Teahooterangi Pihama is of Te Ātiawa, Ngā Māhanga-a-Tairi, Waikato and Ngāti Maru decent. He was raised by two mums, and with his siblings, was the first generation of his whānau to attend Kura Kaupapa Māori under Te Aho Matua.
Always fascinated by the power and potential of money, it is no surprise Pihama became interested in banking. His early career progress was stalled by racism. When applying for entry level banking roles – with a good CV detailing a history in insurance, sales and customer service – he found he wasn’t getting any interviews. He believes his long Māori name meant he was overlooked by recruiters who had a predetermined idea about Māori. He realised that if he was going to succeed in the industry, he needed to put himself in front of the people who were making decisions and demand he be given an opportunity.
Now, Pihama welcomes the chance to change the way the banking sector understands te ao Māori. At Kiwibank while in the role of business banker he co-established and chair of Te Uepū Māori o Kiwibank, a voluntary workforce with the goal of sustainably normalising te reo Māori me ōna tikanga within the organisation. He now holds the position of Head of Māori Advisory at Kiwibank. His personal goals include increasing the number of Māori working in the financial industry, supporting the continued growth of the Māori economy, growing the financial capability of Māori and continue the normalisation of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga in the banking sector.