Wintec is delighted and extremely proud to share that Hera White, the organisation's former Pouarāhi Māori was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the Queen's Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours 2022.
Hera, who retired from Wintec in March 2021, left the organisation with a 36-year legacy of learning and inspiration. Hera joined Wintec back in 1985, as a part time tutor in Māori Affairs, Māori trade training. She then went on to work as Māori Liaison Officer then Head of Māori Studies. In 2003, Hera became the first Pouarāhi Māori at Wintec, a role she held until retiring.
Hera is considered one of the original pioneers of senior executive Māori positions in the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP) sector when there were very few, if any Māori leaders. During her time at Wintec, Hera pioneered initiatives to improve the success of ākonga Māori (learners) in tertiary education and keep te reo Māori alive and accessible for people from across Aotearoa.
Leon Fourie, Wintec/Toi Ohomai Transitional Executive Lead and Dave Christiansen, Te Pūkenga ITP Transitional Lead, are proud to see Hera acknowledged in this prestigious way. "Hera held enormous mana and is very deserving of this honour. She made a sustained and significant contribution to shaping Wintec over so many years and was instrumental in helping make Wintec what it is today. Hera carried significant responsibility on her shoulders for many years in her efforts to support and empower our Māori kaimahi and ākonga; to drive cultural change across Wintec; and to protect and build our reputation with Iwi and Māori, regionally and nationally," said Leon and Dave.
Former Wintec board Deputy Chair Margaret Devlin said the board was absolutely delighted to support Hera’s nomination. "We are extremely proud that Hera has been recognised in this way. Her contribution to Wintec has been amazing and this recognition of that contribution is so very well deserved,” said Margaret.