I believe we all have the potential to be leaders. Some of us want to lead, some of us don’t, and some of us shouldn’t.

So what exactly is leadership? In my view, leadership is the ability to influence.

So many people think that leadership is a title or position. I’ve come across many people who are effective leaders, and yet they don’t occupy positions of authority. I’ve also come across people in positions of authority who are quite frankly, bloody useless!

The position doesn’t make you a leader, it’s who you are as a person that makes the position. Great leaders don’t need a position or title to lead. Great leaders lead from wherever they are, in the endeavour they choose often without meaning to or realising it.

Kia ora, my name is Awhimai Reynolds and I’m grateful our paths have crossed. My philosophy is that leadership starts with self-leadership. A person cannot lead others until she can first lead herself and the more she works on herself, the more she can give to those around her.

My purpose is to inspire wāhine to give themselves the gift of leadership by investing in themselves to develop their leadership potential and lead (alongside tāne) in the whānau, hapū, iwi, community or workplace. We need more leaders, effective leaders, to lead us into the future.

I started iWahine NZ in 2015 to provide a platform for wāhine Māori to hear their voices, see their faces, and share their stories. Through the use of social media, we promote te mana o te wāhine and connect with wāhine toa.

Why am I so passionate about this kaupapa?

I come from a long line of wāhine toa. All my life I’ve had strong female role models who have influenced me, including my nannies, my mother, my aunties, and my six sisters as well as my koro, my dad, managers, co-workers, teachers, fellow students, and friends.

I want to share what I know with others. I want all people to be inspired to believe in themselves and their abilities. And it starts with self-awareness, knowing how great leaders lead, understanding the importance of communication, and practicing leadership every day.

It’s not enough to “know” or intellectualise leadership; you have to “do” leadership to “be” a leader.

To lead others you must first lead yourself. Because if you can’t lead yourself, how can you expect to lead others. This means you are responsible for your own development. Great leaders never stop growing or developing. They are lifelong students and never stop taking in new information.

My life changed for the better when I began centering all that I do around my talents, strengths, and passions. As I came to understand my identity and my purpose in life, that enabled me to realise the value of education, information, and knowledge. I began to make information relevant to my personal and professional development, and that allowed me to define my existence and take control of my life.

Understanding how to apply knowledge and learning to self-actualize your potential is what leadership is all about.

At iWahine we help you improve your performance at every level, enhance your lifelong learning capacity, and change your mindset from that of a follower to a leader – first leading yourself, then others.

I am truly grateful to have discovered for myself who I am, what my purpose is, what my mission in life is, and to be able to share that with as many people as I possibly can

If you want your life to get better, then take control of it. It’s up to you and no one else. Don’t wait for others to define who you are or what your potential is. That, e hoa, is a lifelong journey for you to undertake.


My Why

“To inspire wahine to do work that inspires them because when they do, they change lives and make the world a better place for everyone.”