Mum and Dad with myself, Tarsh and the kids at a family reunion in Nov 08… I think we were standing on a slope!
A bit about Manu:
I grew up in Tauranga on our parents small farm. My dad was a postie then social worker, and has been a small farmer and market gardener for more than 30 years. Mum was a teacher, accountant and small business owner. My whakapapa includes Irish, Tongan, Spanish and Scottish ancestry.
I live in Kaiti with my wife Tarsh Koia, our two children (11 and 7). We are part of a vibrant neighbourhood and often share meals and childcare with our neighbours. Our property backs on to Te Poho o Rawiri Marae and Titirangi Reserve and we walk out our backdoor onto Kaiti Hill – it’s a beautiful place to live!
Tarsh grew up at Huanui, a sheep station behind Tolaga Bay, and her family is from Tikitiki (Koia) and Makarika (Makarini). She was raised by her grandparents and we moved to Gisborne in 1998 to look after them.
After leaving school I studied design for five years and completed a Bachelor of Design degree from Victoria University in Wellington. I worked in the design and advertising industry, lectured at university and eventually did secondary school teacher training through Christchurch College of Education. After a few years teaching students at risk of leaving mainstream schooling, I decided to put my time and energy into community organising and youth work where I helped establish a school for teenage parents and a childcare centre for their children, youth offending prevention services and alternative education programmes. Over the past ten years I have worked in international development on projects in Nepal, Fiji and the Philippines – and was a Board member of The Council for International Development (NZ) and worked as a short-term contractor for The World Bank in 2006.
I had a stint in the public service managing contracts for the Ministry of Social Development (Child, Youth & Family) for two years and since 2004 have been the Director of a small social research and management company I started with a business partner.
In addition to my Council responsibilities, I am continuing to work as a self-employed researcher and project manager. I do work for a couple of national organisations and some local projects.
My main work for 2013 involves leading a project focused on two neighbourhoods in Whanganui and Gisborne. The project encourages local residents to increase the levels of trust amongst neighbours with the intention that more caring neighbours can help reduce child abuse and neglect.
In a voluntary capacity I am involved with a number of community organisations including:
- Board of Trustees, Waikirikiri School (Chairperson)
- Tairāwhiti Computer Hubs Trust (Trustee)
- Gisborne Cycling Advisory Group
- Tairāwhiti Housing Advisory Group
- Gisborne Rail Action Group
- Tairāwhiti Multicultural Council (Committee Member)
- Tairāwhiti Men Against Violence (Foundation Member)
- Rongo-i-te-Kai Marae (Treasurer)
Recently I have also been involved in leadership roles with:
- Gisborne Chamber of Commerce
- Tairāwhiti Community Voice (Gisborne East Coast Council of Social Services)
- Ka Pai Kaiti Trust
- Te Ora Hou Te Tairāwhiti Trust
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You can contact me here:
Phone: 868 6889 or 0274202957
Home: 21 Cambridge Tce, Kaiti, Gisborne.