Jim has whakapapa links to Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuri, and Waikato Tainui, Ngāti Haua and is blessed with many mokopuna and mokopuna Tuarua. The alcohol and other drug sectors are not unfamiliar to Jim, given his personal experiences in that space and the recovery process that followed in 1991. This set the scene for Jim to give back to others, hence his desire to become an Alcohol and Drug Counsellor.
He initially started mahi at the Christchurch City Mission, then took the opportunity to work at the Taha Māori program at Queen Mary Hospital. This was followed by a period in Mental Health Acute and Community Services, time in Canterbury prisons delivering Alcohol and Drug programs, and then going on to deliver the Community Development Kia Piki te ora o te Taitamariki Suicide Prevention program.
Securing a role as Portfolio Manager, Māori, and Pacific Health with Nelson Marlborough District Health Board in 2005 shifted Jim’s focus from frontline mahi to influencing changes within the system to reduce inequities for Māori and Pacific peoples. Working across several health and social service agencies over the past 25 years, including Disabilities, Older Persons, Aboriginal, Justice and the Public Health sectors in clinical and management roles in Aotearoa and Australia. It is a testament to Jim's commitment to the Hauora sector.
Jim is the current Kaihautū – Chief Executive Officer at Awarua Whānau Services, and he is the first Tane to lead the organisation (he has a 30-year history of Wahine Rangatira at the helm). It is a special honour to be given the opportunity to navigate the pathway forward alongside his Awarua Whānau Services team, who give so much of themselves to ensure all people who engage with the service are supported to achieve life aspirations on their terms.
The following proverb attributed to Pāterangi of Ngāti Kahungunu underpins the ethos of Jim and his team: ‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini, Success is not the work of an individual, but the work of many’ Jim also acknowledges Awarua Whanau Services tuakana Awarua Rūnaka, and nga Wahine Rangatira who saw and realised the vision of hauora for all people within their takiwa and beyond.