I was born in Waitara, Taranaki, and has strong tribal links to Te Atiawa and Ngati Maniapoto in the North, Taranaki in the West, Ngati Ruanui and Nga Rauru in the South. My formative years were spent at Parihaka where the teachings of Te Whiti and Tohu had a direct influence on my attitudinal development.
I have had numerous roles mostly held in education, and from 1999-2008 I was a Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tonga and held roles as Associate Minister of Social Development and Employment, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and Associate Minister for Conservation. My core knowledge and skills area is in executive governance, machinery of government, public policy and service, project and contract management, strategic planning, whanau, hapu, iwi, Maori development.
I have previously been a Chairman of the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, and Pipitea Marae Charitable Trust. I was a negotiator for the recently completed Taranaki Claim and am currently a Consultant between Crown agencies and the Treaty partner, and I have been a Trustee for the Wellington Tenths Trust since 2014.