Te Rūnanga is bound by the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Act 1996.
The Act prescribes, amongst other things, the status of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the members of Ngāi Tahu Whānui and their entitlements, the Papatipu Rūnanga that are members of Te Rūnanga and the provisions for electing Representatives.

The Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Charter is a contract between Te Rūnanga and the Members (Papatipu Rūnanga) and further prescribes the obligations and operation of Te Rūnanga.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is responsible for the overall governance of the group and for representing Papatipu Rūnanga and Ngāi Tahu Whānui and delivering benefits to them. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu deal with global tribal policy and issues, while Papatipu Rūnanga manage issues requiring wider or local consultation.

Te Rūnanga is made up of  18 Papatipu Rūnanga, which are located throughout Te Waipounamu (South Island). The Te Rūnanga Act stipulates that the Appointment Committee for each Rūnanga will appoint a member to act as its Te Rūnanga representative. The Rūnanga Appointment Committee will be elected in a democratic manner, by postal ballot, by the members of each Papatipu Rūnanga. Every Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu representative must be a member of Ngāi Tahu Whānui and be affiliated to the appointing Papatipu Rūnanga.

You can learn more about each of the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu representatives here.

Te Rūnanga Group Governance appointments

To be notified about upcoming appointments please register on Te Pou Here and under ‘Areas of Interest’ select ‘Representing Ngāi Tahu on External Board’.

Further information about our generic appointments process [updated June 2019].

Responsibility of the Rūnanga Representatives

The core responsibility of a Te Rūnanga Representative is outlined in the Charter as follows:

8.1. Fundamental Duty – The Rūnanga Representatives will administer the assets and liabilities of Te Rūnanga as kaitiaki for Ngāi Tahu Whānui. In performing those duties each Rūnanga Representative is to act in good faith and in a manner that the Rūnanga Representative believes on reasonable grounds is in the best interests of Ngāi Tahu Whānui as a whole.”

8.2. Collective interests of Ngāi Tahu Whānui – A Rūnanga Representative must not, when exercising powers or performing duties as a Rūnanga Representative, act or agree to act in a manner which unfairly prejudices or unfairly discriminates against any particular Papatipu Rūnanga unless that Rūnanga Representative believes on reasonable grounds that the fundamental duty set out in sub-clause 8.1 requires such action.”

Ngāi Tahu Charitable Trust

As trustee of the Ngāi Tahu Charitable Trust Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is also directly responsible for the delivery of charitable social and cultural programmes and grants.

For more information visit