Spirits were high as LinkPeople welcomed its inaugural Māori strategic lead, Ngaio Gillies, into the organisation recently.
The role of Māori strategic lead is to provide guidance and leadership across LinkPeople to help ensure our work and our culture aligns with our goal of equity for Māori as well as reflecting Māori aspirations and perspectives, chief executive Fiona Hamilton said.
Fiona told the guests assembled at the whakatau that while the organisation has undergone significant growth recently, it is still relatively young: “We celebrated four years in December”. Now with a staff of more than 100, the time was right to take stock and lay foundations for people who come through LinkPeople’s doors, Fiona explained.
Māori make up around half of the people LinkPeople supports, making them overrepresented in the homelessness space. “It’s absolutely critical for any organisation that the services we deliver meet the needs of the people we support. The new Māori strategic lead sits at the leadership table and will have influence,” Fiona continued.
Now into her second week with LinkPeople, Ngaio said she is excited about the opportunity to work in an environment that focuses on the inherent right of all people to live in a warm and safe dwelling.
A social change agent, Ngaio said that one of the reasons she applied for the position was to facilitate choice for tangata whenua in need of housing support: “If I can help and assist to make it more accessible for people, that’s what I want to do.”
“I am passionate about providing quality service to all people, but in particular to Māori who are struggling to achieve positive outcomes in almost all aspects of life,” she concluded.