Our Kaimahi


Kaimahi Profiles


Janina Konia
(Ngāi Tahu, Ngā Puhi)


Janina joined the Mātauraka Mahaanui waka in 2017 as a facilitator after completing post graduate studies at the University of Canterbury. Formerly a teacher at secondary level, she has also worked as a Māori art educator in Wellington for the City Gallery, which then saw her move to a teaching position in Seoul, South Korea. She and her husband Andre Konia, also in the education sector, returned home after the arrival of their first daughter.

Janina, Andre, Holly and their second daughter Eden now live in Ōtautahi, where Janina was raised. Both girls attend a bilingual school and, as a parent as well as an educational practitioner, positive experiences for Māori students and Māori success are a high priority.

Her background as secondary school teacher has set her in good stead as a supporter and leader in communities of learning. For many years, Janina was immersed in the arts as an educator, and brings this passion for transference of mātauranga to her facilitation. With whakapapa to Rāpaki, one of the three manawhenua rūnanga, Janina has a special insight into the particular educational needs of Māori and inherently carries Ngāi Tahutanga with her in day to day life.


●      M. Ed, University of Canterbury

●      P.G Dip (Bilingual Education) - Hōaka Pounamu, University of Canterbury

●      G. Dip Teaching and Learning (Secondary), Christchurch College of Education

●      Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Otago

Education Council: Teacher registration, No. 234240


Dianne Robinson
(Ngāti Pōrou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui)

Mana Whenua Education Facilitator

Dianne came to Mātauraka Mahaanui in 2016 with a wealth of education sector experience under her belt. As a mum, she found herself coming up against an education system that didn’t always cater to the cultural safety she wanted her four tamariki to experience in their schooling. This inspired her leap across career paths, away from law and in to education, with the hope of being able to ‘make a difference from the inside’.

Dianne and her husband, Ngāi Tahu carver/artist Fayne Robinson, made a commitment to bring their children up through tikanga Māori values and with te reo Māori as their first language, which has enriched all their lives immeasurably. Their connections to iwi, hapū, people and place are continually strengthened through all of the rich cultural contexts in their own personal and professional lives.

Her primary teaching background in bi-lingual and immersion settings, and Professional Learning and Development facilitation experience with UC Education Plus, has provided Di with the curriculum knowledge, skills, strategies and resources to support and uplift teacher confidence and capability through localised curriculum context.


●      P.G Dip (Bilingual Education) - Hōaka Pounamu, University of Canterbury

●      Certificate in Whakapiki Reo - Waikato University

●      Bachelor of Primary Teaching & Learning - Te Korowai Akonga, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

●      Certificate in Māori Studies - Waiariki Institute of Technology

Education Council: Teacher registration, No. 247025

Ministry of Education: Accredited PLD facilitator, No. 117

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Karuna Thurlow
(Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Huirapa ki Arowhenua)

Ka Poupou Reo o Tahu Kaiako

He uri tēnei nō Kāi Tahu whānui, nō Kāti Māmoe, nō Waitaha; nō Ngāti Porou, nō Te Whānau a Apanui anō i te taha o tōhona hākui, nō kā Waikingi i te taha o tōhona hākoro. Kua mahi ia hai kaiwhakaari, hai kaikanikani, hai kaiārahi i te reo, hai kaiako anō hoki.

Ko te reo Māori te reo tuatahi o āhana tamariki. Nā konā i whai wāhi ai ki kā kōhaka reo o Te Kotahitanga ki Waitaha me Oterepo, tae noa ki te kaupapa ā-whānau o Kotahi Mano Kāika, Kotahi Mano Wawata.

Tūrakahākoa ana tēnei ki te whai wāhi ki Mātauraka Mahaanui. Ko tae tarika areare mai, ko tae karu peho mai, tū pakihiwi tahi ai ki ōhona hoa mahi.

On her mother’s side Karuna is of Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau a Apanui heritage; on her father’s side she is of Viking heritage. She has been a performer, a teacher-aide, and most recently a teacher of Years 1 and 2.

Te reo Māori is her children’s first language, and their whānau have been involved with the kōhaka reo Te Kotahitanga ki Waitaha and Oterepo, and the language revitalisation kaupapa Kotahi Mano Kāika Kotahi Mano Wawata.

Karuna is delighted to be working for Mātauraka Mahaanui. She comes with wide-open eyes and ears, looking forward to working with her colleagues.


●     Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo

●     Grad DipTchLn

●     TBMPA


Tāmara Rochford Kerr
(Raukawa ki Wharepuhunga)

Mana Whenua Education Facilitator

Tāmara came to Mātauraka Mahaanui in 2019 with a background in secondary school and wānanga sectors. She worked at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa as a Kaiako Reo Māori then after this endeavored to assist in raising Māori achievement in a role called Te Pou Tangata o Te Reo Māori at Rangiora High School before spending some time also as a Curriculum Leader Māori at a Special Character Area School called Middleton Grange.

Tāmara is an advocate for te reo Māori use in everyday settings, she seeks out every opportunity to communicate in te reo Māori, not only support her own development but to also to support her whānau on their te reo Māori journey. Whānau transformation through education, is one of the many core values that Tāmara embodies. She has recently mentioned that her and her whānau are still very active with this kaupapa and have developed strategies to practice their language within their home and their local community.

One of the most impressive pieces of work academically that Tāmara has achieved is where she designed a framework to analyse Online Māori Language Learning Resources. The purpose of her project was to investigate the impact this framework would have on Teaching and Learning practice. She has been able to utilise those findings to inform the effectiveness of teaching and how to appropriately support learners. This work is very exciting and has huge potential for the sector. She later delivered this at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education.  Tāmara also enjoys writing, contributing kaupapa Māori articles to the online forum Mana Wāhine.


●      Bachelor of Māori Language and Indigenous Studies- Ara Institute of Canterbury

●      Certificate in Te Whāriki - Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

●      Certificate in Ako Whakatere- Te Wānanga o Aotearoa



Governance Team

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Elizabeth Brown

Chairperson. Te Taumutu Rūnanga representative. Kaiārahi Matua, University of Canterbury

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Hector Matthews

Deputy chairperson – Executive director of Māori & Pacific Health at Canterbury District Health Board

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Lynne Harata Te Aika

Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga representative, senior manager at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu


Tui Summers

Māori community representative. Academic Leader Graduate Programmes and Quality at Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand


To be appointed

Māori community representative.

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Andre Konia

Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke Rūnanga representative. Pou-ārahi – Māori Development Leader at NIWA

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Norm Dewes

Māori Community Leaders forum representative. Manager at Ngā Hau e Wha Marae.

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Catherine Stuart

Māori Community Representative. Kaitohu a Rohe – District Director Te Wai Pounamu, Te Kohanga Reo National Trust


Interested in working with us?

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We can offer great opportunities to people with ambition, vision and passion for the kaupapa.