dr elizabeth kerekere (she/her/ia)
Elizabeth was born in Gisborne where she lives with her wife, Alofa Aiono, her dog Indiana, and cats Havana and Chicago. On her father’s side, she is Whānau a Kai, Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. On her mother’s side, Elizabeth hails from County Clare and County Tipperary in Ireland.
Elizabeth has been community-based, focused on kaupapa Māori and Te Tiriti issues for 40 years. She works on local and national projects across health, mental health, suicide and violence prevention and youth development. Elizabeth has represented Rainbow and indigenous human rights issues nationally and overseas, including at the United Nations in Geneva.
As a leader within Rainbow and youth development sectors for over 30 years, Elizabeth has mentored over 50 youth leaders and young people. Despite her hectic schedule, she is known for dropping everything if one of her young people calls. Elizabeth founded Tīwhanawhana Trust in 2001 to advocate for takatāpui to “tell our stories, build our communities and leave a legacy.” Elizabeth bases all of her work from this tūrangawaewae.