Published in: Kokiri Issue 31 - Huitanguru 2015
Marty Rogers isn’t easily excited. Ask her what she is most looking forward to in her new role as Regional Manager for Tāmaki Makaurau and the community development practitioner can barely contain her fervour.
“I’m excited by the opportunity and potential to work in a role where the focus is on working to Māori, with Māori, by Māori, for Māori,” she says. “Wow, only a short time into my new role and it's fantastic!” she exclaims.
“What am I most looking forward to? Influencing and working with real people — our whānau. That’s the biggest thing, because sometimes in management you can become far removed from the real people, and sometimes you forget just who the heck you are there for.”
Marty, who is of Te Rarawa and Ngāti Kahu descent, has a career steeped in community development — experience she believes will stand her in good stead for her Te Puni Kōkiri role.
“Growing up in a town like Kaitaia you are always acutely aware of the plight of our people. Community development is about identifying what communities say they need, rather than having it dictated to them by external agencies.”
“It’s a bottom-up approach and my former roles were always about supporting the community’s agenda and getting access to the expertise and resources they wanted.”
Relationship development and management, engagement, advocacy, coordination and brokerage are the cornerstones of community development – skills she honed as Chief Executive at Hāpai Te Hauora Tāpui in Auckland.
The organisation was created out of a tripartite agreement involving Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust Board, Raukura Hauora o Tainui and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua.
“The establishment of Hāpai was tremendously important. At a personal level I learned about leadership and how to establish and maintain an organisational infrastructure.”
Marty’s next role was as General Manager Māori Health for the Waikato District Health Board which moved her more directly into the public service.
She moved to Australia and was employed with Baptist Community Services and then Australia Home Care with responsibility for an area stretching from Sydney to the Gold Coast.
She returned home in 2012 and was appointed Māori Manager with Waitematā and Auckland DHB.
Then a turning point occurred at Te Pae Roa 2040 conference in 2014. She heard Sir Tipene O Regan’s retrospective address about Treaty settlements and the importance of moving from grievance to development mode.
“At the time I was feeling hōhā and discontent with things. I realised right then, that development was what I wanted to focus on.”
Marty left the conference ready for change. It wasn’t long after, that she heard about the regional vacancies at Te Puni Kōkiri.
“Even though my experience is largely in health and this role has a much broader agenda, I come to it with a fresh set of eyes and a different analysis that I can apply to issues in Tāmaki Makaurau.”
With an established history already in Tāmaki, she is keen to build new relationships and rekindle old ones.
“I want to focus on relationships and engaging with our people - not on our terms, but wherever they are at. We have to be brave about that. That’s the challenge and that’s my skill.” Marty discovered in her last job that, “many of our kids not only live in economic poverty, but also poverty of aspiration.”
“I want to talk about what we can do to increase peoples’ moemoeā. How do we move to a space of aspiration? How do we raise people’s expectations, — not just of themselves, but of everything and everyone around them? Our people have a right to expect good service and advice; they have a right to expect the best from the agencies that serve them.”
She adds that "once peoples’ expectations rise, they will begin to assert their rights, instead of accepting a bad deal or poor service. If we can do that, then our people can start having aspirations and that is where development truly happens.”
So what does she want to achieve in her first 100 days in the job?
“I want to get our team focus and process nailed; how we are going to work; our accountabilities to each other; how do we interpret what the centre is saying — that’s priority number one.”
“Number two is to focus on our relationships and working out what we need to prepare for the new planning round. Do we have a local investment plan, in either human or financial capital, in place? Those are the types of things I want lined up.”
Although she expects her workload to keep her flat-out, Marty’s lynchpin is always her whānau — her four tamariki and six mokopuna. Then there’s her mum, Waireti Walters and her sister Lisa McNabb who live in Pamapuria and are both well-known identities in the community.