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As the kaitiaki of Mahi a Atua, Te Kurahuna specialises in both the initial training, and the ongoing professional and personal development of the Mataora workforce. Consistent with the concept that collective consciousness produces systemic change, the development of a Mataora workforce is not discipline, profession, sector or role specific. Nor is Mahi a Atua training and practice limited to Māori only. Mahi a Atua wānanga reach across the community, recognising that anyone has the potential to be an agent of change (Te Kurahuna Ltd, 2019).

Meet Our Team

Your Instructors, Teaching Team and Art Community

We are excited to bring innovation and creativity to a wider community, locally, regionally, nationally and now internationally. Te Kurahuna community spans a multitude of community spaces. A wide range of Mataora are stakeholders in your success in learning about Mahi a Atua. As a learner, you’ll interact with:

Puna Matatau / Instructors

Te Kurahuna Ltd is a collaborative partnership between husband and wife – Mark and Dr Diana Kopua who are experts in their respective fields. Mark and Dr Di are co-founders and co-directors of Te Kurahuna Ltd.

Puna Tauira/ Teaching Team

Receive support from a team of Mataora with Mahi a Atua facilitation expertise. These experienced practitioners are present to guide discussion, foster peer connection and provide feedback on your assignments.

Puna Toi / Art Community

Be inspired by our Mahi a Atua art community who can help expand your creative thinking. During wānanga our moko artists, romi romi practitioners, performing artists, poets, story tellers and creative thinkers will be available to engage with.

Meet our Team

Mark Kopua

Mark was raised in Mangatuna, by his old people and is considered a historian by his East Coast tribes of the North Island in New Zealand; Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngāti Ira and Ngāti Porou. He was the master carver for several meeting houses both on the East Coast as well as in the lower North Island. He and a small group of moko artists are responsible for the reinstatement of moko into New Zealand society.  Mark has been employed in many national and international roles and one unique role has been to provenance artefacts. For many years he was a board member of the national Māori art advocacy, Toi Māori. He has trained several moko artists and continues to work as a moko artist and design consultant in addition to holding the position as a co-director for Te Kurahuna. He is a confident facilitator of whānau hui and his approach to healing is celebrated by communities as he embraces his unique skills as a storyteller and keeper of ancient Māori knowledge and whakapapa.  

Dr Diana Kopua

Diana is of Ngāti Porou descent although raised in Porirua under the umbrella of Ngāti Toa.  In 1990 Diana began her journey in the health industry, training first as a nurse.  Diana developed Mahi a Atua in the mid-90s and then in 2002 studied medicine at the University of Otago. In 2014 she completed her specialist training in psychiatry and is a Fellow of the Royal Australia New Zealand College of Psychiatry. Mahi a Atua was embedded into several services and it became the philosophy behind the ground-breaking Te Kūwatawata service and Te Hiringa Matua (a parenting and pregnancy service working with families struggling with addictions). These services aim to address institutional constraints that impact negatively on Māori.  Diana was the Clinical Lead for both these services in their inception and development. Diana continues to lead change through her collaboration with her husband Mark Kopua and together they are growing a collective of Mataora (change agents who are trained in Mahi a Atua) who work to indigenise their respective communities of practice. 

Bronwyn Williams

Bronwyn Williams comes from many iwi in Te Tairāwhiti but claims Te Waihirere as her


Bronwyn returned home to Te Tairāwhiti from south Auckland in 2012 after engaging in
mauri ora training with Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa and following a pathway into rongoā
under the encouragement of Mate Tihema and Hineterā Jones which grew her desire to
reconnect with her own whenua.

In 2013 as part of that reconnection journey she started at Toihoukura: School of
Contemporary Māori Arts and completed her BA in Māori visual arts in 2015.

She was introduced to Mahi a Atua in 2016 when she applied for mahi with a
pēpi/parenting/whānau kaupapa named Te Hiringa Matua in Te Tairāwhiti. The attraction to
this Mataora position came from personal experience but also the value that is placed on
Māori, art and artists as part of the community healing pathways.

Bronwyn then went on to work for the kaupapa designed by Tohunga Mark and Dr Diana
Kopua, Te Kūwatawata ki Tūranga which offers not just a gateway for people in distress but
evidences greater outcomes for Māori.

