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Te Puna Ora o Mataatua Chief Executive Dr Chris Tooley has been named a Blake Leader for 2020 for his empowering, inclusive leadership style and his determination to further indigenous rights.

Named for Sir Peter Blake, the Blake Awards recognise and celebrate people whose leadership has delivered high impact results and contributed to a more sustainable future for Aotearoa socially, culturally, environmentally or economically.

Dr Tooley received the accolade at the Blake Award dinner in Auckland this week, where Dame Anne Salmond's life-long work to improve "intercultural understanding" between Māori and Pākehā was recognised with the prestigious Blake medal.

Beyond the overall Blake medal, there are three other award categories consisting of leadership, youth and environment with seven accolades in total.

The ceremony also recognised five other Blake Leaders in te reo Māori champion Scotty Morrison, young women advocate Fran McEwen, entrepreneur Michael Marr, student leader Benjamin Burrow and sailing and marine advocate Professor Mark Orams.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua leadership team
The Te Puna Ora o Mataatua leadership team

Dr Tooley say while he is humbled to be among such great leaders, furthering indigenous rights must always remain the focus.

He says he is pleased the impact that is being made by Te Puna Ora o Mataatua and its role in furthering indigenous rights.

“It is about setting the pace starting and setting the dream. This award proves that nothing is unobtainable, no matter where you come from - you can play on the global stage and nothing is out of reach.”

The TPOOM Staff and Board pose for a picture with the Prime Minister during her visit in 2020
The TPOOM Staff and Board when the Prime Minister visited in 2020

At Te Puna Ora o Mataatua, Dr Tooley has grown the Whakatāne-based social, health, employment and training provider from a staff of 16 when he started to 69 and growing. Under his leadership, the organisation delivers 18 sections of services through Whānau Ora approach.

Dr Tooley, a passionate advocate for Whānau Ora, says the wrap around model is the key to helping clients achieve long term health and well-being.

“Everybody wants to succeed in life and it is just a matter of allowing all those differences to come together. At Te Puna Ora o Mataatua we help support that for our clients.”

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua Chairwoman Fiona Wiremu says she is pleased that Dr Tooley’s hard mahi has been recognised with such a prestigious award. She says Dr Tooley works tirelessly to ensure the people in the Mataatua rohe have a great chance to thrive.

Before becoming the chief executive at Te Puna Ora o Mataatua was the Chief Ministerial Advisor for Māori Affairs portfolio in Parliament.

Dr Tooley co-chairs the Bay of Plenty Regional Leadership Group with the President of the International Geothermal Association, Andrea Blair. He was the Chairman for Te Huarahi Tika Trust (Māori Spectrum and Telecommunications Trust) and the Vice-Chairman of International Work for Indigenous Affairs. He has a PhD in Political Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua CEO Chris Tooley helps prepare food parcels
Dr Tooley helping the team with kai packs after COVID-19 Lockdown

The selection panel for the 2020 Blake Awards consisted of chairman Glen Sowry, Auckland businessman Sir Chris Mace, Excelerator Chief Executive Dr Lester Levy, HSR Governance Ltd director Jane Huria, AUT Business Relations Director Sarah Trotman, Waikato Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Shelly Campbell, NZ Oceans Foundation director John Martin, long-serving public servant Dame Karen Sewell and former Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand.

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