Interview of the Month - Hinemoa Elder

Interview of the Month - Hinemoa Elder

Since starting this section on interviewing people in April I’ve decided to do a few extra interviews to make up for the months of the year I’ve missed so far; so for my January interview spot, I’ve asked my mum to answer the questions below, enjoy! 

Short Bio

Ko Tawhitirahi te maunga
Ko Awapoka te awa
Ko Parengarenga te moana
Ko Kurahaupō te waka
Ko Te Aupouri, ko Ngāti Kurī, ko Te Rarawa, ko Ngāpuhi nui tonu ōku iwi
Ko tō korua Whaea ahau : )
Ko Hinemoa Elder tōku ingoa.

E te iti kahurangi, I am you and your brother's mother, and so proud of that role, so it makes me feel very proud to contribute to your blog.

I live at our home on Waiheke Island and I travel quite a bit with my various roles and mahi.

I am passionate about bringing Māori knowledge forward to ensure we have self-determination over our own health and well-being. I feel strongly about bringing our non-Māori whanau, colleagues, friends and community along with us. There will never be enough Māori health workers, educators or innovators to meet our needs so it is imperative to educate and influence all New Zealanders about who we are, in the myriad of ways we express being Māori. And through this consciousness raising and skill building maximize our collective impact in transforming our health and wellbeing.

I am a medical doctor trained in child and adolescent psychiatry. You and your brother have definitely taught me valuable lessons that have helpful me be a better mum, doctor and a better person.

I cherish being close to Tangaroa, te wao tapu nui a Tāne, Papatūānuku, the beauty of Ranginui, Te Ao Taiao is such a source of inspiration and tranquility.

I love the life long journey of learning Te Reo Māori, speaking Te Reo makes me feel such joy (frustration too sometimes when I can’t get the grammar happening) and connected to my true self, our ancestors and our whānau.

Wherever I am whatever my role my yardstick is now, where is Te Reo Māori in this kaupapa? If it isn’t there I look for opportunities to bring Te Reo into spaces that it isn’t visible in, so far...


What started your passion

My drive to become a doctor started with your Grandmother and it feels like she supported me on that path. When she got sick with Breast Cancer we saw a lot of health professionals and it struck me that there was a limited awareness of Māori cultural health needs. Plus, her passing so young made me want to contribute to better health outcomes for us as Māori. She donated her body to the Medical School and that was how your Grandfather and I met Professor Sir Richard Faull, somehow through her, that connection has remained strong. He was one of my teachers at Med School and is now my boss at the Centre of Research excellence for the Ageing Brain. My mother gave us so many such gifts. My research passion has come from my clinical experience of seeing many whanau with traumatic brain injuries and wanting to develop comprehensive resources for whanau and health workers alike. These resources need to be able to withstand critique from our own mātauranga as well as western science. I am privileged to be a Professor at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi through my research endeavours and I want to contribute whatever I can to support building a strong community of students and colleagues where we continue to hone our analytic skills alongside our depth of awareness of tikanga.


What keeps you motivated

You and your brother inspire me with your energy and desire to make the world a better place. Being with whānau in a range of situations where people are vulnerable and my roles are to support the discovery of new possibilities keeps me on my toes.

I am motivated to change, to disrupt, to use creative ways to unlock catalytic changes for the Māori community.

My patients and whanau allow me the privilege of being part of their lives. This is a constant source of motivation and I strive for excellence in my work with them.


Best tips insights you’ve learned

Whakataukī and whakatauākī are great for inspirational wisdom. A couple of my favourites are,

‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari, he toa takitini kē’. Success is not the work of one, rather it is the work of many.

Another one I like, kua kitea e koe ngā taonga o te moana me mākū koe! if you seek the treasures of the ocean you got to get wet! In other words, get stuck in.

Be there, be present in the moment, that is the critical thing. Breathing the same air, no matter what is going on. You don’t need to fix anything or advise anyone. Just be there. Listen.