Inspired by the vision of Dr Diana Kopua, Tohunga Mark Kopua and Mataora ki te Tairawhiti
who were engaged in weekly Mahi a Atua wānanga with Te Kurahuna and all practicing the
3 principals Bronwyn set out to deepen her understanding of the kaupapa thus, becoming
the first employee for Te Kurahuna.

Bronwyn continues to work for Te Kurahuna and actively practices the 3 mātāpono of Mahi
a Atua. In the 3 years of employment has witnessed not only her own growth but that of the
the old and new Mataora that continue to grow this kaupapa.

Shelley Mitchell

Ko Hikurangi me Maungahaumia ōku Maunga
Ko Waiapu me Waipaoa ōku awa
Ko Putaanga me Mangatu ōku Marae
Ko Ngati Porou me Te Aitanga a Mahaki ōku Iwi
Ko Shelley ahau. 

This blaze genius is a very much a people person with strengths in leadership and connection. This gave Shell the edge to her role as a Matataki for Te Kūwatawata ki Turanga. Her pursuits for a B.A in psychology does not override the fact that this wahine just loves to get out there and make a difference for people, through people with fun and variety. 

Hinemoa Jones

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tūoho koe me he maunga teitei.

Hinemoa is of Māori (Te Arawa, Tainui) and Pākehā descent. She is a story teller, an educator of Māori language and a facilitator of the traditions of the whare tapere: i.e: Māori games, raranga, karetao (Māori puppetry). Hinemoa has worked alongside James Webster in the revival process of Karetao Māori and has performed in karetao performances both nationally and internationally.

Hinemoa is an active advocate and fluent speaker of te reo Māori. She has taught Māori language programs under the mantle of Te Wānanga o Aotearo and Te Whare Tāhuhu Kōrero o Hauraki as well as teaching night classes in Colville, north Coromandel.

Hinemoa has also worked as an art teacher and is passionate about delivering Māori kaupapa in exciting and innovative ways. She has facilitated and led workshops on a variety of Māori arts. Her goal is to help others connect with their taha Māori through relationship and experiences with taonga tuku iho.

Kirsten Brown

Ko Pukeamaru te maunga 
Ko Karakatuwhero te awa
Ko Horouta te waka
Ko Paerauta te marae
Ko Te Whanau a Te Aopare me Ngāi Tamakoro ngā hapū 
Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi 
Ko Kirsten Brown tōku ingoa 

Kirsten came into the Te Kurahuna Team whilst studying a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Commercial Law. Kirsten has grown with experience in her understanding of accounting practices. She is a straight talker who has an eye for detail. Kirsten displays poise and knowledge beyond her years. 

Jana Hihi

Ki te taha o tōku mama, he uri ahau no Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, me Te Whānau a Apanui. Ko te whānau Tuhiwai, te whānau Ruru, me te whānau Paora hoki.
Ki te taha o tōku papa, he uri ahau no Ngai Tāmānuhiri, me Ngāti Kawa hoki. Ko te whānau Mokena/Pohatu, me te whānau Ahipi (Ashby) hoki.

For the last 12 and a half years, Jana had been working for Ngāti Porou Hauora (now known as Ngāti Porou Oranga) in Administration with a huge passion to help and support whānau navigate their way through the western health system. Her recent mahi with Te Hiringa Matua, introduced Jana to Mahi a Atua, and the impact of this has motivated her to continue her exploration of her whakapapa and reignite some of the lost traditions of mahi toi back into her whānau that were once very ripe.
"Ma te huruhuru, ka rere te manu"

Kelly Burns

Ko Whetumatarau rāua ko Maungakaka ōku maunga
Ko Awatere rāua ko Waipapa ōku awa
Ko Hinerupe rāua ko Matahi O Te Tau ōku marae
Ko Te whanau a Hinerupe rāua ko te whanau a Tuwhakairiora ōku hapū
Ko Ngāti Porou tōku iwi
Ko Kelly ahau 

In 2010 Kelly qualified as a registered nurse in Gisborne and began her nursing career in Te Tairawhiti.  For 12 years she worked in the general surgical ward.  Whanau Māori has always been her passion and for those years as a nurse she strived to provide Māori with the best possible care.  However, none of that passion or mahi was changing health outcomes for Māori, the statistics remained terrible! 

Kelly left the job she thought she would have forever to undertake a new journey with Te Kurahuna, a kaupapa she had heard about and saw as a light at the end of the tunnel for her people.  Working within Te Kurahuna and utilising the principals of mahi a atua has given her the strength to reclaim her Maoritanga and renewed her hope for our people . 

