Representative for Ōtākou

Rachel Wesley

A descendant of Taare Wetere Te Kaahu and Tahatu, Rachel was raised as one of the ‘pā kids’ at the Ōtākou kāik, spending a huge amount of time at the marae and traversing the whenua with her pōua Tātane Wesley. Ōtākou values, whakapapa and history were ingrained into her by Tātane and a number of influential taua and aunties from her hapū during the 1980s and 1990s. No surprises when Rachel left school to work on the marae, participating in the restoration of the whakairo on Tamatea and the whare karakia, and cataloguing taoka in the marae whare taoka!

Rachel has been an active participant in rūnaka affairs since her teenage years, serving her ‘apprenticeship’ in the wharekai. By her late 20’s, Rachel was a member of the former Executive Committee, and Chair of the rūnaka’s Whānau Kōmiti. In recent years, Rachel has served as Deputy Chair and Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou. Rachel has also held a number of governance and representative roles, both for her rūnaka and on behalf of the rūnaka of Te Tai o Araiteuru. Having trained as an archaeologist and working within the museum sector, Rachel holds a strong background in cultural heritage management, however her other passions include environmental management, whānau resilience and development, and supporting our rakatahi to become our next leaders.

Rachel is currently employed as Chief Executive of Aukaha (1997) Ltd, a rūnaka-owned entity that works on behalf of rūnaka from Waihao south to Hokonui. As such, Rachel has a very keen interest in strategic development and furthering the rakatirataka of rūnaka within the regions.

Most importantly, Rachel has contributed 5 children and 2 mokopuna to the whakapapa of her hapū of Kāti Taoka and Kāi Te Pahi.