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"I am always astounded, and yet equally, never surprised at the value indigenous ways can have in helping people improve their wellbeing, their lives or their situations. I am seeing it time and time again."  - Maria.

Meet Maria

Certified Coach, Educator and tanga Mahi Wairua

Educating & Coaching


Maria has lead teams, projects and adult education for corporate, public service environments (since 1996) and later in private practice (2008). The professional and personal development of adults has been central to her work. As a skilled facilitator, life and leadership coach clients have been able to create valuable shifts. Certifications include: 

  • 2014 mBIT Coach: Multiple Brain Integration Techniques (Head, Heart and Gut). 

  • 2010 Life Coach: International Association of Coaching Institutes

  • 2008 Transforming Communication Instructor

  • 2008 Time Line Therapy™ Practitioner

  • 2007, 2008, Trainer & Master Practitioner of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming).

  • 2006 Eriksonian Hypnotherapy, NLP Practitioner.

  • 2000 Leadership Coach, NZIM.

  • Trainer & Facilitator - 1998, 2008, 2010. 

  • Business certifications - Project management, Process management (2009), Return on investment (2009), Leadership Development, Digital storytelling (2020), IGNITE 80 Peak Performance (2021). 


Maria is Co-Founder of Wheelhouse Education & Learning. For the past decade, a provider of professional development programmes for health professionals working in clinical and non-clinical settings.

"One of my greatest honours this past decade has been through our leadership programmes supporting healthcare leaders to deliver over 350 improvement projects in health, and for many seeing them take a leap of faith in themselves and their teams, for the betterment of their communities."

- Maria.

Other Wellbeing Interests

  • 2014 Zhineng Qigong practitioner: Chi Lei Chi Kung Level 2. 

  • 2014 Healing Light of the TAO: Master Mantak Chia's Universal Tao.

  • 2013, 2014  Shamanic journeying of the Hopi’sinom (Hopi People).  

  • 2006 Ho'omana (Hawai'ian healing teachings).

  • 2005 Chi Lei Chi Kung Level 1.


Tainui-Waikato Rohe: Ngāti Tāhinga, Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Mahanga.

Maria is a descendant of the ancestor Taahinga through her great-great-grandfather Te Para Haimona, and to the whenua Rangikaahu. Also descended from Scottish, English and Irish heritage. Maria appreciates and greatly acknowledges all tūpuna threads and the world views they offer her.   

Mātanga Mahi Wairua

Maria's kuia (grandmother) was gifted in traditional healing ways. People would travel distances to seek her help. Today, the threads of her capabilities weave to many descendants, with several working in 'helping and healing' fields of work. Maria recalls her own earliest experience with wairua as a pre-schooler, though it wasn't until her mid-20's that she began acknowledging these qualities. At which point she began a quiet lifelong walk to keep listening; collecting knowledge, and applying to work, life and private practice.    

  • 2022-2023 Master of Applied Indigenous Knowledge. 'Kairongōa and Mātanga Mahi Wairua' research area.

  • 2023 Produced, 'Te Ora ō Ngā Tūpuna: The Echo of Ancestors'  docuseries capturing the insights and learning journeys of wāhine Māori who support their communities to improve their health, wellbeing, or life circumstances through their relationship with wairua, tūpuna, and tohu.

  • 2021 Maramataka: Teachings with Tohunga Rikki Soloman 

  • 2020 Traditional Māori Bodywork, with Wikitoria Māori Healing.  

  • 2019-2022 Mātanga Mahi Wairua: Tutored for 4-years by respected Tohunga Wiremu Niania and wife Lesley. Co-Author of the book, Collaborative and Indigenous Mental Health Therapy - Tataihono Stories of Māori Healing and Psychiatry

  • 2018 Wairuatanga Wananga, Wiremu Niania Cultural Therapy.

  • 2018 Hauhora Tangata Maori & Global Health Outcomes

  • 2016 Developed Te Taki Paeora: Leadership development for emerging Māori and Pacific health leaders. 

  • 2016 International Indigenous Health Symposium, Hawai'i

  • 2004-2009 Meditating with Spirit Guides, a meditation circle. Mentored for 5 years with Rose Goodliffe, Master of Social Practice. 

  • 1997 Relaxation Massage: The NZ College of Massage.

"It has been a privilege to learn Rongoā Māori along with healing traditions of other cultures. Each requires a deep respect and understanding that comes with both gentleness and assertion." - Maria.

Meet Maria

A note from Maria:


Self-leadership and mauri ora


"There are roads we travel with stories of significance. For some these stories are about future visions, effort, optimism and self-determination. For others the experiences are about resilience, living with mental health, overcoming financial hardship or family conditions. Perhaps dealing with grief, the loss of identity or cultural heritage, the effect of abuse too. Even exposure to trauma, or being in a relationship that is not good for them.


Over the years having seen people experience insight, growth, and healing reminds me of the inner strength and potential people have to navigate towards what matters most for them. Even in times when feeling the most challenged and restricted in choice. If a person is restricted through others control rather than by self-choice we may never see them truly shine. 

Right now our personal vitality, leadership of self and family, and support of others is more important than ever. A time for turning towards rather than against each other. When we listen deeply into ourselves, and discover we need or desire change, that is a tohu it is time to pivot directions. To improve one's situation. Our wairua o te tangata always knows if we are living in alignment." 

Working Intuitively

"Whakapūawai Ora is a practice centred on people first flourishing inwardly, in order to flourish outwardly in areas of life. As a practitioner I utilise a wide variety of skills and knowledge, the wisdoms of my ancestors and ngā Atua, eastern mind and body practices, western knowledge, and indigenous healing traditions when working alongside you.  Feel free to look around the site and reach out when you are ready.


With gratitude, Maria."

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