Peni Niwa

I te taha o toku Mama
Ko Pukehapopo to maunga
Ko Waiomoko te awa
Ko Whangara-mai-Tawhiti te marae
Ko Waho-te-Rangi raua ko Whitireia  ngā marae
Ko Wahakapi te hapū
Ko Ngāti Konohi te iwi

I te taha o toku Papa
Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Waitara te awa
Ko Kairau te marae 
Ko Hungaririki te whare
Ko Te Atiawa te iwi 

Hana Nepia

Ko Pirongia, Ko Taupiri, Ko Te Ramaroa o Kupe ngā Maunga
Ko Waipa, Ko Waikato, Ko Whirinaki ngā Awa
Ko Waikato Ko Ngaa Puhi ngā Iwi
Ko Ngāti Maahanga, Ko Ngāti Whaawhakia, Ko Te Hikutu ngā Hapū
Ko Te Kaharoa, Ko Te Kauri, Ko Pa Te Aroha ngā Marae
Ko Ngaruawahia tōku kainga noho. Kei Piripane i Te Whenua Moemoea tōku kainga

Kassidy Pupuo

Ko Aoraki , Whangatauaatia me Orowhana ngā Maunga
Ko Waitaki me Rangiheke ngā Awa
Ko Takitimu, Uruāo  me Ngātokimatawhāorua ngā Waka
He mokopuna nō Kāitahu whānui me Ngā Maunga Tūpuna ō Muriwhenua
Ko Kāi Te Ruahikihiki, Kāti Māmoe, Te Pahi me Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngāi Takoto, Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa ngā Hapū.

Kass was raised in Ōtepoti- Te Waipounamu. Educated within Te Aho Matua at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori ō Ōtepoti under the tutelage of Ngāi Tūhoe Tohunga Ringatū and the wider Ōtākou Hāpori.

Kass started Māori Studies at Te Whare Wānaka ō Ōtakou at the age of 16 and by 19 her journey led her into Tourism and Marketing. Kass is now residing in Brisbane, Australia and after working 6 years in the Sales and Marketing Industry found herself on Maternity leave with her 3rd pēpi reflecting on her passion for Te Ao Māori and how she could re-indigenise her space and way of living for her whānau. In June 2021 Kass became a part of the Te Kurahuna Team and fell in love with the Mahi a Atua way of being!

Hinewaipounamu Rangihuna

No Te Araroa, Tikitiki, Rangitukia, Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Aitanga a Hauiti whakawhiti atu ki Waikato.

Meet Hinewaipounamu, a remarkable individual who embodies the spirit of Te Ao Māori and excels in the world of sports. Hailing from a Māori upbringing in Kura Kaupapa Māori and Kohanga reo, she has a deep-rooted connection to her culture and carries it with pride. With a burning passion for sports, Hinewaipounamu has risen to become a world champion in Waka Ama, showcasing her exceptional skills and determination. Now, she joins our team, bringing her expertise in both Te Ao Māori, information technology and marketing, providing invaluable support in these fields. Hinewaipounamu's diverse talents and rich cultural background make her a truly valuable asset to our team.

Lisa Cherrington

Ko Tokerau, ko Parakioreore ngā maunga
Ko Taumārere, ko Maruarua ngā awa
Ko Hineāmaru raua ko Kawiti ngā tūpuna
Ko Ngāti Hine, ko Ngāti Kahu o Torongare ngā hapu
Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi
Ko Lisa Cherrington ahau

Raised under the korowai of Rangitāne in Palmerston North, Lisa also has Niuean, Samoan and Irish whakapapa. She is a novelist, scriptwriter, māmā to two boys, and is also a regular Iron Māori competitor. Lisa was first introduced to Mahi a Atua by Dr Di in the late 1990’s whilst working as a clinical psychologist at Te Whare Marie in Wellington. She has continued to advocate for and utilise pūrākau and Mahi a Atua throughout her career and attended her first Rangi Parauri training in 2022 when she joined the Te Kurahuna team as a Mataora.

Jordyn Baker

Ko Putauaki, ko Titirangi me Puketohunga ngā Maunga
Ko Ōrini, ko Ūawa me Taumarere ngā Awa
Ko Mātaatua, ko Horouta me Ngātokimatawhaorua ngā Waka
Ko Ngāti Awa, ko Ngāti Porou me Ngā Puhi ngā Iwi
Ko Ngāti Hikakino, ko Ngāti Kahukuranui me Ngāti Manu ngā Hapu
Ko Puawairua, ko Hinemaurea ki Mangatuna ngā Marae.


