Castle".
She'd been offered a job as in-house lawyer with Breast Cancer UK when pregnancy intervened. It was not planned but a happy surprise.
"We left it until the very last day I was allowed to fly to come home, we wanted to squeeze as much out of our London experience as we could but also wanted our baby to be born on its traditional land."
Their son carries the name Taokahu "the original name for Kuirau lake, it's the land of my husband's hapu".
Ana and Greg married when their son was a few months old - not something she'd recommend to other breast feeding mums. "I spent the day being laced into, and unlaced out of, my wedding dress."
A second son, Reone, joined the Morrison-Allen whanau in 2010 - his name embraces her ancestral links.
Within six months of her elder son's birth she set up her own company, Taokahu Consulting, assisting Maori organisations with policy and project management. It's led to a swag of trust and board appointments.
Ana's the first woman to chair an Ngati Whakaue commercial entity, The Ngati Whakaue Assets Trust, has been an executive team leadership member of Tipu Ora Trust, was involved with establishing Te Arawa Fisheries and "fell into governance at the time of the Central North Island [Treaty of Waitangi] settlement, setting up entities to manage and grow cash assets".
Among the trusts she's involved with is one with a finger in honey. "We got nine barrels to test the market, honey's like wine you have to leave it to mature."
Last year she became a ministerial appointee on the Lakes District Health Board and, until her Toi Ohomai appointment, was an iwi-elected member of the lakes council's strategy, policy and finance committee, representing Te Tatou o Te Arawa.
"It has been challenging, I don't think I'm meant for politics and bureaucracy, I'm much more comfortable in the corporate environment but that's just a matter of personal preference."
Born: Nelson, 1978.
Education: St Peter Chanel, Hamilton "Dad was the principal". St Mary's, Kawaha Point Primary, Kaitao Intermediate, Western Heights High, St Paul's Collegiate, Hamilton (7th form).
Family: Husband Greg Allen, sons Taokahu 9, Reone, 7.
Interests: Whanau. "My interests revolve around my kids and supporting their sport". Women's leadership. Leadership development and mentoring. Travel, wine. "Good wine's top of my pops, I enjoy champagne, pinot gris."
Iwi affiliations: Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Makino; Pakeha.
On Rotorua: "It's the centre of my universe."
On Te Arawa women: "Resilient, innovate, change-makers. These are new, exciting times for Te Arawa women in leadership."
On being a Morrison: "I can't sing."
Personal philosophy: "Mine changes all the time, at the moment it's leadership, paying it forward."