Message to Ngāi Tahu whānui from the Interim Kaiwhakahaere

E ngā uri o Tahu Pōtiki, e aku whanaunga puta noa, tēnā rā koutou katoa. Nei noa tāku mihi ki a koutou, i a tātou e anga nei ki te wā whakatihi o te tau. E hoki kōmuri nei a rau aroha ki te tini o rātou kua nunumi atu rā, me te aha, e haehae nei te ngākau mō rātou kua takahi atu rā i te ara namunamu ki taiao. Tātou ngā kanohi māpurapura o rātou mā, tīhei mauriora ki a tātou katoa!

You will have received the communication yesterday confirming that the new Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Representative for Kaikōura is Darran Kerei-Keepa.

Darran was appointed to the role following the conclusion of the rūnanga election process on Sunday 11 December. I am sure you will join me in welcoming Darran to the table.

The appointment brings to an end Tā Mark Solomon’s 18 year tenure as Kaiwhakahaere at the Te Rūnanga table.

I wish to acknowledge Tā Mark for his outstanding contribution to the tribe and leadership of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. I also pay tribute to Tā Mark’s tireless commitment to the wellbeing and betterment of Ngāi Tahu whānui. His contribution is immeasurable and has traversed governments, cultures and nations, while earning him the respect of his peers and contemporaries.

In 2005 Tā Mark was instrumental in setting up Iwi Chairs Forum, gaining the support of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu before convening the inaugural hui at Takahanga Marae in Kaikōura. Since that time the forum has been meeting regularly to discuss and enable Māori aspirations in the spheres of cultural, social, economic, environmental and political development. More than 43 iwi attended the most recent forum in Blenheim, and over 72 iwi have participated since inception. It has the eye and the ear of the Government, which regards the forum as one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country.

Tā Mark co-chairs the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group with Tā Tumu te Heuheu and in 2009 was an original member of the Minister for Māori Affairs’ Māori Economic Development Taskforce chaired by then Minister of Māori Affairs Hon Dr Pita Sharples.

Following the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes Tā Mark played a key role in re-establishing the Māori trades training initiative, He Toki ki Te Rika, led by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in partnership with CPIT and Hawkins. He remains a staunch supporter of the kaupapa and is patron of the initiative that has produced over 500 graduates.

In 2013 he was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours with a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and Business. He was officially knighted in a ceremony on Friday 24 May, 2013 by the Governor General in Wellington, followed by a celebration at Takahanga Marae attended by thousands of supporters and well-wishers.

Tā Mark remarked at the time that though the knighthood was bestowed upon him, he accepted it on behalf of the iwi for it was the work of those that came before him that the recognition was built on.

In 2015 Tā Mark received an Honorary Doctorate from Lincoln University as Doctor of Natural Resources, recognising his enduring interest and concern for our natural environment.

For those that know him Mark has always remained humble and there are few occasions where the title of Sir sits comfortably on his shoulders. It is the mark of his character that he has led Te Rūnanga since Settlement. We know that he has much to offer and will continue to contribute positively to Ngāi Tahu and Māoridom.

Te Rūnanga has a lot more work to do to complete the review of governance processes we have been discussing recently, and I am committed to completing this work. It is important that we conclude the work Tā Mark has already achieved to ensure a robust governance framework is in place, so that the new Kaiwhakahaere has a smooth transition in to the role. This should be done as soon as practicable.

Te Rūnanga has already agreed to review the roles of the Kaiwhakahaere and Deputy Kaiwhakahaere and I am committed to commencing this at our hui in February. I envisage that an electoral process for the new Kaiwhakahaere will commence in early 2017.

As we are now near the end of the year, I also want to extend my own warm wishes to you all for the Christmas break, and I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe new year.

Nō reira, waiho mā ngā tauwhirotanga o te runga rawa tātou katoa e tautāwhi, ā ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa.

Meri kirihimete ki a koutou katoa, me ngā mihi o te tau hou.

Lisa Tumahai
Interim Kaiwhakahaere