Review time for Ngati Porou

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou chief executive Herewini Te Koha is a big man with a big job. He heads one of the most vital organisations in the community and one that is in the process of comprehensively looking at itself. Trust revision will set the rules for Ngati Porou. Is their representation fair and in accordance with the settlement? It is being done for Ngati Porou by Ngati Porou?

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou chief executive Herewini Te Koha is a big man with a big job. He heads one of the most vital organisations in the community and one that is in the process of comprehensively looking at itself. Trust revision will set the rules for Ngati Porou. Is their representation fair and in accordance with the settlement? It is being done for Ngati Porou by Ngati Porou?

AT THE HELM: Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou chief executive Herewini Te Koha.

ASK TE Runanganui o Ngati Porou chief executive Herewini Te Koha what is the main attribute he looks for in himself and others and he will tell you it is honesty.

It is the principle that guides him as he runs the day-to-day operations of the district’s biggest Maori organisation and one that is at a key stage of its history as it reviews its trust deed, a major task the board is undertaking.

“The Runanganui is five years old, which is enough time to get a good feel for how the arrangements have worked. We are asking Ngati Porou members to give us their views, the good and the bad, the positive and the critical. They are all relevant to getting a sense of how the arrangements are working and having a commitment to making improvements,” he said

The Treaty settlement signed in 2010 included $110 million mainly in cash, title to 22 conservation sites and the buy-back of forest lands owned by the Crown.

There were also a number of undertakings between the Crown and Ngati Porou on erosion control, infrastructure, services and Ngati Porou heritage.

“The settlement has lots of moving parts. There are straightforward items like cash and assets, and others that are about building a strong dialogue and partnership relationship with the Crown.”

Part of the agreement with the Crown was that the settlement would be well administered and there would be strong and effective representation and governance.

“The review of the Runanganui’s Trust Deed after five years is a good time to undertake the warrant of fitness on the arrangement.

“Rural isolation is the backdrop to the challenges Ngati Porou whanau face within the home territory. It’s hard for many of our families and young people to resist the pull of Gisborne or the larger cities that are offering a greater chance of jobs and better incomes.

“So when you are faced with those sorts of factors that pull our families away we have much fewer hands trying to attend to all of the things and duties that maintain our marae, our hapu and our essence as Ngati Porou.

Social and economic impact of decreasing population

“Then there’s the social and economic impact of a decreasing population at home, the rising costs and instability of essential services to our families, our children and our elders on the East Coast.

“The main aspiration Ngati Porou have of the runanganui is to make the settlement and its voice count in very positive ways, like keeping health services at home, and to support what our families and landowners are doing on the ground for themselves.

“Beyond what we are doing at the iwi level, hapu want their authority and influence restored over their customary areas and resources.

“This year we will complete changes to the 2008 foreshore and seabed agreement with the Crown, and that will include almost all of the hapu. On freshwater, the GDC has got on the front foot with the Waiapu Catchment joint management agreement, and so far so good. We want to grow that collaborative approach with the council and our local communities. There is a lot to do, and we know it takes time and goodwill to do it.”

Since its formation in 1987 the Runanga has grown into one of the district’s major organisations with over 300 employees, including Ngati Porou Hauora, the primary health care service provider on the East Coast.

“We understand our place. We are a relatively big employer in this district. But we have got to make sure that the jobs we create are sustainable. That is a challenge for everybody. We are no exception”.

His family roots on his mother’s side are to Waiomatatini, but he was one of the 70 percent of Ngati Porou born and raised away from home.

Both his parents, Hemi and Mate, were in the Army and his father then joined the Ministry of Transport with the family moving around the country with him.

“We grew up where he was transferred to, Palmerston North, Wellington and South Auckland. But when it was time to connect with our whanau the old man didn’t get a look in really. It was straight back to the Coast.”

Wellington career

He himself has had a successful career in Wellington with senior positions in Te Puni Kokiri, the Office of Treaty Settlements, and Te Mangai Paho (the Maori Broadcasting Commission), all roles that have a strong link with Maori development.

Now 49 he and his wife Kim — an accomplished senior executive of Te Aitanga a Mate affiliation — have three children currently at university, daughters Maia and Te Aomania and son Nui.

Te Koha played both rugby and league, coaching Nui in the latter but saying “he was a better player than I was a coach. I also coached one game of netball. One game.”

He jokingly says his main leisure activities are walking the family dog, ‘and picking up his tiko’.

“This is the second time I have had the opportunity to work for the organisation, back in the 1990s when it was still the Runanga and now in the Runanganui. Both times it has been both an opportunity and a tremendous privilege.

“It has allowed me to make connections wider than my immediate whanau and the other side of Kaiinanga.

“I’m not sure how, or how well, that would have happened otherwise.”

He agreed that the chief executive’s job is, as expected, “full-time plus”.

