That Rangatahi Energy

6 May 2022

Awanui has joined the Irā whānau and brings fresh energy and perspective. We sat down for a kōrero with him to understand why he joined Ira and what he brings to the team. Hoki mai, Awanui!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Ira

Kia ora! Ko Awanuiārangi Morris tōku ingoa. He uri ahau nō Ngāti Awa me Te Rarawa. I’ve grown up in Auckland as the oldest of four and am in my final year of a Law and Commerce degree at the University of Auckland. I’ve joined Ira as a part-time Marketing Executive while I finish my studies and play rugby. I manage our social media platforms, create content and ensure the work we produce gets seen by you all.

“The Ira brand narrative really resonates with me. It connects well to my personal purpose and vision – that we are here because of and for something beyond ourselves.”

What attracted you to Ira?

I was privileged to work for Ira three years ago when it was ‘Fly’ and experienced a lot of growth, both personally and professionally. I realised how much of an impact my time at Fly had on me when I stopped working for two years to serve a mission for my church. The things I learned were so applicable in the real world – something I’m doubly grateful for as I’m finishing my Law and Marketing degree at the University of Auckland.

I’m back because I have more to learn, and also more to give. Ira equips me with what I need to be my best self outside of work – as a tauira, a son and brother, a rugby player and leader. I know the experience I gain in the industry will support me to finish my Marketing studies with confidence and strength.

What do you love about the Ira brand/philosophy?

The Ira brand narrative really resonates with me. It connects well to my personal purpose and vision – that we are here because of and for something beyond ourselves.

I also share a strong connection with the internal values of the organisation – whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, māramatanga auahatanga. One of my roles here is to create strong connections through whanaungatanga to support Māori communities to achieve the aspirations of our people. My personal purpose and vision is to be in the service of others – God, my whānau and my people. This is something I’m really passionate about and have always loved to do. I’m a people person at heart, and thrive in an environment that also puts people and relationships of trust at the heart.

“I’m proud to be a part of the Ira whānau and am inspired by the work we produce and the people who produce it.”

What are the benefits of working as a rangatahi at a small Māori lead organisation?

I love working for an organisation that values my culture and invests in my personal cultural development. I’m currently adding new sections to my mihi every week – it’s great practice.

Ira also sees me for my potential, and not for the skills I lack. This means I get the opportunity to add value and provide solutions for problems I otherwise would not have access to. It's a special feeling to know all my ideas are bringing a valued perspective.

How is Ira supporting you to grow?

I grow in spaces where I get to contribute towards mahi that I’m passionate about. Ira not only understands my passions, but feeds them.

I also grow through mentorship and have many great mentors who inspire me and encourage me to be my best self. The culture of collaboration and leadership that is fostered at Ira is another form of mentorship for me. I know I will grow into my potential with this kind of support.