Mahi a Atua: Inspiring success in achieving systemic change

In celebration of Waitangi Day, we wanted to showcase one of our epic Māori business clients: Mahi a Atua. Read their story below.

In the mid-1990s Diana Kopua developed Mahi a Atua, an indigenous approach that responds to ongoing issues regarding institutional racism and inequity for Māori within New Zealand health and society. 
Te Kurahuna Ltd is the facilitator of the kaupapa Mahi a Atua. Because they are so collaborative they answered our interview questions as a team.
The team said Te Kurahuna Ltd trained communities of practitioners to take a Matauranga Māori approach which incorporated 'Oranga Whakapapa' (wellbeing through keeping ancestral connections alive).
“Te Kurahuna partners with organisations to design and operationalise Mahi a Atua as their model within primary health services,” they said.
The Mahi a Atua approach has been utilised by multiple practitioners across various sectors within New Zealand society including art, health, education, justice and the social services sector. 
Diana and her husband, Mark Kopua, are committed to indigenising their respective communities of practice and are pioneers within their fields.  
“Mahi a Atua has been referred to as a 'worldview', a Māori paradigm, an ontological transformation. As a collective, those who engage in collective conversations using Mahi a Atua principles are reclaiming their right to 'indigenising' a unique way of considering wisdom,” the team said.

The team said Diana and Mark started in Gisborne with a wananga 2 hours a week with different organisations from their lounge.
“It became a Limited Liability Company when Mark and Diana started to develop a workforce in 2018. Te Kurahuna Ltd has now existed for three years as of January 2021.”
Te Kurahuna is made up of a core team of eight who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business. 
“There are many people who have been trained in the Mahi a Atua principles and are now Mataora. These Mataora live throughout Aotearoa and they all remain a part of the kaupapa.”
The team said a piece of advice they would give themselves now that the business was up and running was, “Ka ma te Ariki, Ka ma te Tauira. Remain an active learner always. Take the negative feedback from others, this is where the learning is”. 

When Te Kurahuna was ready to scale up, having a website was a good way to advertise who they were and what they do.

“Rocketspark was recommended to us by a local Māori artist, Tawera Tahuri, who promoted Rocketspark as a New Zealand entity with whom she had a good relationship. I would now [recommend it] for the exact same reasons as Tawera.

“I think our website looks awesome. Thanks to Kylie from Metro Marketing for all her hard design work and of course Rocketspark for a stable platform,” the team said.

Learn more about Mahi a Atua here