Often, with runanganui board members and his own staff, there are plenty of evening and weekend hui commitments. But it’s part of the job.

“You meet our whanau on their terms and at times that are best for them.”

ASK TE Runanganui o Ngati Porou chief executive Herewini Te Koha what is the main attribute he looks for in himself and others and he will tell you it is honesty.

It is the principle that guides him as he runs the day-to-day operations of the district’s biggest Maori organisation and one that is at a key stage of its history as it reviews its trust deed, a major task the board is undertaking.

“The Runanganui is five years old, which is enough time to get a good feel for how the arrangements have worked. We are asking Ngati Porou members to give us their views, the good and the bad, the positive and the critical. They are all relevant to getting a sense of how the arrangements are working and having a commitment to making improvements,” he said

The Treaty settlement signed in 2010 included $110 million mainly in cash, title to 22 conservation sites and the buy-back of forest lands owned by the Crown.

There were also a number of undertakings between the Crown and Ngati Porou on erosion control, infrastructure, services and Ngati Porou heritage.

“The settlement has lots of moving parts. There are straightforward items like cash and assets, and others that are about building a strong dialogue and partnership relationship with the Crown.”

Part of the agreement with the Crown was that the settlement would be well administered and there would be strong and effective representation and governance.

“The review of the Runanganui’s Trust Deed after five years is a good time to undertake the warrant of fitness on the arrangement.

“Rural isolation is the backdrop to the challenges Ngati Porou whanau face within the home territory. It’s hard for many of our families and young people to resist the pull of Gisborne or the larger cities that are offering a greater chance of jobs and better incomes.

“So when you are faced with those sorts of factors that pull our families away we have much fewer hands trying to attend to all of the things and duties that maintain our marae, our hapu and our essence as Ngati Porou.

Social and economic impact of decreasing population

“Then there’s the social and economic impact of a decreasing population at home, the rising costs and instability of essential services to our families, our children and our elders on the East Coast.

“The main aspiration Ngati Porou have of the runanganui is to make the settlement and its voice count in very positive ways, like keeping health services at home, and to support what our families and landowners are doing on the ground for themselves.

“Beyond what we are doing at the iwi level, hapu want their authority and influence restored over their customary areas and resources.

“This year we will complete changes to the 2008 foreshore and seabed agreement with the Crown, and that will include almost all of the hapu. On freshwater, the GDC has got on the front foot with the Waiapu Catchment joint management agreement, and so far so good. We want to grow that collaborative approach with the council and our local communities. There is a lot to do, and we know it takes time and goodwill to do it.”

Since its formation in 1987 the Runanga has grown into one of the district’s major organisations with over 300 employees, including Ngati Porou Hauora, the primary health care service provider on the East Coast.

“We understand our place. We are a relatively big employer in this district. But we have got to make sure that the jobs we create are sustainable. That is a challenge for everybody. We are no exception”.

His family roots on his mother’s side are to Waiomatatini, but he was one of the 70 percent of Ngati Porou born and raised away from home.

Both his parents, Hemi and Mate, were in the Army and his father then joined the Ministry of Transport with the family moving around the country with him.

“We grew up where he was transferred to, Palmerston North, Wellington and South Auckland. But when it was time to connect with our whanau the old man didn’t get a look in really. It was straight back to the Coast.”

Wellington career

He himself has had a successful career in Wellington with senior positions in Te Puni Kokiri, the Office of Treaty Settlements, and Te Mangai Paho (the Maori Broadcasting Commission), all roles that have a strong link with Maori development.

Now 49 he and his wife Kim — an accomplished senior executive of Te Aitanga a Mate affiliation — have three children currently at university, daughters Maia and Te Aomania and son Nui.

Te Koha played both rugby and league, coaching Nui in the latter but saying “he was a better player than I was a coach. I also coached one game of netball. One game.”

He jokingly says his main leisure activities are walking the family dog, ‘and picking up his tiko’.

“This is the second time I have had the opportunity to work for the organisation, back in the 1990s when it was still the Runanga and now in the Runanganui. Both times it has been both an opportunity and a tremendous privilege.

“It has allowed me to make connections wider than my immediate whanau and the other side of Kaiinanga.

“I’m not sure how, or how well, that would have happened otherwise.”

He agreed that the chief executive’s job is, as expected, “full-time plus”.

Often, with runanganui board members and his own staff, there are plenty of evening and weekend hui commitments. But it’s part of the job.

“You meet our whanau on their terms and at times that are best for them.”

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Lorraine Haenga - 2 years ago
Kia ora na ma tou iwi o tatou tipuna Porourangi. I would very much like to join in the discussion and place in a submission, however at the moment my mauri, wairua are indisposed with me being ill. But kia Ora koutou katoa na tangata o Ngati Porou.

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