Exciting opportunity for Kristen Kohere-Soutar

Kristen Kohere-Soutar

Kristen Kohere-Soutar (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou and Rongowhakaata) is set to move from being the Chair of Whai Rawa to take up a new challenge on the board of Mercer New Zealand.

Mercer is one of the world’s leading firms for superannuation, investments, health and human resources consulting and products.

Martin Lewington, Chief Executive Officer, Mercer New Zealand said he was thrilled to welcome such a talented individual who he knows will make a significant contribution to the Board.

“Kristen is an exceptionally talented individual who will play an integral role in delivering our strategic objectives. Her broad experience in wealth management, together with her in-depth knowledge of investments and long term savings schemes, will enhance our capability to deliver a great customer experience to New Zealanders. Likewise, Kristen’s expertise in governance, regulation and leadership with iwi will complement our existing strengths and provide a different perspective.”

“A great fit for our company, Kristen is a firm advocate in recognising the importance we place on excellence and ensuring that we help make a difference in the lives of all New Zealanders.”

Kristen, will join a very small group of māori woman to have been appointed to the board of a global professional services and investment corporation. She has a governance and leadership background in the finance and investment sectors starting early in her career with KPMG and Minter Ellison, and later developing a corporate wide Māori banking strategy for Kiwibank.  Kristen is also on the Ngāti Porou Holdings company and held directorships with ASB Community Trust and Aotearoa Credit Union.

In 2012, Kristen was appointed as a Director of the Ngāi Tahu Whai Rawa Fund Limited (Whai Rawa Board) Board and in July 2015 was appointed Chair.

Lisa Tumahai, Kaiwhakahaere, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, says this is an opportunity that Kristen could not turn down.

“Kristen brought with her a breadth of experience when she joined the Whai Rawa Board and she has taken the program from strength to strength,” says Lisa.

During her tenure as Chair of the Whai Rawa Board registered members in Whai Rawa increased by 3,365 (20,141 to 23,506) and funds under management grew $18.5m from $44.5m to $63m.

“One of the big achievements that Kristen led for Whai Rawa was ensuring it became a Managed Investment Scheme under the Financial Markets Conducts Act. This meant Whai Rawa became the only iwi owned managed investment scheme in the world,” says Lisa.

“Kristen has done so much to help Ngāi Tahu whānau in her role and we wish her all the very best in her future endeavours,” says Lisa.

Kristen Kohere-Soutar says she looks forward to working with the board and Mercer NZ.

“It is an honour to serve my iwi and now Mercer NZ by contributing to the future growth and prosperity of our members and clients,” says Kristen.

“Mercer has been a highly reputable and successful investment partner for Whai Rawa bringing huge global investment expertise and resources for the benefit of our members, equally Whai Rawa is an innovative fund born out of the aspirations of our people. It was established well ahead of its time in 1996 by visionary Ngāi Tahu leaders with an intergenerational focus – so there is much I can bring from my Whai Rawa experience to Mercer.”

“Looking forward, the investment industry in New Zealand is stepping into a new world era including sustainable investments. This and other opportunities and challenges require a relentless commitment to our clients’ needs and to bring more diverse and connected perspectives, creative solutions and agile decision making to the board room – and I know Mercer NZ is up for that.”

Kristen commenced her role with Mercer in August 2017, and will step down from the Whai Rawa Board early in November 2017 to allow Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu to appoint a new Chair. Protocols are in place to manage the dual-directorship in the intervening period.

More information on Whai Rawa can be found here.