She’s an environmental scientist, journalist, mother of three and has a hugely satisfying role managing a music therapy centre, but Carly Tawhiao can’t wait to begin her new job at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
On 16 March she starts work as Regional Communications Officer based in Tāmaki Makaurau and says she looks forward to using her skills “in a te ao Māori setting”.
“When I took on Te Ara Reo in 2004, I knew I wanted to return to TWoA in some capacity. However, this role is beyond anything I could’ve imagined,” she says.
The newly established role aims to ensure a strong public profile and effective engagement for the takiwā and her journalism background means she is well qualified for the job ahead.
Carly is currently centre administrator at the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre – established in 2004 by singer and songwriter Hinewehi Mohi and named after her daughter, Hineraukatauri, who has severe cerebral palsy.
She says it’s a hugely satisfying and challenging role, blending clinical work with charity fundraising.
“I know I’m going to miss the clients and families at the centre, where the mission is: ‘changing lives through music’. With Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, however, I get to meet students who are using education to transform whānau.
“It’s wonderful and I feel privileged to be part of that journey – spreading the Maori word.”
Carly was born in Rotorua in 1977 and grew up in Fiji, Invercargill, Papua New Guinea, Dunedin and Wellington, thanks to her father Charlie Tawhiao, who worked in forestry and “obviously liked to tipi haere”.
Carly worked as a journalist for several organisations and publications – including Mana Magazine, Te Tumu Paeroa, Fairfax Media and New Zealand Rural Press. In 2008 she won the Fairfax Media Internship Award after realising a vocation in resource planning was not for her.
“Writing and language is something I’ve always loved and to be able to meet people and tell their stories is truly an honour,” she says.
The busy mum and her partner, visual artist Dan Tippett, have three children – Eva, 14, Tupaia 11, and Taukiri, 3 – and enjoys reading, gardening and swimming, while also continuing to learn new skills.
She is a former tauira of TWoA – completing an Advanced Certificate in Te Ara Reo, is currently studying rongoa and remains a passionate te reo learner.