Mark Solomon

Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

MarkSolomonMark Solomon is of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kuri descent, and is the elected Kaiwhakahaere (chairperson) of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, a position he has held since 1998.

Mark has represented his local Papatipu Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura, since 1995 and is the current Chair. He has contributed to his community in many capacities, ranging from roles as a trustee of Takahanga Marae, a school board trustee and director of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, a position he held from 2001-2007.

Mark currently holds directorships on Te Ohu Kai Moana, Te Pātaka o Rauru, Te Pookai Aronui and Te Tapuae o Rehua. He is also a summit member of the Hillary Institute. He was an original member of the Minister for Māori Affairs’ Māori Economic Taskforce, established in 2009, and is a trustee for Pure Advantage, the organisation developing a business case for Green growth.

Mark believes a true rangatira is a servant of the people and this was reflected in his role to help establish the Iwi Chairs Forum and his ambition of kotahitanga for Māori.

He is patron for He Toki Ki Te Rika, a Christchurch-based Māori trade training programme, which is preparing young people for the Christchurch rebuild. “I began my career in the freezing works before becoming a foundry foreman in the metal industry. The building industry is a great place for young people, and while I managed to progress without formal qualifications, I think young people today should strive to get formal training whether it is in trades or in the tertiary education area so they can position themselves to be the best they can be.”

Mark was 12 when his father passed away and there are three men he often pays tribute to for greatly mentoring him into his early adulthood and beyond. They were his grandfather Rangi Wawahia Solomon and his uncles, Hoani Pitiroi Papeta Solomon (Uncle Johnny) and Wiremu Te Haere Solomon (Uncle Bill). “These were humble men who believed in and stood for our people. They continue to have a profound effect on my life today.”

Mark says his mother and her family were also influential. “Mum was born and brought up in Dunedin from English and Danish descent.”

Mark says while his parents built a house for the family in Christchurch, it was Oaro, just south of Kaikōura, that they all called home, including his Mum. “The footprints of my tipuna are on and of this land. It is my hope that the footprints I leave today will help guide my children, my mokopuna and generations to follow.”

Among Mark’s passions is his desire to see young Māori take up educational opportunities. He is an advocate of the sanctity of whānau and takes a strong stance against whānau violence. He embraces cultural diversity and supports Christchurch’s refugee and migrant communities. And finally he believes in the sustainable use of natural resources and a Green Growth agenda.

Mark Solomon has been married for 38 years. He is a father and a grandfather.

If you have any further inquiries or require a photograph please contact:

Phil Tumataroa
Communications Manager
Office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
021 248 2242
or Leanne Scott
021 272 1170

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