Honesty, Respect, Compassion,
Courage and Service
10 years ago after realising that a career in research could potentially give him a brain aneurysm and lead to an early death, James of Tongan descent decided to go into stone wall masonry with his uncle from Leimatua. However, after only a couple of hours on his first day in the blistering summer heat in front of some mansion in Mission Bay, his spirit broke from shovelling dirt from one side of the wall over to the other side and then back again, to the place the dirt was in originally. James’s uncle, realising that he had just made James do something pointless to rationalise employing him, calls James over and begins to give him some advice. He said, “Son, the reason I made you do that was to see if you were a leader or a follower. You are the ladder.” And that is how he got into health and wellbeing.
What led you to working at The Cause Collective?
The problem solving methodology and the focus on doing what’s right and necessary for community wellbeing.
Who inspires you and why?
Whoever faces adverse conditions in life, overcomes them and succeeds.
What is your current role?
Cause and Effect Architect – fancy name partly borrowed from an article from Stanford Social Innovation Review. Basically means using a causality method to understand and overturn root problems.
What projects are you currently working on and what impact do they have on the community?
I work across all the projects and teams. I’m mostly involved in the early stages, helping teams with problem definitions, root cause analyses, future reality trees and strategy and tactics.
The pre-requisite for the projected impact is that communities will have much more control over their determinants of health and wellbeing.
What is your vision for health and wellbeing in South Auckland?
The future is health and wellbeing on-demand.
What is one funny/quirky/interesting thing that no-one knows about you?
I write short stories that will never see the light of day.
Who is your favourite Superhero and why?
From the Marvel movies, Thor. He sees tricky situations as simple, makes mistakes, has a flash of intuition and then takes the right course of action – self discovery, learning and accidental wisdom.
What is your superpower?
Being awake, conscious or present.