Quantity time is everything. There used to be this old adage, “quality not quantity”, this is rubbish.  Spending quantity time with those you care about is what it is all about, be there for the ordinary daily life things, it’s not all bells and whistles and excitement, actually there is beauty in all the little moments.  Never give up. Follow your dreams. Might sound corny but it’s true.

Take time, rushing things might mean you get something finished early and that can feel satisfying to acheive but taking a little longer allows for deeper insights and revelations to occur.

I believe we are all here to save lives, maybe even our own. Our smiles, our kindness our thoughtfulness to others and to ourselves has a huge ripple effect. Being emotionally available tuning into others and talking about feelings, this is all life-saving stuff. And we can do it.


Things you do every day

Give thanks in the morning and at night.

I make a point of focusing on the joy and gift of being alive. Life is so precious, we know this, this is the gift of the dead reminding us of this, if we choose to listen.

2 boiled eggs for breakfast!

Wai māori, I drink lots of water, it is a rongoā, it is a medicine. We are lucky on Waiheke is many ways and one is that we drink filtered rain water from the tap. I carry water with me wherever I go.

Karakia mō te kai, you know it : )

Vacuuming (I know you are going to tease me about this, hehehe)

Some form of exercise most days


Favourite food or recipe

Your or your brother’s cooking. Your food is sooo good darling, ever since you were little and you used to conjure up these Japanese feasts, such an eye for detail and for combinations of flavours! Reuben does a mean lasagne among other signature dishes! I love that you are both into creating food for people to share, sit down together and talk, laugh and enjoy.
Salad with whatever is in the fridge.

I love anchovies, my favourites are Lolin from the north of Spain, heaven, I can eat them out of the tin!

Kai moana in general, oysters, cray, scallops, fish cooked simply with lemon, olive oil, fresh herbs from the garden, black pepper. That’s me.


Daily supplements

Every morning: Two teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar, two teaspoons of Flaxseed oil, women’s multi, magnesium.

Revita-Col (at night)


What do you eat in a typical day

I’m not sure I have a typical day!

I like to get up early, say my thank yous to the universe. Then I feed the dogs, and I have breakfast, 2 boiled eggs.

If I am on Waiheke I go to the gym for a class say pump, step, yoga or Zumba, we have such a great gym, Waiheke Workout, with inspiring teachers, Rahman and Heidi. I come home and shower and get into work, writing reports, journal articles or book chapters, research proposals and planning appointments, liaising with students, whanau, treatment providers. Otherwise I am on the road, usually early, flying, or driving to see whānau, to give presentations or to attend meetings. I have been using the My Food Bag for 2 for Reuben and me. It's great as I know there is always load of healthy food in the house.


Advice to someone wanting to start a healthy lifestyle

What worked for us was you and me doing the ketogenic diet together. Having someone you can share the experience with, ngā piki me ngā heke as we say : ) the ups and downs, slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. That relationship is the key to changing patterns of eating and exercise and self awareness and aspiration. We are interdependent social creatures, we seek connection and so we can use this to ensure we enrich whatever that process might be.

I like some structure and planning. If I am travelling over the middle of the day I think about getting a Tank protein smoothie to drink en route. I don’t miss meals.

I love to have some protein rich yogurt mixed with Organic Burst wheatgrass powder and Organic Burst Spirulina powder in the mid afternoon.

I drink a lot of herbal tea (ktk you know this, I am the one always saying, “put the kettle on?”) I haven’t drunk coffee for about 8 years. I don’t miss it, weird right?


Favorite bloggers and websites to follow

Cleaneatsnz , Yoga With Me, I love the yoga deck and would love to help translate it into Te Reo Māori one day, Upoko pakaru great for kōrero Māori, Refinery 29:  loved this since 2013 now they are on snapchat which is convenient.


PHOTO CREDIT - Melanie Peters - Melt Photography

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

What are you looking for?

Your cart