From the Chair

Posted on 17 December 2019

From the Chair

I  am humbled to be in a position where I can pen a Chairperson’s Report to members of Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō.

I’d like to add my thanks and appreciation to the outgoing Chairperson, Brendon Wilson. Brendon’s stewardship has been significant, and the current state of our iwi Trust is testament to his diligence.

The work of former Deputy Chair and current Trustee Margaret Bond must also be acknowledged. Margaret has dedicated most of her life to iwi business and many years as a board member. Thanks Margaret, for your commitment and all that fire in your belly.

I’d also like to thank Denis Gapper, who did not seek re-election this year, for his long service to the iwi. Kia kaha Denis and may you enjoy your retirement.

Thanks also to Tracy Tamou for your service to the iwi and for your constant encouragement to have our Rātana whānau participate in iwi activities. I hope we can encourage you to tutor iwi members interested in kapa haka at some time in the future.

Congratulations and welcome back to the Trust board Bosun Huntley. Bosun, you know the ropes and I notice you have already been sending out information alerting us all of key issues to keep an eye on.

Welcome, too, to Clinton Gapper, I see that there will be no stopping you as you have put your hand up for various sub-committees already and that’s terrific and very encouraging. 

As many of you will know, we made a significant announcement at the last AGM, namely the introduction of The Kath Hemi Huia Kaimanawa Scholarship. Whilst this scholarship is for those majoring in Te Reo Māori, that does not mean that you cannot double major in something else as well, so please bear that in mind. Please don’t be self-limiting. Be proud of your academic abilities, be strong in your aspirations, and be determined to excel in the academic arena. We look forward to announcing the inaugural recipient of this very special scholarship in the New Year.

My initiation as chair was spent looking through Brendon’s 800-plus emails for the month. At that stage I gave a huge cry of “no, really” or words to that effect. In terms of business as usual, the breadth of work is mindboggling and, to be honest, it will take some time to get my head around all the new responsibilities. I’m hoping my next report will have more informative substance around the various projects, business and plans we as a Trust are involved in on behalf of the iwi.

It is hard to believe we are in December, and with that comes the hapū Christmas parties. Thank you to Kylie Batt for organising the Puaha te Rangi Christmas party, it is much appreciated.

I’m happy to finish my first report by congratulating all those associated with the Tuia 250 commemorations.

What a magnificent commitment our iwi made to ensuring we played our part, not only in the commemoration, but more importantly in showcasing the essence of who we are. Our waka Te Haeata epitomises our story and whilst she symbolises pride, revitalisation and unity, she is also beautiful, elegant and masterful. (It was an emotional moment when fellow trustee Margaret Bond and I had a brief moment in the waka out on the water.) Our master carver, Fayne Robinson has created a true taonga with his storytelling depicted in the carvings. Kiley Nepia prepared the kaihoe to perfection; they guided the waka over the water like seasoned professionals. It was awe-inspiring.

Thanks to Nic Coburn for representing our iwi in the countless hours of negotiating and organising the event on our behalf, a truly terrific effort. And also, to Lynne Owen, Georgia Gapper and Rowena Smith for your many hours of support. To our General Manager, fellow Trustees, staff and iwi members, thanks also for your contribution to such a successful day.

Until next time, Mere Kirihimete whānau.

Hinemoa Conner,

Chair, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Trusts


Pictured above are Chair Hinemoa Conner, with rangatahi Kahu Batt, of Westport, left, and Justin Starkey, of Blenheim.                              Photo: David James/Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō

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