It’s not hard to believe that staunch hauora advocate and Te Tatau o Te Arawa deputy chair Ngaroma Grant, more affectionately known as “Mala”, partakes in a gruelling Crossfit WOD and waka ama from time to time. The stamina required for the high intensity workouts and races has nothing on the lifelong commitment she has shown to supporting whānau and hapū to improve health and well-being.

Mother to her tamariki (Marleina and Rangi, Tihini and Ani, and Carol and Willie) and proud nanny to two (Makaarini and Amaia) is also the current Chief Executive of Te Arawa Whānau Ora and Chair of Korowai Aroha Trust.

“In my career I have had many highlights but the biggest satisfaction is when I see a difference being made for whānau and our hapū.”

“When things change at this level, all of us succeed and win.”

Her values combined with her business acumen and strategic thinking has helped Te Tatau o Te Arawa start the building blocks for a more meaningful partnership with Rotorua Lakes Council.

“We didn’t envisage that the ability to influence change would be so long and have so many facets. The wheels of local government move very slowly and are incredibly complex but we are all willing to roll up our sleeves to make a difference.”

If you haven’t seen Mala in the past six months you could be forgiven for not recognising her as she has been on a quite a journey. Despite a graceful transformation from her darker hair to a now radiant grey, her warm smile and the way she exudes aroha and manaakitanga remains.