In 1970 I was handed over to my grandmother Merita - this is common practice amongst Maori. My grandmother was blind so at the age of 10 I was given signature authority on her cheque book and had to learn quickly to manage our money and bills.
My grandmother taught me some very basic skills and that was to love and respect people. I have fostered this concept and have acquired the art of building relationships. I did not come from a very wealthy upbringing, but I did not need it. The greatest gift I received was having my grandmother encourage me to do the best in whatever I put my hand to. In growing up my confidence allowed me to be in control, to manage situations, understand others, have a sense of humour and connect well with people from all walks of life.
Life was great, until at the age of 16 my grandmother passed away – this was very testing because I moved to live with my mother and father, and my six siblings, all of whom were aged between 13 and 20. It was a challenging yet important period of change where I learned a whole new set of skills and characteristics. As I was getting older I had a growing desire to help people. I started my first job as a case manager for the government and spent 16 years assisting families with their benefits, placing them into work, assisting with their career pathway and so much more.
During my working years I got better at building relationships, engaging with colleagues from the cleaner to CEO. In 2007, I decided to study the MBA. The MBA is awarded to students who have mastered the study of business. I didn’t find the MBA easy but what got me through this stunning degree was my Emotional Intelligence. I was disciplined, I had order, I was able to say no to the invitation of many outings and birthday parties without feeling insecure and I was able to handle the pace in studying, working full time and managing my family.
We had one emotional intelligence paper taught on the MBA, and this was where I got my highest marks I studied with some very intelligent individuals however some of them may have needed to do a few more emotional intelligence papers – and they probably would have said that I needed to repeat my governance papers.
Over the many of years I have discovered that I know who I am and I am very secure in that, my children are also secure in who they are not feeling like they have to prove to be anyone else but just to be themselves.
Hana graduated from Waikato Management School with her MBA in 2010 and is now working as the service development manager for the Poutiri Trust, where she connects with Maori business leaders. She is also a Global AMBAssador for AMBA.