Lou Davis & Sharon Davis

Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Manu, Ngātiwai, Ngāti Whātua

Lou and Sharon have been hanging out in urban neighbourhoods for thirty-five years. Since their teenage years they have been wholeheartedly involved in community action and change, with a strong focus on encouraging rangatahi Māori. Together and with others they have committed their life’s mahi to journeying with Māori in their community who are struggling, marginalised and disconnected from positive life outcomes. Their mahi helps these people to discover and mobilise their own and their collective potential, expertise, strengths and resources.

Lou and Sharon have pioneered a range of community- inspired initiatives for supporting rangatahi Māori in housing and education, and addressed fragmented support services to Māori whānau, especially young parents.

Sometimes leaders want everything provided – like, where’s the funding going to come from? Mum used to say, ‘Put your hand in your own pocket first!’ Te Ora Hou people were pōhara as, but we drove our own cars – well, I had to borrow cars – we used our own money, all that sort of stuff. It was good for us, being generous with the stuff that we had. It’s not just for you. It’s for other people—Sharon

I think if you really want to make change in a community, you’ve got to be committed to it long term. You can’t come in and do a five- year project—Lou