Ko to matou korero: Te Waipuna Puawai

Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy

The korero (story) of Te Waipuna Puawai begins with the Sisters of Mercy. Mercy founder Catherine McAuley opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland in 1827 and founded Sisters of Mercy in 1831.

Having experienced hardship herself Catherine felt called to offer practical assistance to those in need.

What was important to Catherine and remains a guiding force for Te Waipuna Puawai is the commitment to meeting the unmet needs of women, children and the community.

Working together to strengthen women, strengthen families and strengthen community

Te Waipuna Puawai grew out of the work of the Sisters of Mercy and from Mercy house based in Waddell Ave from 1990. In 1999, Te Waipuna Puawai opened its doors in Glen Innes to the Tamaki community, invited by the women of Glen Innes who were looking for support for personal and professional development, with a focus on childcare. Built on the values of respect, compassion, justice, hospitality and mutual enhancement, our vision was to create a space to serve the community, fostering well-being for whānau and restoration of the earth.

At the heart of Te Waipuna Puawai is a respect for the karanga call from the community. Beginning with the wahine Māori who issued the first karanga to the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland, and welcomed them to Aotearoa in 1850, Māori now play an important role in Te Waipuna Puawai, as educators, community leaders and in leadership roles. Over 20 years on and the people we serve remain at the heart of Te Waipuna Puawai. Our values are a guiding force, directing our initiatives, programmes and role in the Tamaki community.

Our Mercy oasis

Te Waipuna Puawai translates to “the mercy oasis” and that vision is an important part of what we do, while centered on our deep connection to Papatūānuku, the land.

Nestled in beautiful wetlands, our Ellerslie house was created as a safe space for women and children who had suffered hardships. Built on land chosen by the community, we have created a beautiful nurturing environment where people can learn, reflect and heal.

Our house in Waddell is a place where the door is always open. By having a community house in the heart of Tamaki, we are able to remain connected to the local community.  It is a place for community gatherings, educational programmes, and where people are always welcomed.

Working in the Tamaki community

Our programmes drive our mission and are set up to actively address the needs of families in the Tamaki community. Currently, these programmes include The HEART Movement; HIPPY; Counselling; Oranga Whenua and Oranga Tangata Initiatives; Whanau/Community Resilience; Financial Well-Being; and a variety of Community Education courses.

We are continually growing and developing our programmes to make sure that they are continuing to provide meaningful value, support and development to community members.

Our whānau

Luke Ryan, Tumuaki, Chair

“Being Ngapuhi and growing up in the Tamaki community, my family and I relied on the same kind of services Te Waipuna Puawai provide, which have shaped me into the person I am today. I felt a calling to play an active role in the Tamaki community so joined Te Waipuna Puawai as a board member, drawing on my skills and experience in Corporate Finance and Technology, as well as running a copywriting business. Being a part of Te Waipuna Puawai has also helped me gain a deeper understanding of my own Maori heritage.”

Nicola Brehaut, Tumuaki Tuarua, Deputy Chair

"A 5th generation New Zealander with a strong background in management, I've been involved with many businesses and organisations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Passionate about community-led development, I came to Te Waipuna Puawai because I was keen to contribute to building stronger communities. I'm proud to support an organisation that's making a difference to the lives of women and their whānau."

Janine Roberts

"Having worked with Te Waipuna  in a professional capacity providing accounting support for a number of years, I was excited about the opportunity to be more involved as a board member. I am passionate about supporting young people, whether through financial education or providing an opportunity to get ahead through services provided by organisations such as Te Waipuna. I look  forward to seeing the community development continue."

Dickie Humphries

"My time living and working in Tāmaki in my 20’s shaped how I see the purpose of community development and how I understand  the ideas of justice, what is right and what is good. TWP views the community with compassion and looks deeply into what is here and what is our potential. I joined the Board because Puamiria Maaka told me many years ago that I had something to offer, and I have been humbly offering back what TWP has taught me over all this time."

Scott Russell

"I have worked at the highest level in private practice, in-house roles and in the government sector.  I started my career in private practice at Bell Gully, before moving to London and Hong Kong with Ashurst. I then moved in-house as Head of Litigation at Virgin Media UK.  On returning to New Zealand, I worked as Senior Legal Counsel at the Commerce Commission before founding Russell Legal.  I have a strong academic background in both business and law having completed an LLB (Hons), a BCom (Economics) and more recently an MBA at Auckland University. I have a unique ability to solve complex legal and commercial problems gained from practical experience working on all sides of the table."

Bill Takerei, Manukura, Chief Executive

"As Chief Executive of Te Waipuna Puawai, I bring 20 years of management experience to my role in assisting the board to achieve their strategic and operational objectives. My fluency in my Maori culture and ability to foster strong relationships helps Te Waipuna Puawai retain itself as a strong community leader in its approach and space of community development. Te Waipuna Puawai is a community provider that has a heart and can reach the community in many ways, something that I’m grateful and proud to be a part of."

Whānau are at the heart of Te Waipuna Puawai. It is the people that enable us to create positive change in our community.

There are many ways that you can be a part of our mission.