Chaeli Manuel

Matua, Tama, Wairua Tapu, Anahera Pono me te Māngai, āe.

Ka tū taku waewae katau ki rō ngā wai riporipo o te awa o Waiapu, o te moana o te Waitemata anō hoki. Ko Ngāti Porou ko Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei e tū nei, e karanga nei.

Ka tū taku waewae katau ki rō ngā wai tuku kiri o taku awa tupua o Whanganui tae atu ki ngā wai tiehuehu o Whangaehu. Ko Te Atihaunui-ā-Pāpārangi ko Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa e tū nei, e karanga nei.

I tipu mai a Chae ki te paa o Ratana i raro i ngā tikanga o te uru. Ko Chaeli-Tequila Manuel tēnei.


Skye Pohio

Ki te taha o toku papa no te whanau Timu
Ko Kahuranaki te maunga.Ko Poukawa te waiu.Ko Ngai te Rangikoianake te hapu.Ko Kahuranaki te marae Ko Ngati Whatuiapiti te Iwi.Ko Ngati Kahungunu te korowai
He uri ahau o Ngati Rakaipaaka tuturu i matua raua tahi no te whanau Mataira
Ko Moumoukai te maunga teiteiKo Maehe tona hoa Ko Waitirohia me Nuhaka Ngā awa, e mirimiri ana tawa roheKo Manutai te maraeKo Ngati Kauaha te hapūKo Takitimu te waka Ko Te Matenga Tukareaho te tangataKo Arataiaha te wahi kaori i hokiKo Rakaipaaka te IwiKo Kahungunu te Iwi Whanui 

Skye comes from a Customer Service Administration background work within the the Ministry of Education in the ECE team doing the kohanga reo licences, AA Insurance in the Call Centre which she loved that mahi, and also the DHB Maori mental health administrator. 
Skye is truly blessed and grateful to have this opportunity to be working in this amazing space.   
Mā whero, mā pango ka oti ai te mahi


Tania Barbarich

Ko Karioi, ko Te Kaokao-roa-o Patetere, ko Rangipaoa nga maunga

Ko Waikato, ko Rapurapu, ko Hāparapara nga awa

Ko Tainui raua ko Mataatua nga waka

Ko Poihākena, ko Ukaipo, ko Otuwhare nga marae

Ko Ngati Koata ki Whaingaroa, ko Ngati Kirihika, ko Te Whanau a Rutaia nga hapū

Ko Tainui, ko Ngati Raukawa, ko Te Whanau a Apanui nga iwi

Ko Whaingaroa raua ko Omaio nga moana

Ko au te uri o nga whanau Kereopa, Whaiapu me Wharepapa

Ko Tania-Lee Whetu-Ote-Haahi Barbarich

Tania grew up in Whaingaroa and on the Kaimai ranges and have lived in Turanga nui a Kiwa for over 20 years.  Married her beautiful tane from Motu, Te Aitanga a Mahaki 14 years ago is a Māmā to five babies ranging in ages from 17 years to 1 year old.

Cora Lambert

He uri tēnei No Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana, Ngāi Tūhoe, Waikato, Te Māhurehure, Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi hoki. 

Cora was born and raised in Whanganui a Tara. Living most of her life being the token Māori at school and in most social spaces. From there, she worked mostly in government departments, learning how and what she didn’t want to do. Cora moved to the Waikato in 2014 where her true purpose started to be realized.  

Cora is a Matataki within Te Whare Wānanga o Te Kurahuna. Her qualifications in this lifetime include being a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunty, a niece, a dance fitness instructor, a facilitator, a mauri, a Mataora. Cora’s focus within her role as a Matataki, is to ensure the voices of the tauira and/or whanau who come to Mahi a Atua, are prioritized, while utilizing Mahi a Atua principles and prioritizing Matauranga Māori to navigate our experiences. 

Kia Mataora ai te ao! 

