Kia Ora e te whānau
Ko Tukituki te awa
Ko Takitimu te waka
Ko Kauhehei te maunga
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu te iwi
Ko Ngai-te-whatu-i-apiti te hapu
Ko Pukehou te marae
Ko Vanessa Gillespie toku ingoa
(most people call me Ness and I’m cool with that!)
No Ahuriri ahau
I acknowledge my ancestors of tāngata Māori, and I endeavour to learn more about my whakapapa, but I have grown up in te ao pakeha. We all have a story, so no matter how you come, you are welcome to share space with me. We can all journey and navigate our world together.
I am proudly a local Hawke’s Bay girl, born and raised, choosing to do my Social Work degree here at home through EIT.
Whānau first always for me. I am the youngest of four girls, and I am lucky enough to still have both my incredible parents together and cheering me on. No children of my own, but I do have a one-year-old fur baby (Golden Retriever) called Bene. I am, however, the favourite Aunty and spend lots of my spare time with the tamariki in my whānau. I have lots of energy to invest into young people in our community.
A surprise to many but I’ve worked on a farm with horses and in a packhouse grading onions, so I have respect for everyone in our community who keep things ticking over. While I was working in these spaces I was studying, and lucky enough to find my passion in working with young people during my placements.
I have spent the last six years working with young people at Directions Youth Health Centre. This is when I was introduced to the Y, collaborating on breakaway camps and leadership programmes.
These moments with the Y certainly sparked a different kind of passion for me – adventure and adrenaline fuelled, and the excitement of seeing young people thrive when they challenge themselves. I love adventures and am in the process of ticking off my Hawke’s Bay bush bucket list. What better way to challenge myself than by doing it alongside our young people!
And challenging and guiding our youth to discover their potential is what gets me out of bed!