Heidi Baker

Senior scientist

Heidi Baker’s life is full of variety, and she loves it that way.

“I’m a navigator for ESR’s He Wai Māpuna programme and a senior scientist in the Forensic Research team, and I definitely don’t have a typical day! I could be giving evidence at court anywhere in the country, deep cleaning our DNA laboratory, attending a wānanga with my iwi partners or auditing a forensic laboratory, to name a few roles I could be juggling at any time in any week.

But that’s all fine by Heidi: she is committed to always learning and trying new things. “Never stop learning,” is her piece of advice. “Whether it’s through kōrero with kaumātua, expanding your own skills by further study or challenging yourself to work in different ways.”

Not surprisingly, Heidi has always followed her own counsel, with a career that includes stints as children’s birthday party coordinator, lifeguard, personal trainer and whale rescuer.

“I believe that learning and challenging yourself give you the chance to truly connect with the communities you serve,” Heidi explains.

In fact, connecting with community is possibly what Heidi loves most about her current job with ESR: “The global pandemic has shown us all how adaptable we can be and that different ways of working are viable and important to the greater wellbeing. My number one priority is my family, so having a role and a team that values and supports community is important.”

“The aspect I most love in my work is the ability to make a difference in my community. I am incredibly thankful to be living in Aotearoa and want to use my skills to support others to reach their aspirations. The relationships and learnings I’ve developed through working in the Pacific and as part of the Māori Impact team here at ESR have been an incredible gift. I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge and challenging myself to understand the past and its impact on the present and then figure out more ways that I can support a better future.”