Caroline Thompson, Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau a Apanui, takes up the role of Tairāwhiti Social Services Manager, Presbyterian Support East Coast on Tuesday 26 January.

Caroline has more than twenty years’ experience in the health and disability sector and has worked most recently as Enliven Service Delivery Manager for PSEC in Hawke’s Bay. She will lead a committed team of 25 staff across PSEC services Family Works, Tauawhi Men’s Centre and Enliven and will be based at PSEC’s Bright Street office.

Caroline was born in Gisborne and grew up in Wellington, returning to her hapu in Tokomaru Bay in 1991. There she was employed part-time by Ngāti Porou Hauora, and was supported by the Board, made up of local kaumatua, to study towards a business management degree at Te Wānanga o Raukawa.

This qualification paved the way for over twenty years of management roles in local and Māori health providers; Ngāti Porou Hauora, Peak Primary and Te Whare Hāpara.

“For Māori, our negative health statistics are more than just numbers. They represent the struggles of real people and whānau.”

In 2018 Caroline and her family made the move to Hawke’s Bay and she took up the role of Enliven Service Coordinator which quickly grew to a larger role, that of Service Delivery Manager, leading a team of more than 70 staff supporting older people to remain in their homes.

Now Caroline is returning home.

“I always knew I’d return to Tairāwhiti,” says Caroline. “This new role is more than just a job – all my experience has led me to this place, and this is where I’m meant to be.”

“I see my role as being very much on the ground with my team; supporting, mentoring, understanding and leading them.”

Caroline’s mokopuna Tiaho returns with her and will attend Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Nga Taonga Tuturu ki Tokomaru.