JP, MSW, Dipswk, MANZASW, Registered Social Worker
Pania Coote is a highly skilled and visionary leader in the health and community sectors, renowned for her strategy expertise and for addressing health inequities. With a Masters in Social Work and a career spanning over two decades in leading kaupapa Māori services and initiatives, Pania is a dedicated leader committed to social justice and creating a fair society.
Pania is passionate about driving positive change and continues to address the complex issues affecting the well-being of individuals and communities. She has extensive experience improving Māori health outcomes, policy development, and research. Pania was previously the Head of Policy and Research for the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry; she led a team across the interim reports and oversaw the background analysis to support existing investigations and development of policies related to cases of abuse in New Zealand.
Pania is also the Director of AwhiMai Consultancy, a New Zealand-based business that offers consultancy services in the areas of Māori health, strategy, policy, and research. A key component of their work is undertaking reviews and providing value-added insights and implementable solutions. AwhiMai Consultancy brings together a wide range of experts and leaders within specialised areas.
Additionally, she is one of the founding leaders and currently co-chair of Community Research. Pania plays a pivotal role in facilitating the sharing of research, knowledge, and resources. This platform stores research made by communities, and for communities, it also allows for collaboration between researchers, iwi (tribes), and community organisations.
Pania's upbringing in Bluff, a small coastal town in the Southland region of New Zealand, played a significant role in shaping her identity and passion for her Māori heritage. Through her dual roles as a trustee of Te Rūnanga o Awarua and the mana whenua representative on the Invercargill City Council, Pania actively participates in decision-making processes that work towards improving the well-being and advancement of her people and communities.