Lee Tuki (Tutuki Te Wharau) (she/her)

Kaimātai Mahi Māori, Workforce Development Partner – Mana Taurite (Equity)

"I love working for the DHB and the wide range of opportunities, roles and fellow kaimahi I have worked alongside, with and for over the past 13 plus years"

A brief mihi/introduction about yourself

Kim Lee Tuki (Tutuki Te Wharau) – Tainui Waka, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Maniapoto.  Ko Au Ko Koe Ko Koe Ko Au,  I am you and you are me, equal, neither superior nor inferior, same rights, maybe different beliefs.  I am a Moko, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, proud mother of 4, proud taua of 3, aunty, friend, kaimahi and lifelong learner.

Growing up what did want to do for a job and did you ever see yourself working at Te Whatu Ora? 

As a child I had a passion to create, did I see myself working at a DHB?  No I didn’t even consider this as an option for me.  At a young age I got married, bought our first home when I was 18, had children and was a stay at home Mum, using my passion to create in making clothes, kai, garden and a home for my whānau.  I decided to go back to study and came out top student in a Sport and Recreation Course, fine tuning what I knew with theory expanding my understanding and curiosity to know more.  Being very shy as a child, teenager and young adult I never saw myself in front of people.  Now I love facilitation and working with others, sharing, inspiring and motivating others to consider something new or confirming what they already knew.

What was your journey of getting to work at Te Whatu Ora?

I came to Ōtautahi to work for Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation as a He Oranga Poutama Kaiwhakahaere, leaving my role at Sport Southland as the Active Living Coordinator.  My background is in physical activity and nutrition and had the honour of being named a New Zealand Fitness Leader of the Year and another year being given an Award for my contribution to the New Zealand Fitness Industry, travelling the World as an International Aerobics Judge.  BUT where did I start?  I started as a Radio and TV technician sitting in a workshop fixing electronic devices and installing TV’s and TV aerials in people’s homes in Southland.  I have enjoyed stepping into brand new roles and having the scope to develop them.  I am an extroverted introvert and sit comfortably in both spaces having taught myself to be extroverted for different roles I have enjoyed, including being an Aerobics and Fitness instructor in communities, schools and gyms.  I have followed my passions and it has taken me around the world. 

What attracted you to work at Te Whatu Ora?

I was encouraged to apply for a role from a Te Whatu Ora employee who was working with me on community work when I was based at a local Māori provider.  I applied knowing I had outgrown the role I was in and there was no scope for further development or movement.  I saw opportunity for growth, development and being part of a team making a difference for the health and wellbeing of the Canterbury population.  I was excited and applied for the role, to this day never regretting my decision to do so.

What’s something you enjoy about being part of Te Whatu Ora?

The Kaupapa, the opportunities, the large diverse, multicultural kaimahi working across Te Whatu Ora.  I believe how we experience life is how we are.  The lens we bring to the table will dictate how we experience wherever we are and whatever we are doing.  I have a positive, proactive, make things happen attitude and actively look for opportunities to develop, learn and challenge myself, not sitting still for too long.  One work colleague once said to me, Lee you aren’t complacent and don’t sit in a place of complacency.  Being honest with yourself will guide you on your journey within the organisation.  I love working for tTe Whatu Ora and the wide range of opportunities, roles and fellow kaimahi I have worked alongside, with and for over the past 13 plus years.

What do you love about living and working in Ōtautahi/Christchurch?

I came to Ōtautahi at the end of 2002 and I didn’t buy a property because I was never staying here, this was a step towards where I wanted to be, my goal and focus at that time. Jump forward to 2019 and I finally bought a property realising this feels like home and I love living in Ōtautahi. It brings me so much joy having so many choices in my own backyard, amazing outdoor opportunities to do and see, bays, beaches, hills, crafts, gardens , theatre, arts, parks to name a few.  Have breakfast on one of our East Coast beaches, Sumner, New Brighton, Spencer and watch the sun rise before drive to the West Coast to have dinner on a beach to watch the sun set in the same day.

What advice do you have for someone contemplating a career at Te Whatu Ora?

Believe in yourself and give it a go.  Know what you bring to the table, your skills and experience that are uniquely to you.   Remember interviews are two way, at the same time you are being asked questions, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions, do I see myself working here, is the fit right for me, is this Kaupapa in alignment with my passions and values.  Always your choice.

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