Heather Skipworth (Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tahu, Te Arawa) is the visionary behind the IronMāori Movement, a successful Māori health model in New Zealand. The IronMāori Movement started with 300 people in its first year now up to 8,000 people yearly who embrace the IronMāori wero (challenge). Heather has a very encouraging whānau, believing if you have good health life’s opportunities are endless. As a Māori she sees that helping people live healthier and longer lives as her duty and a great passion.
The awards she has won over the past few years are physical reminders of obligations to carry on helping her people. These include 2010 Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, 2011 Marae Investigates Māori of the Year for Hauora (Health), 2012 Kiwibank Local Hero Award, 2014 Aotearoa Māori sports award, 2014 Queens Service Medal, and elected as one of two Māori on to the Hawkes Bay District Health Board.
Innovation or Rennovation?
We are forever looking for the next best thing and the word Innovation will fall on any ear favorably if their desire is to effect change, OR is it that we just lack faith in what we had and that we will hurriedly dismiss Renovation because it isn’t new? Or due to time restraints we would rather spend time on something new, rather than renovate what has worked but a long time ago? Many of our people’s lives have been pre-determined by those who don’t sit with the people, we must not conceit to their so-called findings. Through Social media we are often portrayed as a low socio economic race. Pre colonization you would have not been out a character if you called us a rich race, not because of the worldly possessions but because of the high standard of Health that was maintained by our people. We ate straight out of the land and not out of packets. There was no drive to the supermarket to get kai, kai was on your back door step, gyms were common playgrounds, with undulating terrain, swimming parks were, creeks, rivers, and the moana. Possessions were very few but well looked after. Land was treasured, and plentiful and belonged to our people. Lives were simple, and needs were minimal. Food was a source of survival and exercise was the key component to retrieving it. Today those two key components are what seems to be the difference of life and death of our race, not because we don’t have them, but by the way they are sourced and executed or not. Allowing those who are not of our blood determine how our mokopuna and great mokopuna’s lives will end up is sinful if we allow it. Is there room for both?