Dr Joe Te Rito is of Ngāti Hinemanu descent from Ōmāhu out of Hastings. The community was devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle which flooded the whole community including over 100 houses, the marae, cemetery, school, and kohanga reo. Joe has actively assisted in the recovery efforts by his community since then to provide shelter for displaced families; water, food and stores to local whānau, the rural farming community and other marae; plan for future housing; gather up kōiwi from the cemetery and an ancient burial site unearthed by the flood; recover old carvings from an old pātaka; and revive local Māori history that had been forgotten. He was former head of Māori Studies at EIT (17 years), worked at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (11 years), currently works for Ako Aotearoa (7 years); and is the original and current head of Radio Kahungunu (35 years).