Topic: Education

Ngatamaine Tauranga defies odds to fulfill her dream and help others

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Ngatamaine Tauranga is proof that having a disability is no barrier to achieving your dreams.  Because she has cerebral palsy she was laughed at for wanting to work in the social sector.

Now mental health is just one of her many qualifications as she fulfils her dream of working with Flaxmere youth.

Although Ngatamaine Tauranga can only communicate through her laptop, it's not stopping her from fulfilling her passion of working with youth.

Co-worker,\ Kini Morrell says, “They love her, she just inspires.  They don't disrespect her.  They feel that they are safe with Nga.  If you're a gang child or whatever, they can relate to her, they just open up to Nga.”

She has graduated from the Eastern Institute of Technology with national certificates in mental health and addiction support, business administration and business information systems.

Lou Hutchinson says, “She'd have her work done.  She was always really on to it with her work and with all her technology.  She was amazing.”

At 33 years old, her journey hasn't been easy, faced with bullying because of her disability, but she doesn't let any of that bring her down.

Amo Puha says, “In my eyes, she's a very big inspiration for a lot of the tamariki around here.  I’ve seen her around in the community.  Just seeing her here today is nice, it's so nice.”

Sierra Maaka says, “Funny, likes to be around young bucks, enjoys teenage music, would rather hang out with us, and yeah, she's just really bubbly.”

Her personality has seen her named the Pacific Ambassador for the Faiva Ora Leadership Group, a group that helps improve the lives of those living with disabilities.