My enduring memory of Monica was sitting next to her at the bus stop outside an addiction treatment centre in the early 1980’s saying goodbye to a number of whānau who had been exited from treatment early. Something was intrinsically wrong ...
Monica is a Ngāti Kahunungu wahine toa whose quiet but dogged determination has led to significant kaupapa Māori AOD service development and a thriving movement of recovery whānau across Aotearoa. Her idea to develop kaupapa Māori addiction services at Queen Mary Hospital has inspired many of us over the years to develop services that would best meet the needs of whānau.
She later became a lead innovator in kaupapa Māori gambling services, which she started out of the back of her car when she moved home to Napier. She gathered whānau, hapū and iwi to support the kaupapa, training and inspiring rangatahi, pākeke and kuia kaumātua to become integral to service delivery - many of whom are still doing the mahi she started over 20 years ago.
While Monica has contributed to governance, sat on a number of Māori advisory groups and national boards such as the Alcohol Liquor Advisory Committee and the Te Rau Matatini Trust, her passion still lies with her early training as a therapist.
She continues now as a supervisor and mentor for many in the helping professions, gifting her skills, humour, grace and creativity. Her legacy, carefully crafted over a number of decades is tightly woven into the korowai of kaupapa Māori service development in Aotearoa which will adorn the mahi of generations to come.
The tears of frustration shed at the bus stop that day became a driver to create a difference for Māori and generations to come.
Waiho ra kia tuu takitahi ana ngaa whetuu o te rangi
Let it be one alone that stands among the other stars in the sky1
 Alsop, P., & Te Rau, K. (2016). Mauri Ora - Wisdom from the Māori World. Nelson, New Zealand: Potton & Burton, (p.53).
Te Puea Winiata