Thu 14 May 2020

Introducing Colleen Tuuta

Taranaki, Ngati Mutunga, Ngati Mahuta and Ngati Maniapoto iwi

As a mokopuna of Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai of Parihaka, Colleen Tuuta says she is a pacifist for global peace and justice, and an entrepreneur with a sharp economic edge to her social activism.

Joining WITT’s Subsidiary Board in April, Colleen is no stranger to Taranaki or to WITT. She brings to the Board both her well-recognised name and also her proud Taranaki heritage.

“I am born and bred tangata whenua o Taranaki,” she said. “That has huge value for me and it should for others too.”  

“I am proud to be from Taranaki. After finishing at New Plymouth Girls High School, I attended what was Taranaki Polytechnic (now WITT), and the 12 month course in Business and Administration studies set me up for life.”

Colleen is the Founder and CEO of her own business, Albatross Enterprises Limited, and has a history in public service, getting an early start with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. She is currently a Trustee of Te Runanga o Ngati Mutunga, the Post Settlement Governance Entity. 

“I also have quite extensive experience in the Wananga study space, in both a Governance role and from a tauira (student) experience,” she said.

Colleen said she is looking forward to contributing to WITT’s future and using her experiences and strengths to add value.

“As our region moves forward together on this new huarahi (pathway) together, we need to make sure there is attention paid to lifting the achievements of our Māori, Pasifika and disabled whanau. That is an obvious area that I think I can make improvements and add value to WITT,” she said.

“The Directors are a great diverse group of personalities, skill sets, knowledge and experience and I am looking forward to these next three years of working together.”

Colleen said now is an exciting time to be involved in vocational education, adding that the Reform of the Vocational Educational (RoVE) is an ambitious shift in the sector. 

“All I see is a whole lot of opportunities. RoVE has opened up a new playing field and removed some of the obstacles, so that WITT can move forward with what it really means to be responsive to the needs of our region, our nation, and inevitably Te Ao Marama - our world.

“It is the first time that we have all the ‘moving parts’ of the vocational educational sector intentionally working together for the highest good of the learner, the employers, industries, and our region.”

She adds that although it has created challenges, there is a silver lining to the sector reforms unfolding during the Covid-19 crisis.

“This crisis is the perfect breeding ground for innovation. Kiwis are great at it, and Taranaki is not shy on extraordinary talent.  At many kitchen tables, lounges, backyards, garages, sheds around Aotearoa right now, are the geniuses of our next new world order.  

“What a great time to be in vocational education, I say!”