Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa was founded by seven Hamilton based wāhine in 1988 who identified a need for Māori counsellors. By the end of that year the fledgling organisation moved to Gisborne and began delivering training. They quickly achieved great results while simultaneously discovering a large gap in current services. In what would prove to be true Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa fashion, the team took it upon themselves to contribute to rectifying the situation. They quickly went about developing, high quality Māori specific, courses across a wide range of subjects with a specific focus on ‘certifying’ as many new ‘trainers’ as possible to fufill the niches they had discovered. These trainees went on to secure paid employment and their impact began to be felt throughout the sector. In 1991 Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa was legally constituted as an Incorporated Society and by the end of that year attracted its first funded contract.
Word travelled fast, and from those humble beginnings Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa began being sought out to run training programmes for NGO’s nationwide. Particular areas of focus included providing training in Economic Development of Iwi Agencies, Curriculum Development, Capacity Building, Suicide Prevention, Facilitation Skills, Clinical Supervision amongst others.
By the late 1990’s Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa had established its membership of Associated Iwi Agencies as well as the International Indigenous Network and was a working party member and facilitator for the UN ‘Mataatua Declaration’ and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Moving into the 21st century Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa was now recognised as a leading indigenous education agency and had built strong foundations internationally. In addition the organisation, secured, and successfully delivered on, a number of research contracts. In becoming more and more established and regarded as experts, the organisation was invited to deliver presentations and workshops at many conferences both nationally and internationally.
In 2004, Te Korowai Aroha o Aotearoa was commissioned by Te Puni Kōkiri to roll out an exciting national pilot. Named Project Mauri Ora, the pilot was for a transformative programme aimed at empowering individuals to positively contribute to their whānau, hapū and iwi framed in an authentic ‘Māori’ paradigm. The programme quickly proved a resounding success and ‘Mauri Ora’ became baseline training in 2007 and is still contracted to the organisation by the Ministry of Social Development, to this day. The office moved to Whakatane in 2009 and in 2011 it moved to Te Horo in Otaki for a short time before returning to Whakatane in 2012. The organisation was coming of age.
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