Karina Jones likens her role to that of the unseen kaimahi who help to ensure the smooth running of a marae.
Karina, who is from the Hokianga and has Ngāpuhi whakapapa, was recently welcomed to her new role as Te Aukaha Whakahaere (Head Operations) for Te Kei Takiwā at a pōwhiri in Porirua.
She is currently visiting sites throughout Te Waipounamu on a whirlwind meet and greet kaimahi mission.
Karina says her role is about enabling kaimahi to do their jobs without fuss and for tauira to learn unencumbered.
It means her attention is focused on the big little things like ensuring rooms are available for tauira to learn in, the lights and heaters work and to take care of other facilitative matters that could easily go un-noticed by the untrained eye.
“The idea behind my role is for people not to actually know we are doing the background work – it’s just happening like when you go to a marae and everything is running smoothly,” says Karina.
“From an operations point of view it’s a role that supports and facilitates everyone else to do their mahi.”
The mother of two adult children with a Master of Professional Accounting she received from Victoria University has kept the books for a number of organisations both small and large and both Crown and non-government.
Karina also worked for eight years as Finance Manager for Te Wānanga o Raukawa, which is close to her home in Otaki.
More recently, she held the job as Finance and Corporate Services manager of Le Cordon Bleu (Culinary Arts Institute) but yearned for a return to a kaupapa Māori organisation when the opportunity with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa arose.
“I worked at non-Māori organisations in the past but I always knew where I wanted to be,” she said.
“It’s just about enabling growth of people through education and it’s something I’m passionate about. The wānanga was the whole package for me.”
Oustide of work, Karina’s commitments are about whānau.
She also likes to potter around in her garden, swimming and taking long walks.