Rawiri began his life with no knowledge of his cultural identity, with no sense of self, enduring a childhood no child should have to go through. A series of events and actions caused ripples throughout his community. He now uses education as a vehicle, not to justify his past actions, but to understand the historical impact on people’s current situations and environment.

Dr Rawiri Waretini-Karena is a Post Doc Research Fellowship recipient from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Indigenous University in Whakatane 2017-2019.

He graduated in 2014 with a PhD Doctorate of Philosophy in Indigenous Studies and was the recipient of three prestigious doctoral scholarship awards for his research into transforming Māori experiences of historical intergenerational trauma.

The three doctoral scholarship awards given to him were the Ngarimu VC & 28th Māori Battalion Doctoral Scholarship 2013, the Te Atawhai o Te Ao Doctoral Scholarship award 2013, and the Waikato Tainui Te Kauhanganui INC Doctoral Scholarship Award 2013

As part of his post-doc research, he is currently developing a pilot programme called He Kakano Ahau. This programme has been developed to address Māori experiences of historical trauma. It focuses on taking a person through their journey to gain an understanding of where they are now. It helps them understand the history behind how they got where they are, and give them ways to deal with their triggers and traumas. He examines Māori and the intergenerational ripple effects of colonisation over generations at a personal, institutional and societal level.

“My life mission is to utilise the knowledge I’ve gained to give back to my community in meaningful ways.”  

Dr Rawiri Waretini-Karena was formerly a lecturer employed at the Waikato Institute of Technology for 12 years teaching Māori and General Stream counselling, Social Work and the Certificate for Social Services and Mental Health.

He lets his life, friends and goals motivate him to create a positive effect throughout the community through his actions. He spends a lot of his time focusing on academia, so it’s no surprise he loves taking time away from it to spend time with his friends kayaking and diving for seafood.