Skip Content

Mr Sunshine, aka Turi Ngatai is leaving the building and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

The man with the ability to brighten the darkest meeting rooms with his infectious energy and vast repertoire of songs is calling time on a TWoA career that started when he was a campus manager in Rotorua in 1999.

Turi is to return home to Tauranga where he will be closer to his whānau, his marae and his community.

“I haven’t participated in the community of Tauranga since I left for Hato Petera when I was 12 years old.”

“I went straight to tertiary education after that and then straight to the workforce. So for the first time in my life I will be able to go home and stay home and participate in my community and you know what? I’m absolutely really looking forward to it.”

Turi, the relationship manager for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and one time interim co-chief executive is one of a select few who have had the privilege of working under all of our organisation’s chief executives.

“There aren’t that many people who have had that privilege.”

“I was there during the time of the godfather, Rongo Wetere and there for the moving forward under the leadership of Bentham Ohia.”

“And I’m here now to witness the forward thinking ability to meet the future needs of today’s changing environment under Jim Mather.”

“Each of these men have brought huge talents and abilities to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and have contributed greatly in terms of where the wānanga was and where it is now.”

“Jim is starting on his mission and I believe the wānanga is going from strength to strength to where it’s going to be a permanent part of the landscape.”

Turi says the highlights of his time with the wānanga are too numerous.

“There are too many highlights, it’s unbelievable, some really funny things but a few sad times too. But without a doubt the absolute real highlight for me was meeting the awesome people who work within Te Wānanga o Aotearoa,” he said.

“There are just so many fantastic people here, some of these people have truly amazed me over the years. For me the wānanga has always been about by Māori for Māori but even more so about the people.”

After a long association with education spanning more than 40 years, the former principal who left Sunset High School in Rotorua to join the wānanga because he felt he had achieved everything he could in mainstream education will say goodbye on March 24.

“But the truth is I’ll never leave this place,” he said.

“The wānanga is in my blood and my wairua. I will never leave this place because it has been such a major part of my life.”

 Back to news & events

Published On:

Article By: James Ihaka



Other Articles

  • 10 May, 2017

    Tammy on great journey to the great wall

    Next week, she flies to China where she’ll run twice that distance, 42km - with 5160 uneven steps taking part in the Great Wall Marathon with an eight-hour time limit.

  • 10 May, 2017

    Postgrad internships on offer

    Four Kimihia Rangahaua postgraduate internships are being offered to kaimahi and tauira enrolled in either Masters or PhD studies and who have a rangahau interest in te reo Māori revitalisation, reclamation and learning.

  • 10 May, 2017

    Richard Neal to lead enrolment process improvement project

    Tauira Experience Lead Richard Neal will head an organisation-wide project to improve the enrolment process at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

  • 10 May, 2017

    Te Pae Tata - our two-year focus

    Te Pae Tata has five strategic priorities that we believe will keep us aligned with our long-term strategic goal of providing a world-class indigenous educational experience that is sustainable, innovative and partnered for success.