We are excited to announce that Chaz Naera has been appointed to the valuable role of Kaiwhirimuka, a cultural lead role for Real.
The term Kaiwhirimuka was gifted to Pathways and Real by Keri Opai, former Tātāriki for the Wise Group. Muka are the fibres of the Harakeke, and Kaiwhirimuka talks to the weaving and twisting of the fibres. Often this work is done behind the scenes where people do not see.
Chaz shares more about his passion for youth and Te Ao Māori below…
Ko Ngatokimatawhaorua tōku waka
Ko Kai ā te whetu tōku maunga
Ko Ngapuhi tōku iwi
Ko ngati korokoro tōku hapu
Ko Te Whakamaharatanga tōku marae
Ko Chaz Naera taōku ingoa
Waikato is my home and where I was born. But I whakapapa back to Hastings and Hokianga on my father’s side. I had a very blessed upbringing. My memories are of warm, happy times with our small whānau in Te Awamutu.
I joined the Real Waikato whānau a number of years ago. It has been a privilege working with taiohi and whānau, doing my part in them feeling great about who they are and seeing Real’s incredible growth.
I have also been very fortunate to get around the motu and meet incredible people from Pathways and Real as we have grown our Te Ao Māori. I’ve been inspired by how many people have been keen and willing to lean into this space together. Most importantly, I’m grateful for the brilliant people I have worked alongside who have fuelled my ‘why’ for what I do.
When I first began in the youth sector, I saw some of the immense trauma our taiohi and whānau face, especially Māori and Pacifica whānau. This was difficult for me to understand, with my own story having a more positive tone. So, I have been committed to making Aotearoa a safer place for taiohi and whānau to live and thrive.
Being able to serve in the capacity of cultural lead for Real is Really exciting (see what I did there?). We are in an era where youth wellbeing and mental wellness are in the spotlight. This gives us great opportunity to invest in future generations, learning from walking alongside taiohi and their whānau.
We have a way to go, so I’m strapping in for the ride and looking forward to this next chapter.