From the CEO
Making a difference

Chief Executive Officer,
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu
Arihia Bennett

As another year draws to a close, and we gear up to take a break over the holiday period, it’s a good time to take stock and weigh up our successes and challenges over the year, most importantly assessing whether or not we have made a difference
over the past 12 months.

Whether you have successfully navigated COVID-19, held your whānau together as you grieved the loss of a loved one, learned how to reduce your carbon foot print, planted trees, extended your reo Māori, found ways around escalating living costs,
or moved from living in your car to a home – one thing is certain: we are a resilient lot.

In times of adversity, all is not lost as we find ways to overcome difficulties, although some may need more support than others to get over the hurdle.

This year with Te Rūnanga has been full of such encounters, and it is due to our collective strength that we have reached out to whānau with support no matter their location. Alongside Papatipu Rūnanga, the Whānau and Emergency Response team has stepped up in assisting whānau and, more recently, the Whānau as First Navigators kaupapa has been woven right across our takiwā to ensure household self-determination comes first.

I’m not blowing our trumpet. The thing is, as stewards we have a duty, and it is a no-brainer that if whānau can drive their own goals and come up with their own solutions, then their strength and confidence will have a cascading effect. After all, isn’t this what we strive for in our own homes?

As we gear up for 2023, the recent success of the Hui-ā-Iwi at Arowhenua brought joy to many with whanaungatanga and reconnecting, the stars of the show. The demonstration of our Ngāi Tahutanga exuded in every corner of the marae, and we are excited about building on this inside our takiwā and beyond; so watch this space as there may be a roadshow heading to your town at some point next year.

Our thrust to continue driving our regional economy and Papatipu Rūnanga capability will continue to grow in 2023. However, I am mindful this is against a backdrop of young people moving to the larger metropolitan areas. We need to
come up with some ingenious innovations to attract and hold their attention.

As we step into imagining Ngāi Tahu 2050, hearing the voices of rangatahi will be critical along with creating opportunities for them to lead. It is a fact that we are an aging Ngāi Tahu population, so using the wisdom and experience around at present and the growing repository of archival information must somehow find its way into the hands of the next generation.

A point to ponder over the Christmas break, whether young or older, inexperienced or wiser: how bold are you to take the next steps to ensure our Ngāi Tahutanga continues to flourish?

Enjoy your whānau time over the summer, care for one another and always be kind.

He aroha whakatō
He aroha puta mai,