From the CEO: Looking to the next 25 years and beyond.

Jul 12, 2023

Chief Executive Officer,
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
Arihia Bennett


Lately, I have been preoccupied with my own progression and proactive planning into the “third age”. Once I would have considered this something to think about in the distant future, but now it’s a reality because it’s on my doorstep.

I am reminded of this every day with the bombardment of advertising from beauty “magic”, health reminders and offers to sign up to aged care amongst the many that mysteriously find their way into my social media feeds.

A stark reminder recently, was when my nine-year-old niece asked: “What are all those lines on your neck, Aunty?”

Later this year, Te Rūnanga will be 25 years as we celebrate the Deed of Settlement signing back in September 1998. In 2001, we landed Ngāi Tahu 2025, a tribal map centred on aspirations towards tino rangatiratanga across whānau, hapū, Papatipu Rūnanga and iwi.

At the time of its creation, it seemed like 2025 was also in the distant future, but now here we are only 18 months away. Reflecting on the last 20-plus years, it’s suffice to say we haven’t been asleep at the wheel, but rather, moving swiftly as a tribe. We have strengthened our Ngāi Tahu cultural presence, built a tribal economy, and are now focused on growing our regions while change is going on all around us. We are living in a time of rapidly developing digital technology, new green energy sustainable power solutions, impacts of climate change, from paddock-to-laboratory grown kai, natural catastrophic events, geo-politics, space travel, wars – the list goes on.

How do we prepare for the next 25 years, heading towards 2050 and beyond, so we can continue to carve our presence into the landscape of Aotearoa while keeping up with the rapid pace of change?

The one anchor we have is: Mō Tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – for us and our children after us.
Our tūpuna had great foresight, having made the bold journey to Aotearoa, and then migrating to Te Waipounamu. We owe it to these early pioneering navigators not to fall into the melting pot, but keep growing our Ngāi Tahu presence so it is everlasting.

Mō Kā Uri: Ngāi Tahu 2050 is our tribal vision initiative that puts whānau aspirations at the heart of its process to ensure the ideas and solutions are grounded in our experiences, relevant to our culture, and reflect our unique dreams for the future. It is gaining momentum with whānau of all generations engaging and having a say on what matters most.

If you are interested in keeping up with all things Mō Kā Uri: Ngāi Tahu 2050,
please email: [email protected] 

For me, I’m trusting I can stay alive to see us achieve that milestone; if I’m lucky to be around in 2050, I may have new super bionic body parts while hoping I haven’t lost my marbles!