From the Deputy Chair
Posted on 13 August 2020
This is a happy and sad occasion for me, as I write my final piece for the pānui in my capacity as a Trustee of Ngāti Apa Ki Te Rā Tō. As I reflect on the past 13 years since my initial election in 2007, a lot has happened, and I can look back on some very rewarding and proud moments, tinged along the way with some very testing and challenging situations that have had to be navigated.
To be elected as chairman at my very first board meeting was humbling but in hindsight extremely challenging and risky, especially as I came with a zero knowledge base on the workings of the iwi and secondly because I was working in a very busy and demanding role in my main job at KiwiRail at the time. Much of the experience I gained in my career with KiwiRail, served me well at Ngāti Apa, particularly in the areas of business planning and budgeting, staff recruitment and management and health and safety.
Culture and te reo was a significant weakness for me and if I had my time again this is one of the things I would have made a priority much earlier in my life. Overall, I am happy in the belief that I leave the iwi in a good state, both from a financial perspective and also in having a good framework by way of sound policies and processes, from which to move forward. Often iwi in a post-settlement world are criticised for the way in which they operate and for squandering the pūtea.
One of my fundamental values I have always aspired and lived to, is to live within our means and to ensure that whatever we create is both inter-generational and sustainable. It is the generations of my tamariki and mokopuna who will grow our iwi into something aspirational and meaningful and my aim was always to set a solid foundation from which they could do that.
I also believe that no one person has a mortgage on good ideas and outcomes and it has been a pleasure working with the Trustees elected throughout my term, and with the Directors we have appointed to the various subsidiary boards our deeds require us to have. That said, little would have been achieved without the commitment and dedication of our office team(s) from the general manager down, who provide the horsepower to make our collective dreams and aspirations happen and to them I pass on my appreciation and a huge thanks.
One of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects throughout my tenure, has been to attend the many road shows and wānanga we have held and to meet those of you who attended, kanohi ki te kanohi. It has also given me the opportunity to meet many of my whanaunga, descendants of Hoani Mahuika, who in many cases I had no idea even existed at the start of my journey.
I need also to make a number of acknowledgements. Firstly, to my wife Yvonne who has had to contend with me being away from home often, taking leave from my work to do iwi work and who has always supported me. It is also gratifying that two of my tamariki chose to become involved and have taken prominent roles within the iwi and have both made significant contributions.
To the many people I have had the pleasure of working with, chairs and kaimahi from other iwi, MPs, mayors and their respective officials, along with representatives from many other agencies and organisations we have formed relationships with, thank you.
In closing I thank you all for having the faith to elect me for the period I have been involved with the iwi. I have learned and gained a lot from the experience and I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to lead the iwi on your behalf.
Deputy Chairperson, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō Trusts