From the CEO

Dec 21, 2014

Arihia-Bennet-circle.jpgChief Executive Officer,
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu,
Arihia Bennett

For our children…

It is just over two years since I became chief executive of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and as I begin to prepare for Christmas, I am already thinking about 2015 and beyond.

There is an exciting buzz in the air that is focused on regional, marae, and whānau development. It is positive, it is forward thinking, and it is generating collaboration that is future-oriented. At the recent opening of the new Ngāti Waewae whare tipuna, Tūhuru, I was mesmerised by our young female warriors as they took centre stage on the marae ātea with their graceful, synchronised articulation of mau rākau.

Apart from having a Xena: Warrior Princess moment, I saw that a new dawn had arrived. A dawn that showed the courage to demonstrate tradition in a contemporary style. We have grown a newfound confidence that isn’t afraid of stretching the boundaries while embracing the richness of our past.

Our governing leadership members are also stretching their future thinking. Most have tamariki, some have mokopuna, and their minds are now casting out beyond 2025 into a future world. This means reviewing goals and adapting in accordance with an innovative outlook.
The interactive nature of social media takes us into each other’s lives across the world. We are edging forward in accepting climate change, as unpredictable weather patterns are now the new norm. Energy, food, and water security are at the front of our concerns, along with the ever-growing challenge of a politically unsettled world.

It is no longer acceptable to be a passive bystander living in a bubble. If we want to step up our pace of growing a modern iwi, we need to be cognizant of what is going on around us.

It is 16 years since our tribal settlement, and you could say that we are Generation Y. Our goals of fostering household wealth and health remain unchanged, but our method of getting there should allow for innovative disruption and adaptation.

In order to get ahead one size will not fit all, so as an iwi we must be open to new ideas. I’ve spent the past year watching my son grow his very cool, savvy business idea. With a coach/mentor on his side and the start-up bank of mum and dad, he is now operating his own business.
On-the-job production is learning in action, and packaged with that Gen Y courage, a persistent intent, and a korowai of support. I can say I am destined for a return on my investment, as well as becoming the visiting cleaner.

Leadership is about enabling, and as I look towards 2015, creating roles for a Gen Y and Z presence in tribal development will be a given, as it will be their future that they must be prepared for, not mine.

I wish you all a safe and relaxing time over the Christmas period, and look forward to joining you in an exciting new year as we gear up towards Te Matatini.