Tania Papali’i

Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki

He toa taumata rau

Courage has many resting places.

Tania is a wahine toa who is committed to reducing the number and impact of youth suicide in Te Tai Tokerau.  She has been employed at Northland District Health Board as a suicide prevention coordinator since 2012 when Te Tai Tokerau was trying to deal with a contagion of youth suicides that created devastation in our communities.

Tania was instrumental in the creation of the Fusion structure, a multi-sector collaboration, that strives to reduce suicide and reduce the harm caused by suicide through utilising whanaungatanga, proactive analysis and intervention.  Fusion still thrives today and, thanks to Tania’s quiet determination and significant leadership, Fusion plays a primary role in suicide prevention work in the Tai Tokerau ki Muriwhenua.

Fusion’s work is to engage with agencies, individuals and communities who can contribute to activities and events that increase resilience for young people in Northland. Examples of the multi-sector collaboration include the development of Playworks Theatre in Education/Drama Programme which delivered the play Matanui (building resilience and reducing vulnerability) and the play UPSTANDER (bullying and family violence prevention).

Matanui reached more than 6000 participants during the two winter programmes.  An independent evaluation showed Matanui to be successful in reaching all its outcomes including empowering rangatahi/youth to seek help and connect to services within their own communities.

The plays were developed with and presented by young people in our communities.  Tania has brought a collaborative approach to all of this work, is adept at garnering support for the cause and unwavering in her advocacy for suicide reduction and ensuring that the issue remains everybody’s business.

Profile By

Ian Mckenzie, New Zealand European, General Manager, Mental Health and Addictions Services, Northland District Health Board

He Rangatira Our Leaders

Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora

Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Tūhoe

Ko te pae tawhiti, whāia kia tata

Ko te pae tata, whakamaua kia tinā

To seek new knowledge as yet unexplored

As the past is purchased by the present


Dr Dianne Wepa

Ngāti Kahungunu

He toka tūmoana he ākinga nā ngā tai

A standing rock in the sea, lashed by the tides (Kawharu, 2008)

Dr Candy Louise Ramarihi Hera Cookson-Cox

Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Uenukukopako, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāi Tahu

Dr Candy Louise Ramarihi Hera Cookson-Cox has been my mentor, colleague and friend for over twenty years, the first Māori nurse to gain a doctorate in education, a rarity in the early 2000’s

Dr Vanessa Caldwell

Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha, Te Rapuwai, Kāi Tahu

“Kāore te kūmara e kōrero mō tōna ake reka”- “The sweet potato does not say how sweet it is.” This whakataukī (traditional proverb) emphasises the value of being humble and is used as the foundatio