Taranaki Tuturu, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Maniapoto
Colleen Tuuta is currently a Trustee of the Parihaka Papakāinga Trust, Te Rere o Te Manu Charitable Trust and a Director on the Western Institute of Technology Taranaki Company. Colleen has always been an activist for global peace and justice, and an entrepreneur with a sharp economic edge to her social activism.
This year, Colleen retired from nine years of service to Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Mutunga and has direct experience of being part of the current generation of Taranaki negotiators who have worked to broker new futures for their iwi through the settlement of historical Treaty breaches and the development of Post Settlement Governance Entities in their wake.
Through that decades old process Taranaki iwi held on to the vision of a time when they could move beyond the need to hold the story of the grievances of their tūpuna and invest in development and growth again, revisiting the economic strength and leadership that they had known as iwi before the land wars and invasion of Parihaka.
Colleen has worked alongside tohunga Dr Rangimārie Rose Pere for over thirty years, and has been an active learner with international best-selling author Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. From an early start in the public service working in the Ministry for Women’s Affairs.
Founder and CEO of Albatross Enterprises Limited, Colleen was the first Māori and woman to serve as the Chair of the TSB Community Trust; a position she held for seven of the 12 years of service. In the early nineteen eighties Colleen branched out to establish a catering business, Tootsies Food Company in the Wellington CBD. Colleen is at home in the kitchen on a marae as she is around the Board table chairing a committee which oversees multi-million dollar disbursements for social good.
The Struggle for Māori Wards in Local Government
"Meihana and Colleen share their experiences of the fight for Māori wards in the Manawatū and Taranaki.
This presentation will provide an insight into the experiences of Te Kōtui Reo, a collective of twelve Marae from across the wider Manawatū Rohe, in seeking to successfully reverse a vote against the establishment of a Māori Ward in the local body council. It will also examine the ways in which the Te Kōtui Reo movement reaffirmed the criticality of whanaungatanga, whakapapa and kotahitanga in the face of opposition and challenges to the roles of tangata whenua and as a platform for anti-racism priorities to be advanced.
Colleen sat at the New Plymouth District Council table for approximately seven years as the iwi representative of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Mutunga. Colleen was there when the then Mayor Andrew Judd has his epiphany, she was there when he left, she was there for the next 'merry-go-round' of the Māori Ward when it came around six years later - as we knew it would. So what happened? and who cares? For the record Colleen is not a fan of the racist Ward legislation."