Legacy & Passion

3 May 2022

Sarai brings with her bright energy and passion to the Ira whānau. We sat down for a kōrero with her to learn about her journey to Ira and her personal vision. Nau mai, Sarai!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Tēnā koutou, ko Sarai McKay tōku ingoa. He mokopuna ahau nō Tainui-Waikato, Ngati Porou, Ngāti Rongomaiwāhine, Taranaki me Ngāti Awa. I tipu ake au ki Tāmaki Makaurau ki te taha o tōku whānau, ā ko au te matāmua o te whānau. I am a creative at heart, I am a singer, writer, and kapa haka enthusiast. I studied Māori Studies and English at the University of Auckland where my true passion for Te Ao Māori flourished. I have a background in cultural competency education, Māori advisory, cultural strategy development and implementation and Iwi engagement.

I am joining the Ira whānau as a Pou Rautaki/Strategist. I will be supporting our clients to strategically align their brand vision and purpose with Te Ao Māori principles in a way that promotes equity for Māori, honours Te Tiriti, and enhances mana for all parties.

I will also lead the internal cultural development at Ira, supporting our staff to have culturally enriching experiences at work and increase their cultural capability.

I’m also really excited to get the chance to write and be a part of delivering cultural workshops with Johnson. We hope to launch a new series of workshops this year that support attendees to consider contemporary Māori and Aotearoa wide issues in depth.

“Ira was born out of the vision, hard work and passion of my whānau. The opportunity to marry their legacy with my energy and passion was an opportunity too precious to ignore.”

What is your personal purpose/vision?

I am passionate about the enhancement of mana Māori throughout Aotearoa. In the future I hope to be a thought leader on contemporary expressions of mana across the corporate landscape.

What attracted you to Ira?

Ira was born out of the vision, hard work and passion of my whānau. The opportunity to marry their legacy with my energy and passion was an opportunity too precious to ignore.

I am also an inherently creative person and am inspired and uplifted when working in creative environments with creative people. I’m grateful to work in an environment where our personal passions and interests are valued and invested in.

“I was attracted by an organisation that is pondering the impact of authentic and creative cultural expression and the potential of this mahi to enhance mana for not just Māori, but all New Zealanders.”

What do you love about the Ira brand/philosophy?

Ira’s vision to support a cultural, spiritual and economic revival for Māori is another expression of my vision to support the enhancement of mana Māori. I was attracted by an organisation that is pondering the impact of authentic and creative cultural expression and the potential of this mahi to enhance mana for not just Māori, but all New Zealanders.

This is a kaupapa that is being driven by many in their own fields across Aotearoa. I am encouraged to work for an organisation that strives to be leaders and supporters of all those who are in this waka.

What do you bring to your role at Ira?

I have joined the Ira whānau as a Pou Rautaki/Strategist. I bring with me passion and experience in supporting other organisations to achieve strategic cultural uplift. I have recently migrated from WSP New Zealand where I supported our Pou Arataki, Reginal Profit and Pou Whanake, Kumeroa Pihama in the design and implementation of the WSP Rautaki Māori. I have also supported several other organisations to undertake an induction to cultural learning and application in their teams including Russel McVeagh, Air New Zealand, the University of Auckland and others.