Deidre Otene was born and raised in Mangamuka; educated at Okaihau College and Auckland Girls' Grammar; and became a University of Auckland Vice Chancellor scholar. After a career in community development and civic service she returned home to the Far North in 2015 to contribute to creating opportunities for Young People and Whanau in areas of Education, Leadership and Health. Deidres leadership ability had her lead the development of The Moko Foundation, as CEO she was critical in developing opportunities for Young People both locally, nationally and internationally. Deidre developed innovative programmes and attracted support to deliver projects acoss the far north, including the first mobile innovation hub and the development of a Research Centre.
Deidre recently moved from The Moko Foundation to lead out the development and reinvigoration of Te Kotahitanga e mahi Kaha Trust in the Mid North. As the CEO Deidre will focus on the development of training and education opportunities to prepare and build the capacity of the community to meet employment, business and education opportunities now and into the future. Deidre believes that there is an immediate need to build the capacity of our small communities to meet the market demand in the areas of Construction, Primary Industry and Business development. There is also an immediate need to create pathways in Digital Technology and innovation to ensure we are relevant to market trends and economic development.
Deidre is a 2016 Fellow of the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation World of Difference. She has a successful career history to date, leading health and social services in Queensland, Australia and Auckland. She has experience in building community development models relevant to the communities and environments they serve to overcome inequalities and achieve sustainable outcomes.
Deidre is currently completing a MBA with Massey University.
Deidre began her career in the Youth Justice space, moving in health leadership and advocating for Tikanga and Kawa to be leading drivers in maintaining relevance and true direction. Her experience working within the adult justice system then directed her to focus on strength-based initiatives that would create intergenerational change for future generations.
Deidre is focused strongly on lifting leadership and governance across the region to achieve sustainable outcomes and believes that placing children and young people at the centre of decision making will create positive, sustainable intergenerational change.
She enjoys participating in sport and physical activity and has represented New Zealand and the region in codes, including netball, boxing, basketball, volleyball, marathons and kabaddi. Nowadays, Deidre finds more joy in following her children around the field, court, bush and on the water.