Neta Smith

Ngati Kuri, Ko Te Aupouri, Ko Ngaitakato, Ko Ngatikahu, Ko Ngati Rehia me Te Rarawa

Ko Neta Smith toku ingoa

Ko Jesse MuruPaenga toku Matua

Ko TePaia tai Puhi roa Maaka toku Whaea

No Oturu / Muriwhenua ahau

Ko Kurahaupo, ko Mamaru, me Tumoana oku tupuna

Ko Maunga Piko, ko Maungataniwha me Whangatautia oku maunga

Ko Te Hiku o te Ika, ko Mataara me Roma oku Marae

Ko Ngai Tohianga te hapu

Ko oku Ngati Kuri, Ko Te Aupouri, Ko Ngaitakato, Ko Ngatikahu, Ko Ngati Rehia me Te Rarawa iwi

No reira tena koutou katoa

Neta's dad hailed from Te Hapua, while her mother originated from Oturu.   When Neta’s father was 30, he experienced mental health challenges. These struggles intensified annually, affecting Neta and her sibling's childhood significantly. During her father’s struggles, Neta’s mother raised all four children, imparting a valuable lesson to Neta and her siblings – the importance of unconditional love, regardless of the life's challenges one faces and the importance of expressing that love.

Growing up was challenging; Neta and her siblings had to be self-reliant for most things, making her value the simpler aspects of life. Material possessions don't hold much significance for her; the well-being of people and family (whanau) is what truly matters.

Neta has a wide breadth of knowledge and experience working in the health sector.  She is passionate about her community and, over the years, has worked hard to retain and increase health services in the Far North. 

Neta had strong role models (Millie Windelborne and Winnie Larkins) who were a guiding light from a young age.  Both women were influential in her life, especially in the early days of her nursing career.

Neta completed her Post Grad Diploma in Business Management – Maori in 2013, Post Graduate Certificate in Nursing Leadership in 2004, a Graduate Certificate in Nursing Practice (Perioperative) in 2001, a Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing) Degree in 1998, and a Comprehensive Registered Nurse in 1994, and she enrolled to become a nurse in 1983. 

Neta has worked for the Kaitaia Hospital, the northernmost hospital, since 1981. She is currently the Operational Manager, a position she has held since 2001 and Service Manager Mid and Far North Mental Health and Addictions from 2015 to 2023.  Neta has also held the following positions: Director of Nursing and Midwifery – NDHB – Sep 05 to Feb 2006, Nurse Manager Surgical Service 1997, Cervical Smear Taker 1992, and Hospital Aid -1981, Contracting partnership – Trading as Manaaki Ngahere - Pest Control / Farming 1990 – 2023.  Neta was also the owner/operator of Whiria Café from 2018-2023. 

Neta is the current Treasurer for the Oturu Marae (she has held this position for 41 years), and other roles she has held: Mangonui Netball Treasurer (14 years), the Coach / Selector for Mangonui Netball (10 years), Player, coach, umpire for Pirates Netball Club, Player Northland Netball, Captain, Kaitaia Tennis and Squash Club (Secretary 2002, Treasurer 2003, 2004 and 2008)

Neta is naturally driven, evident through her involvement in sports from a young age and sporting achievements in Netball, Squash and Triathlon (Iron Maori).  Neta has been recognised for her services as the recipient of the following awards: Dedication to Nursing – during my enrolled nursing training, Hilary Walters Memorial Trophy for dedication to Northland Netball, Volunteer Sports Award – Kaitaia, Liaison Officer – New Zealand Netball Coaching camp, Certificate for Service to Northland District Health Board – Over 25 years’ service to the organisation in 2010.

Neta's leadership decisions are values-led - People First, Respect, Caring, Communication and Excellence- guiding her decision-making, hoping she is making a difference for someone.

Her greatest achievement is her family, her whānau.  Having a supportive husband and loving children makes her incredibly proud. 


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He Rangatira Our Leaders

Ruatau Perez

Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāpuhi

Ruatau Perez is passionate about sharing his knowledge of Whare Wānanga, guided by his own Tūpuna to share an indigenous worldview of health and well-being for modern-day living.

Dr Michelle Levy

Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Mahuta

Michelle has continued to advocate for Māori in psychology throughout her career and is currently the claimant for the Waitangi Tribunal Wai2725 Psychology in Aotearoa claim, which challenges the failure of the crown and its agencies to ensure Māori access to and participation in psychology. 

Dr Jacquie Kidd


Jacquie is more of a quiet leader who usually prefers not to be ‘front and centre’. She was brought up in a mostly Pākehā environment but had a strong bond with her Ngāpuhi kuia (grandmother), Tirohia Amy.

Dr Hinemoa Elder

Ngāti Kuri, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Ngāpuhi

She attributes her success to ‘hard work, determination, and being able to draw from her Māori heritage, synthesising meaning from an indigenous perspective’.