Phoenix Ngata

Titiro whakarunga ki te maunga whakahī i te urunga mai  o te ra,  

Ko whetūmatarau tērā 

E rere atu ra te awa, puta atu ki te kapata kai o kawakawamai tāwhiti  

Ko te Awatere tērā 

Kei reira te marae tieki hapū, 

Ko Hinerupe tērā 

Kei reira hoki te hapū tieki whānau, 

Ko te Whānau a Hinerupe tērā 

Ko wau tēnei, he mokopuna a Paratene Kataumu Ngata, a Hone- Te Ihi, a Paratene Paku, a Rawinia, a Piniha Ngata. 

Ko Phoenix Ngata toku ingoa 


Tēna Koutou Katoa.  

Tiana Matiu

He Uri tēnei nō Te Tai Tokerau.

Ko Maramaru, ko Whangatauatia ōku manga.

Ko Perunui, ko Wairoa ōku awa. 

Ko Motukiore, ko Roma ōku marae. 

Ko Ngāpuhi, ko Te Rarawa ōku iwi.

Ko Te Ngahengahe, ko Parewhero ōku hapū

Nō Motukiore me Ahiapara ahau.

I tipu ake au i Te Raki Paewhenua engari e noho ana au ki Whatuwhiwhi inaianei.

Born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau privileged Tiana in many different ways. She was an avid learner growing up, always excelling in her academia and burying her head in books. In 2015 Tiana had a dream and started making moves towards this vision. Since following her moemoea Tiana has moved to Tai Tokerau with the aim to reconnect with her whenua and inspire her whānau to bring their skills and knowledge back home. 

Setting up Te Kuwatawata in your Community

First Step!

Tēnei te Po, Nau Mai te Ao

So you have decided that your number one priority is to address Māori inequity. Te Kurahuna, using the Mahi a Atua framework, can work with you to improve the quality of your organisation.

Being informed of the evidence is the first step to improve services. We all struggle to keep up with all of the information available to us, be it articles, evidence reviews, blogs, tweets or messages. The easiest way to keep up with best practice in your area of interest is to use a source you can trust. Our guidance is that source. 

Second Step!

Ka mā te Ariki Ka mā te Tauira

Anyone can take a lead. To lead is to take action and show others that change is possible. The best place to start when making change is to consider how you can change your own way of working. Take the initiative and then share what you find out with your colleagues. 

Use our guidance to get conversations started. Having this guidance gives you authority when explaining the changes you want others to make.

In some organisations you might be part of a team responsible for putting guidance into practice or improving quality. Or you might be working across many organisations and sectors and have the opportunity to connect people and share the knowledge you have gained from our guidance. If you have the vision and can clearly communicate it, you can make a difference.

Third Step!

Hongihongi te Wheiwheiā

Before you start planning changes to services or implementing new guidance, you need to understand how the service works at the moment. This is your baseline and can be used to measure the effect of any changes you make.

You might do this as part of a team or you can start by looking at your own area of responsibility or experience.

You can find out about how the service works in lots of different ways. Informal discussions, online questionnaires, wānanga or a review of local policies and procedures could help. Remember to look outside of your organisation and see how your service fits into the wider community.

One of our whānau was moved by her Mahi a Atua experience and wrote this kōrero tairitenga:

Innate shapeshifting
Mai Hawaaiki, from hawaaiki we unfurl
Ki Hawaaiki, to all the way back there again
And again
And again
So I’m out here driving my ancestral superhighway
Without a driver’s license
Helm of my own waka
Beneath the stars
Beacons of cultural navigation that traverse ions of time
But I’m not yet confident to read
Or maybe it’s trust
Or maybe a type of spiritual dyslexia
That I feel connection
As sure as my pulse
I am my ancestors
Mahi a Atua is a refuge
A space to make sense of the murkiness
A place where we shapeshift between rehutaitanga and hukuataitanga
And then harness the confidence to take it out for a spin.

By Dayle Takitimu 14.06.2017

Who we sponsor & support

  • Horouta Waka Hoe

  • Ngati Porou East Coast Rugby League

  • Givealittle - Brightwell whānau cyclone Gabrielle

  • Givealittle - Waewae 35

  • U15 National Basketball Ngati Porou Poneke

  • Jackson Bell Basketball trip to USA

  • 3 Families in Te Kurahuna Air b&b for 5 weeks. Flood relief

  • Hinewaipounamu Rangihuna Waka ama worlds NZ team captain

Important questions...

  • Exactly what happens now?
  • Where does it happen?
  • What resources are being used?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What do people say about their experience?
  • What impact does it have on them?
  • What outcomes are you measuring?
  • Are these outcomes important to whānau or people using services? 

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