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An introduction to our Māori Board members

16 May 2023

Presbyterian Support Upper South Island (PSUSI) is on a cultural journey to honour its responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. A crucial element in upholding that commitment, is ensuring we have appropriate Māori representation at Board level. Our current Board includes two Māori members – Sharyn Roberts and Joseph Tyro, and we are privileged to introduce them to you.


Sharyn Joseph

Sharyn Roberts

Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko Sharyn Roberts tōku ingoa. He uri nō Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha, Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa. I was born in Invercargill and have lived most of my life in Te Waipounamu and whakapapa to Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha through my father however, I was raised by my Ngāti Kahungunu mother and it is the whenua of Ngamotu, Kihitu Pā and Te Rauhina marae nō Wairoa where my bones are from. 


Joseph Tyro

Tēnā tatou katoa. He uri ahau nō Ngāi Tahu rātou ko Te Atihaunui-A-Pāpārangi ko Ngāti Rangi ngā Iwi. E tipu ake au ki Ohinehou, ko Joseph Tyro tōku ingoa. Tēnā koutou katoa. I was born in Christchurch and raised in Lyttelton, close to my grandfather’s hapū Ngāti Wheke and Rāpaki marae. I was fortunate to have been raised in a community ‘village’ by my father Graham Tyro, mother Pani Zaitsev and my grandparents Hori Briggs (Tau) and Mekura Tuatini-Taiaroa. 

Career background

Sharyn, our Deputy Chair, is a registered Social Worker, and her mahi for the past 20 years has been in supporting Māori aspiration and leadership. She is Pou Ārahi at Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi and is President of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers. She says her greatest influence has been her mother – one of the first Māori Plunket nurses in Aotearoa, and a staunch advocate for wāhine and whānau. 

Joseph has worked as a registered Social Worker, and in the health sector for the past 23 years. His current role is Investment and Infrastructure Lead for Te Aka Whai Ora. He says his inspiration to pursue a career in the health sector came from his grandmother who had worked as a kaumātua/health promoter for cervical screening for Māori. 


“Whānau, hapū and iwi is everything,” says Sharyn. “When I stand, I do not stand alone. I stand supported, knowing who I am, who I represent, and my why is very clear.” 

Her motivation to join the PSUSI Board eight years ago, as the first Māori Board member, was driven by the realisation that whānau, hapū and iwi transformation is done collectively, by Kaupapa Māori, Iwi and Tauiwi organisations together. She adds, “PSUSI needed me, and I needed PSUSI so that whānau transformation and aspiration would be realised.” 

There were many factors which motivated Joseph to join the Board. He says, “I am so impressed of the whakapapa of the organisation and the current leadership throughout the organisation from the Board Chair, the CEO, Kaiārahi, tangata whenua, Pasifika, board members, and the amazing staff that serve our community. I really believe in the purpose of the organisation through its mission statement and organisational values, and I am grateful and humbled for the opportunity.” 

Hopes and aspirations for the future of PSUSI 

Sharyn and Joseph’s hopes for the future are shared – that PSUSI’s strategic journey continues to give life to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and promotes a growing understanding of Mātauranga Māori and Te Ao Māori. There is also the desire to build genuine relationships with mana whenua and our Māori communities. 

Joseph says, “We will create a pathway to a better future for our children and mokopuna. Allowing them to access a service that is culturally safe and free from racism.”

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