Teresa Tepania-Ashton

Director Advocacy & Programmes with UNICEF

Teresa Tepania-Ashton was recently appointed the Director of Advocacy & Programmes with UNICEF Aotearoa.  As a mother and grandmother, this is fulfilling Teresa’s vision for a better future for her mokopuna. 

Teresa had a 10-year appointment as the CEO of Maori Women’s Development Incorporated – driving equitable financial solutions for Wåhine Måori & their whånau, looking to start and expand businesses. She was previously the CEO of Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngapuhi from 2004 – 2011, growing the social, environmental and economic assets of the largest Iwi in Aotearoa with an emphasis on empowering whånau.

After a 12-year career working internationally with Citibank (during which time she rose from Service Assistant to Vice President) Teresa continues to put her decades of community and corporate governance experience to work for her people.  Teresa was also reappointed as Chair of her Iwi (tribe) Kahukuraariki Trust (NgatiKahu ki Whangaroa).

Teresa would never say it, but the people she works with describe her as mindful, decisive, astute and a nurturing and empowering leader. 

This shows when you consider the awards and acclaims she’s received:

  • 2016 New Zealander of the year – Local Hero
  • 2016 Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to Maori and business
  • 2015 & 2016 finalist New Zealand Woman of Influence
  • 2009 Dame Mira Szaszy Alumni (University of Auckland)

With credibility in hapu and iwi development, and governance across all sectors, she is truly a contemporary wahine Maori leader.