Tags:Te TakarangiSpringboard Team

4 min read

10 Questions with: Linnae Pohatu, Springboard's new Pae Arahi

After a break, we're bringing back the 15 Questions series - just slightly shorter!

Previous instalment: Dale Bailey, CEO

To celebrate the introduction of Te Takarangi, Springboard Trust's Māori strategic plan, we spoke with our brand new Pae Arahi, Linnae Pohatu, about her work and leisure stories!

1. Linnae, hello! What's been the highlight of your week?  

Clearly starting at Springboard Trust is THE highlight of my week!

This is especially true given my first day involved meeting with the Board and Leadership Team to discuss how we take Te Takarangi - the Māori Strategic Plan - forward which gives me strong direction about how we might go about doing that.     

2. What is your new role with Springboard Trust?  

My role is to guide Springboard Trust in the development and delivery of Springboard Trust’s Te Takarangi Māori Strategic Plan. The broader strategic goal is about how Springboard Trust focuses its efforts on enabling Māori learners to meet their educational needs and ensure they’re reaching their full potential in education and life.   

I see my role as enabling our team, who work with school and business leaders, to think consciously about how they’re making a practical difference for Māori learners. What are we doing internally as a team to act in the best interests of Māori learners, their whanau and communities? Who are the people and organisations that we need to partner with to make that happen?   

That’s why I like my title, Pae Arahi – a connector, enabler and guide for the Springboard Trust team to get results for Māori young people and their whanau.  

3. The Māori strategy - what can you tell us about it?  

The Māori Strategy has been developed by everyone at Springboard Trust and that’s important because the whole team will be the kaihoe (paddlers) on our waka to achieve it. 

Read more: Te Takarangi, Springboard Trust's Māori Strategic Plan

4. What are you most excited about doing with Springboard?   

I’m looking forward to getting to see the team in action with school and business leaders. I’m also excited about getting a few runs on the board in terms of our Māori strategy actions.

I know that there are those in our team who just want to get on with it (‘less hui more do-ey!’) while others aren’t sure what it will all mean, so getting a few things off the ground like some organisational learning and training, and helping the Board get some new Māori board members would be great to do for example.   


5. How did you stay sane during COVID-19 lockdown?  

I’m grateful that my whanau and I have been able to WFH, are healthy and safe. I’ve actually enjoyed being able to slow down and appreciate simple things like the emergence of native birds like riroriro and piwaiwaka in our suburban, South Auckland backyard.

I’m a novice Maramataka Māori (Māori calendar) student and I am trying to be more mindful of our natural environment. Yes, I grew my own bread starter in lock-down too thanks to advice from my aunty back in Ruatorea where I’m originally from!

This is an important life moment for me because I come from marae whose people are famous for their Paraoa Rewena (Māori Bread) and Paraoa Parai (Fried Bread). I’m not an expert yet, but I’m on the journey and that’s the main thing.  

Piwaiwaka were key to Linnae's lockdown relaxation! (Photo via DOC)
6. You've got unexpected guests coming for dinner - what is your go-to meal?  

Well lately it has been Paraoa Parai (Fried Bread) with lashings of butter, golden syrup or homemade jam. That’s a snack in my Māori mind, so a more substantive kai would be anything that requires only one pot or baking dish so a stew, roast, boil up – or, if I’m watching my intake, soup!  

7. Before Springboard Trust, what was your most interesting role?  

I’ve worked in some amazing organisations with a similar focus, from Parliament to negotiating Treaty settlements with iwi on behalf of the Crown, career planning (with Springboard Trust's own Dale and Carol A), Te Papa, and most recently Auckland Museum.

I’ve enjoyed them all, because they’ve always been about contributing to making Aotearoa New Zealand a better place and removing barriers for Māori (and more recently) Pacific people to participate in those workplaces or sectors.  

8. What's a piece of history you wish more people knew about?  

Oh where to start? New Zealand history. Within that I’d want all New Zealanders to understand the history of colonisation where they live now.

For example, do Aucklanders know about Great South Road and how it contributed to the Waikato Land Wars as the road used by colonial troops to invade Waikato iwi? That tribes like Waikato Tainui were (and are today) commercially successful businesspeople and that Auckland settlement was wholly reliant on the manaakitanga of chiefs like Potatau Te Wherowhero and Apihai Te Kawau?

9. What's your secret hobby?  

I’m a former museum professional who was paid to be a professional hoarder! So I collect Johnson Brothers The Friendly Village crockery. It was a crockery set my Ngai Tahu grandmother had and I feel her near me when I use the crockery. I have some pieces that belonged to her and if I walk into a second-hand shop that’s what I’m searching for.  


10.  What should we have asked you? (And what would be the answer?)  

Can you still do a triple pirouette? Answer: No. But with a good warm up I may be able to conjure up a double pirouette!

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