Wiremu Nia Nia is a tohunga and matekite known for his mahi wairua and knowledge of traditional healing practices. Nurtured and taught under the guidance of his Kuia, Te Awhimate Nia Nia in mahi wairua, and formally trained in mental health and wellbeing, he combines cultural and clinical knowledge to help bring healing and wellbeing to people.
Wiremu has taken on various roles throughout his life, including shearing, fencing, scrub cutting, and music. He is a talented songwriter and a proud Māori activist. During his teenage years, he had close ties to a gang and spent some time in prison. However, coming through this experience ignited a lasting passion for helping at-risk youth.
In 2000, he began studying Oranga Hinengaro - Māori Mental Wellbeing at Te Wānanga o Raukawa and joined the Māori Cultural Therapy and Assessment team in Gisborne. After completing his training, he relocated to Porirua to take on the role of cultural therapist at Te Whare Marie ki Puketiro. During this time, he worked as a Māori mental health provider, offering support to community members facing mental health challenges and spiritual distress.
In 2010, Wiremu approached Allister Bush, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, to collaborate on a book describing different approaches to Māori healing. The book Tatai Hono: Stories of Māori Healing and Psychiatry presents the key concepts that Wiremu applies in his work. In 2014, the unpublished manuscript won the prestigious Ashton Wylie Book Award and was subsequently published in 2016.
To this day, Wiremu continues to share his knowledge. Alongside his wife, Lesley Nia Nia, they established a school to help develop matekite and train Mahi Wairua practitioners. He also takes opportunities to present at conferences, seminars, workshops and symposiums internationally and nationally.