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Tai Tokerau Nurse Marie Noa receives prestigious Akenehi Hei Award

New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) media release, 10 February 2021

Renowned Ngāti Hine rangatira and nurse Marie Noa has received the Te Rūnanga o Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa  (NZNO) Akenehi Hei Award for her dedication to the health of whānau Māori in Te Tai Tokerau and around Aotearoa.

The ceremony took place in Tāmaki Makaurau, where the previous recipient Moe Milne handed the taonga over to Whāea Marie. Both Ms Milne and Ms Noa were joined by their whānau as well as Te Poari o Te Rūnanga o Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa.

The award recognises Ms Noa for her long-standing contribution to Māori health in a career that has spanned more than six decades. Since starting as a health care assistant in Whāngarei, she has worked across DHB, community and iwi providers and is currently a Tamariki Ora nurse based at Ngāti Hine Health Trust. 

All who spoke at the ceremony highlighted Whāea Marie’s love of life and rich creativity.  NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku praised Ms Noa for her commitment to playfulness and colour, telling a story of one of Marie’s memorable presentations.

“We were at a hui for Tamariki Ora which we thought would be business as usual. Then Whāea Marie came up on stage and, rather than opening up a PowerPoint, pulled out colourful scarves and began with dance.

“Her insistence on play and creativity, coupled with her significant experience and dedication to helping whānau understand their health situation in a holistic way, has made a significant impact on people’s health in Te Tai Tokerau, especially for tamariki.” 

Ms Nuku also spoke highly of Ms Noa’s commitment to Te Rūnanga.

“As a rangatira, she has been to every hui for years where she actively participates and shares her knowledge. She is an honorary member of Te Rūnanga ō Te Tai Tokerau, an integral part of their tuakana/teina model.

“Whāea Marie is a unique and vibrant person who has enlightened us all and we acknowledge her for her all she does for Tai Tokerau and Aotearoa.”

Te rangatira, he kairanga i te tira, i te tira o te hapū, o te iwi, ki ngā haere, ki ngā mahi e pā ana ki te hapū, ki te iwi. He kaiārahi. He kaitīmata, he kaiwhakatutuki i ngā mahi, ka whai ai te iwi i raro


Media inquiries: Rob Zorn, NZNO Media and Communications Advisor: 027 431 2617.

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