Statement from Justin Tipa - Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Statement from Justin Tipa

Kei ngā tihi tapu, kei ngā wai tuku kiri o tēnā marae, o tēnā hapū, naia te mihi a Te Kohurau maunga.
Ka tangi mōteatea te ngākau ki ō tātau tini mate, rātau kua nuku te apiapi ki rātau. Tātau kua nuku te māharahara ki a tātau. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora mai tātau katoa.

I come from a whānau of fishermen. My parents and grandparents were entrepreneurs. They raised us close to the marae. Even as a young adult who moved away, Moeraki was always home. My partner Ana and I are again living at the pā with our whānau. I know I am privileged to be here.

My leadership journey is not typical. I am a product of Kōhanga Reo, the passion installed in me for te reo, for things Māori runs deep. I started working life as a labourer and foundryman. It wasn’t until later in life that I turned to education. I have been a lecturer, led the TRONT education team and am now at Fonterra as Chief Advisor Māori. I am the current Chair of Te Rūnanga o Moeraki and hold numerous board roles.

I first stood for TRONT because I believed there was a need for a stronger cultural presence and a tikanga-based approach to how the tribe is governed. It is timely with deep institutional knowledge still at the Table to transition to new leadership of TRONT. Putting my hand up for Kaiwhakahaere is not a decision made lightly. I am humbled to have received nominations from several Papatipu Rūnanga.

Good leadership must be transparent, must be open to being held accountable and must be connected to our marae, to our whānau. I believe that amid a cost of living crisis, TRONT risks becoming disconnected and irrelevant to whānau. I want our whānau and our pā to thrive.

I want our whānau to be connected and engaged at their marae and within the iwi. Ultimately, helping the mana of Ngāi Tahu is at the heart of what drives me.

Away from my governance roles and my aspirations for the role of Kaiwhakahaere, I find balance being back on our whenua of going for a dive and spending time with whānau. My happy place is certainly at home on the pā and in the Waitaki Valley. It’s this feeling I hope we can create for other whānau in their journey of reconnection.