Mai te maunga o Rangiuru, ka paitawhiti taku titiro atu ki te rāwhiti. Mē te aumihi atu ki te Whānau-ā-Kai, Ngāti Kahungunu, Whakatōhea me Ngāti Porou. Mai tō uniana kua tipu he ringa raupā rongomaitawhiti, he rangatira ngākau māhaki ko Louise Ihimaera tōnā ingoa. Ka mihi.
It is a privilege to share about an industrious, innovative leader whom I have learnt much from and have had the honour of working alongside for 18 years. Passionate about quality Māori mental health and addiction services, innovative workforce programmes, solutions-focused and absolutely determined are the words that first come to mind about Louise.
When I first met Louise in 2000, she was completing her Māori and Social Policy degree at Massey University as part of Te Rau Puāwai while working full-time in a leadership role in mental health in Hawkes Bay District Health Board and raising eight tamariki. She is petite in stature but large in presence and perspicacity. By this time, Louise had already been working in the mental health sector with tamariki and youth for ten years as a counsellor and social worker.
Louise went on to complete her Master of Arts, exemplifying taha wairua in mental health services while working as a Project Manager at Māori Health in Waikato and then as the Training Portfolio Manager with Te Rau Matatini. While working with Louise at the inception and cutting edge of national Māori mental health workforce development programmes, she never lost sight or passion for ensuring these national programmes were influenced by and ultimately gave back to the workforce. Adding value not only nationally but also regionally and locally was not an easy undertaking. Fortunately, Louise does not settle for easy or mediocre. She strives for the best outcomes for whānau always.
Gains in national Māori Consumer and Kaumātua workforce development, nationally led and locally driven training and workforce programmes, rongoā as an important part of primary care, and establishing the first multi-agency Whānau hub support centre located in a Kura are examples of the many innovative services and programmes that have benefitted from Louise’s vision, fortitude and drive. Louise epitomises that the brightest leaders shine for the benefit of others.
Ko te paki no Ruhi i horahia ki waho.
Ko Hineruhi koe, nāna i tū te ata hāpara.
The fine weather of Ruhi is spread below.
You are Hineruhi, the one who brings about the dawn.
Kirsty Maxwell-Crawford, Tapuika, Ngāi Tai, Nursing Lecturer, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi 2019