Our Team

Tia Taiaroa

                              Trauma Informed Learning Facilitator 

Ko Pukekura te mauka
Ko Te Tai o Ōtākou te awa 
Ko Ōtākou te Marae
Ko Takitimu me Uruao kā waka
Ko Kāi Te Ruahikihiki me Kāti Moki me Kāi Te Pahi me Ngāti Tama kā hapū.
Ko Kāi Tahu, Kati Māmoe, Waitaha me Te Ati Awa ki Taranaki kā iwi.
He uri tēnei nō te whānau Taiaroa rātou ko Karetai ko Ellison ko Parata.
Ko Tia Taiaroa tōhoku īkoa
Nō Ōtākou ahau.

 Tia grew up in her pā at Ōtākou surrounded by her parents, 3 siblings and a multitude of extended whānau. Growing up on the marae, has given her a real sense of self identity and throughout the years built on her knowledge of history, kōrero-ā-hapū and provoked a passion for whakapapa. 

Before joining Tiaki Taoka, Tia completed a Bachelor of Arts at University of Otago in Māori & Indigenous Development and Tourism and inbetween travelling overseas, she worked across multiple rūnaka organisations including Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tahu Tourism and Aukaha Ltd in a cultural development capacity. In her spare time, you will find Tia spending time with her whānau & friends or keeping the fires burning at the Marae.

Tia’s role at Tiaki Taoka is facilitating Trauma Informed workshops alongside Selina Elkington. This programme at Tiaki Taoka is a kaupapa Māori approach to caring for tamariki in the system and to allow carers to develop a better understanding of historical issues influencing intergenerational trauma for Māori and providing tools to adhere to a better outcome for our tamariki.


Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri, ā muri ake nei – For us and our children after us.


Wendy Herbert


Ko Taupiri te maunga tapu
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Ngāti Maniapoto te iwi
Ko Ngāti Hineutū te hapū
Ko Kahotea te marae
Nō Tainui-Waikato ahau
Ko Wendy tōku ingoa

Wendy’s whānau come from Gore and moved to Glenledi, a coastal settlement near Milton where she grew up. She has completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Social and Community Work through the University of Otago and gained a wide range of experiences and skills throughout her career as a Social Worker in both Aotearoa and London, along with her roles as Breastfeeding Peer Supporter, Mates and Dates Facilitator, Archery Instructor for Camp America and Cafe Assistant.

When she isn’t working, Wendy likes to travel and experience difference places and cultures. She enjoys catching up with friends and family, especially spending time with her husband Brendon and her two gorgeous tamariki. Wendy also likes to bake and cook – She clearly knows the way to our hearts!

Yearning to learn about her whakapapa, Wendy is currently on her reo and whakapapa journey and feels Tiaki Taoka is a supportive environment for her to grow in this space.

“I am beyond excited to be back doing what I love. Mokopuna and rangatahi are at the heart of my practice. I feel privileged to be working at Tiaki Taoka and walking alongside whānau on their journey.”

Mā pukumahi ka poto ngā maikuku, mā te maikuku poto ka rahi te kai. Hard work makes short fingernails, short fingernails make much food.

Renee Dixon


Ko Tākitimu te waka
Ko Aoraki te mauka
Ko Waihōpai te awa
Ko Waitaha, ko Kāti Mamoe, ko Kāi Tahu ōku iwi
Ko Renee tōku ikoa.

Renee is from Invercargill in the deep south. Her māmā’s whānau whakapapa back to a little island in the Foveaux Strait called Ruapuke. She initially came to Ōtepoti to study social work at the University of Otago. Renee completed her Bachelor of Social Work with First Class Honours.

When she’s not working , Renee enjoys spending time with her whānau and friends. She also enjoys new experiences and adventures of all descriptions, and unwinding in her own space by reading, listening to music and watching the latest doco or footy game!

“I am really excited and grateful to be involved in this mahi and equally excited about the potential of Tiaki Taoka to positively impact the lives of the whānau we work with in our communities.”

He manawa tahi, he manawa ora, he manawa toa, te manawa Kāi Tahu. A united heart, a vibrant heart, a determined heart, this is the heart of Kāi Tahu.

Tihema Makoare


Ko Kahuranaki tōku maunga
Ko Poukawa tōku roto
Ko Kahuranaki tōku marae
Ko Te Whatuiapiti tōku hapū
Ko Tākitimu tōku waka
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu tōku iwi
Ko Tihema Makoare ahau.

Tihema comes from Takapau, a township in Central Hawkes Bay with his whānau, which includes his two siblings. He has been in Ōtepoti for 16 years and has 4 beautiful tamariki; Te Manava, Te Uira, Te Kainuku and Te Navaerua. Tihema has become an integral part of the team at Tiaki Taoka, working as a Kaiāwhina in the Supported Living Programme. He is also currently working towards his Bachelor of Arts in Social Work through Capable NZ.

When he’s not working, studying or cracking jokes, Tihema is the ultimate hunter-gatherer. From picking watercress to puha hunting, gathering kai from the bush to diving for kaimoana, you will find that Tihema loves the outdoors and especially enjoys being out on the moana.

“I’m really looking forward to working with our whānau through Tiaki Taoka and working in a kaupapa Māori space.”

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. My strength is not that of a single warrior, but that of many.

25 College Street


Phone: (03) 471 9960 (Option 4)
Whānau Call Line: 0800 4 TIAKI (0800 484 254)
Email: info@tiakitaoka.nz

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