This week, we introduce an amazing wāhine, Carel Smith. Many of you have already or will soon meet Carel in Hāpai’s supply reduction haerenga. Anyone who connects with Carel will agree that she has an amazing energy and enthusiasm for thriving, resilient whānau. We’re really grateful that she was willing to tautoko us in facilitating our supply reduction focus groups.  While Carel’s background is in education and she now specialises in consulting, her contribution to this supply reduction kaupapa already has been significant. This demonstrates the power of working collaboratively outside of our sector- especially with wāhine as intelligent and tenacious as Carel!

Ko Hikurangi me Maungahaumi ngā maunga
Ko Rangitaiki me Mangatū ngā awa
Ko Mātaatua me Horouta ngā waka
Ko Tūhoe, Ngā Ariki Kaiputahi me Te Aitanga ā-Māhaki ngā iwi
Ko Waiohau me Mangatū ngā marae
Ko Carel Smith tōku ingoa
Nō Whakatāne ahau

Three sentences that describe me are…
He wāhine Māori! 
Passionate about uplifting, supporting and celebrating Whānau and communities. 
The living legacy of my tūpuna, and current architect of my mokopuna's future.

My story is…
I am a māmā of 4 beautiful children with a passion to contribute to a brighter future for my babies and future generations. I am passionate about extracting the potential in people, and believe that with knowledge, strategies and tools, whānau can achieve their own mana motuhake - breaking the cycles of intergenerational disadvantage that shackles and muzzles our people.

Something in my life that I am proud of is…
my babies! My greatest role is, and will forever be, being a mother.

A book that has most influenced me is…
Paulo Frierre Pedagogy of the Oppressed!

I would describe being part of Hapai’s supply reduction haerenga as…
Amazing! I love meeting and working with new people, learning about different communities and connecting with people from different walks of life. 
Being part of this kaupapa has created a greater awareness about how information, knowledge and support is visible within our communities. We have services doing a lot, but the hard work is not always visible to the wider community. This tells me we have not yet realised the untapped potential that exists at a Whānau and community level, identifying who can drive and influence innovative change. Empower Whānau, empower communities!

One thing I see differently from being part of this supply reduction would be…
There is a strong desire for change, but the general feeling is that it will never happen. People are focused on what government is or isn't doing, rather than thinking specifically about local community and whānau responses and changes that can affect change. For me it doesn't start with a legislative change, it starts with a whānau change - changing what we expose our children too, changing the behaviours we role model, being the change we want to see in the world! I now have a better understanding of what my contribution to this kaupapa is, and it doesn't require me to wait for a government to be bold enough and brave enough to legislate change.