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Anyone who knows Tia Ashby — Interim CEO of Te Hau Ora Ō Ngāpuhi — knows she is humble, has a tireless work ethic, and just gets on and does the do no matter what the challenges are.
What most people don’t know about Tia is that she’s also a tri-service medic with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), having enlisted at the age of 19 and training at Burnham Military Camp to work across the three different operating environments of the Army, Navy and Air Force. She has spent 12 years in the armed forces, and received five operational medals for her services in overseas deployments including a year in Afghanistan.
Also an academic high achiever, Tia has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, is a qualified registered nurse, and attended Harvard University on a scholarship where she learned how to design cost-effective strategies to deliver innovative health programmes in Te Tai Tokerau and nationally.
Which brings us to this shout out for her newest accolade, again one that Tia kept largely to herself. Tia has had the honour of being selected as the patron of the January 2023 medic intake of the Defence Health School of the NZ Defence College at Burnham. This class of trainees will be known as ‘Ashby Class’.
As patron, Tia has been invited to Burnham Camp, Christchurch to provide Ashby Class with an understanding of a medic’s life so the trainees can fully appreciate the task they are embarking on. Throughout their training, Tia will be invited to field exercises and graduations for the Military Medical Technician, and Medic phases of training.
Tia’s sister reports that due to her humble personality Tia often shuns the limelight and is reserved about being at the centre of attention. However, all of us at Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-Ō-Ngāpuhi Group want to acknowledge Tia — not just for her service to the NZDF and upcoming patronage of a medic class, but for her substantial work with Te Hau Ora Ō Ngāpuhi these past couple of years, including leading the TRAION group’s COVID-19 response for Ngāpuhi and Te Tai Tokerau.
E Tia, ka whakahīhī mātou ki a koe. He rangatira pono koe.
For more about this wahine toa, check out this excellent article in Woman Magazine.