Maria Ngawati

Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou

Maria Ngawati has always been dedicated to increasing opportunities within her community in several ways. She believes you can achieve change by using many tools and cross-sector relationships. Her mahi currently focuses on supporting access to education, research, and evaluation, what Indigenous economies mean, and how they can be a lever for change.

She has previously trained as a physiotherapist and has worked in tertiary education and health for 20 years, during which she witnessed issues within both systems. She founded Akomaiway Ltd, which helps students of any age and stage access information about educational pathways. This came about due to her frustration with a lack of understanding. Maria is a mother of five, a PhD candidate studying indigenous advancement, and a small business owner.

Maria is a Founding Member at Indigishare, which uses a tikanga approach to help new and existing Māori experts access small loans. Indigishare was created in response to supporting communities through COVID-19 and aims to revitalise the indigenous economy through koha.

She is also the Chief Executive and Founder of AkoMaiWay, a course and qualification finder based on someone's choice of life, job, or career path. The aim is to help everyone navigate Aotearoa's education system, regardless of where they are starting.


Online mental health support for all


Paakiwaha Interview | Maria Ngawati

Toitū Te Waiora, the Workforce Development Council – Profile

Hāpai Te Hauora – Profile

IndigiShare - Guest article with Maria Ngawati

He Rangatira Our Leaders

Mere Balzer

Tūhourangi, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui, Maniapoto

As a leader Mere surrounds herself with people from all walks of life. Mere utilises their skills to accelerate Māori aspirations to lessen the health disparities among Māori.

Dr Chellie Spiller

Ngāti Kahungunu

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

Kerri Butler

Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi

Kerri Butler is experienced in supporting and leading programmes around mental health first response and restrictive practice intervention. She sees mental health work as an opportunity to "make a difference in a field that she is passionate about."

Coral Wiapo

Ngāti Whātua

Coral Wiapo is dedicated to making significant contributions to improve Māori healthcare. She is passionate about developing the necessary skills, knowledge, and expertise to support the development of the nursing workforce to be able to respond to the needs of Māori. Coral recognises the intersectionality of being wahine Māori, a nurse and a lesbian and strives to give visibility to the strengths that are inherent within this.