Di Grennell

Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri, Ngāi Tahu

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.

My achievement is not that of the individual but the contributions of many.

Grandmother, mareikura, aunty, wife, mum, daughter, friend, wahine Māori .... are just some of the many roles that Di values, prioritises and exemplifies as a Māori woman.

Di is a woman of integrity, reliable and totally dependable.  Relationships are very important to Di and therefore a strong foundation for the way she interacts and behaves as a leader. The relational nature of her leadership ensures that she is considered and intentional in her interactions making sure people are cared for in that process both professional and personal. Tika, pono and aroha underpin her work, especially when she has challenging decisions to make or actions to take. 

Di’s committment and belief in the strength and capability of the whānau collective provide a deep source of motivation as a recognised leader and advocate for whānau wellbeing. Her extensive contribution over many years where she has worked, promoted, researched and written about tikanga approaches to violence prevention have contributed to the Māori and indigenous discourse in this field. 

Her leadership in iwi and community action strategies against whānau violence have challenged western paradigms to create space for Māori collective, strengths based, tikanga ways of analysing, addressing and restoring the impacts of violence. She was a strong advocate for these approaches to be recognised in a mainstream context and their potential are only just being realised and actualised. This was internationally affirmed when work under her leadership was awarded the Annual Human Rights Prize for its innovative approach to addressing domestic violence from the Leitner Centre, New York.   

Di continues to strive to advance the hopes and dreams of our Māori nation so that the transformative potential of mokopuna can be realised for the generations to come.  


Profile By

Dr Moana Eruera

He Rangatira Our Leaders

Jade Sewell

Ngāti Maru, Te Arawa, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Porou

Jade works to drive transformation and innovation within the current health system so that the hauora aspirations of communities are realised.  

Anna Adcock

Ngāti Mutunga

As a researcher and academic, Anna draws on Kaupapa Māori research inquiry paradigms to conduct research to support the health and well-being of wāhine, pēpi, and whānau Māori.

Dr Chellie Spiller

Ngāti Kahungunu

Chellie is a passionate and committed advocate for Māori business development.

Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho, PhD (Psychology)

Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa, Ngāti Pāhauwera, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Samoan, Tahitian, Rarotongan, Native American (Blackfeet), McLaren clan (Scotland), Classen clan (Norway).

It is an honour to be asked to write this bio for my good friend Keri, a respected and renowned Māori leader.