Claudine Teina – finding her passion

Auckland GWN spoke to Claudine Teina from the Department of Corrections about her career journey from fitting part-time roles fitted around a young family to her current position as the northern Regional Accommodation Manager.

In 2011, Claudine began her career at the Ara Poutama Aotearoa Department of Corrections. Her work experience up to this point had been extremely varied because she hadn’t yet discovered her passion. This changed when she got her first part-time role with Community Corrections where she realised she could really help people bring about positive change to their lives. She eventually progressed to a full-time position as a probation officer and the launchpad for her career in Corrections.

“I experienced supportive, empathetic motivated managers early in my career and believe they built a solid foundation for me to model my own leadership from,” Claudine told us.  

Teina moved to Auckland in 2015 and, giving every opportunity a chance, applied for many roles, eventually advancing into leadership positions. After being encouraged to apply for a secondment position, she successfully moved into management, taking on a  Service Manager role. Although this felt like a big challenge for Claudine, she was surrounded by a strong supporting network of wāhine. Six months later, she secured the role permanently which gave her a huge sense of pride as a Pacific Island woman and she was able to reflect on how far she’d come and what she’d learned along the way. “This role taught me a lot – be genuine, be involved, set examples for others and always look at building others up.”

“I experienced supportive, empathetic motivated managers early in my career and believe they built a solid foundation for me to model my own leadership from,” Claudine told us.  

Claudine was motivated to look ahead to her next career step when she joined the Tumanawanui Māori and Pasifika mentoring programme. Time spent with her mentor and attending workshops with other inspiring wāhine – each with their own story – gave Claudine the mana and confidence to become her own advocate. “The programme helped me realise I need to prioritise my own successes by seeing that it creates pathways and growth opportunities for other wāhine.  We need to be our best advocates and take other wāhine on our journey, too”.

In June 2019, Claudine began a secondment as a Senior Advisor to prisons which pushed her out of her comfort zone but proved to be extremely beneficial, providing her with a huge amount of insight and understanding of the organisation she worked in. She returned to her frontline management role motivated to set a strategic plan for her career. 

Teina became the northern Regional Accommodation Manager in December 2019, a role she very nearly didn’t apply for as she felt it was well beyond her reach. It proved to be a huge challenge and saw her wanting to give up every day for the first month. But with support from within her organisation and family, she persevered and this role has enabled her to proudly provide a Pasifika and wāhine voice at a strategic level.

Claudine has found the key takeaways from her experiences are to participate, maintain relationships and look after yourself. Her advice is to join women’s networks and get involved in your community’s cultural events, as this helps you to meet like-minded people and mentors. It’s also important to keep in touch with the people you meet along the way and always ask for help.  

“It doesn’t mean that it will be easy or that it will materialise instantly. I had to work through rejection when applying for several roles, but if you can redirect your attitude to see it as learning and seek feedback, that will help you grow.”

Claudine Teina