We are excited to welcome Rachel Smith, our new Lead Strategic Innovator to the Healthy Families Far North whānau.

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Having lived in the Far North for most of her life, Rachel is passionate to see a thriving Te Tai Tokerau – shaped by our people, for our people. She brings a wealth of knowledge from her time as a Councillor with the Far North District Council, with a focus on places for people, community empowerment, and sustainability for our mokopuna.

Rachel will be supporting our System Innovators to strengthen our collective power through active collaboration of our diverse people and organisations, bringing experience and community connection to the table in a united effort for better health outcomes for our whānau.

She says she’s looking forward to supporting the Healthy Families kaupapa in building a healthy, happy and connected community in Te Tai Tokerau. 

Meet our new Innovator and get to know what makes her tick. 

Rachel Smith 2

Tēnā koutou katoa e hoa mā, ko Rachel toku ingoa, nō Kerikeri ahau. I am a mum of three (Savannah, Austin and Lilah) and a wife to Dean. I have spent the last 6 years in the Local Government space, with the last 3 years as the Chair of Strategy and Policy at Far North District Council.

Why did you decide to join Healthy Families Far North?

#mokopunadecisions! The mahi of Healthy Families; enabling long-term change for our tamariki, our mokopuna, aligns very strongly with my “why”. I am excited to have the opportunity to continue my mahi of service with an amazing team, at a whānau and community level.

What does systems change mean to you?
To me, it means being open to change, being agile and responsive, being willing to get it wrong. It means enabling people to really have their voices heard, empowering them to define and create their outcomes of tomorrow.

As a Strategic Innovator, what do you hope to do at Healthy Families Far North to affect and create change?

Flip the system upside down! I am excited to continue to work with our communities, building their capability and my own, to break down barriers and enable outcomes that will make a difference for our mokopuna!

What is your vision for Te Tai Tokerau?

A place where our people thrive together, are resilient to change, and are empowered to provide solutions for themselves, and for their whanau.

What are you doing in your spare time?

In my spare time, I am a bit of a “fake it ‘til you make it” gardener and am really enjoying learning about growing kai at home. I am also on a mission to walk 1200km this year, so am spending a lot of time on hikoi around our rohe!