Prominent Te Arawa Maori have offered themselves for election to Te Tatau o Te Arawa Board.
With 14 positions to fill, 23 candidates – some experienced and several new faces – it is clear Maoridom is keen on gaining a more eloquent say in the running of the town.
Many of the names are familiar in public life, but the list offers a sense of a line of succession and perhaps greater prominence in the democratic process.
The future role of Maori in the community was heightened recently by a visit to Rotorua of Shane Jones, the Minister of Regional Development, who urged Maori not to lose sight of plans to redevelop Rotorua Lakefront no matter the makeup of the Rotorua Lakes Council at the October local body elections.
Te Tatau o Te Arawa Board was formed three years ago following tense submissions. The decision to include two representatives around the Rotorua Lakes Council debating created anxiety in the wider Rotorua community.
After weeks of debate and public submissions, the council voted by a slim majority to include Te Arawa around the table. The representatives have speaking but not voting rights at the two subcommittee levels.
This week, voting documents are being sent out this week and Te Arawa can cast their vote on who they think should represent them on Te Tatau o Te Arawa Board.
The board was established three years ago to guide the partnership with Rotorua Lakes Council and represent the diverse voices of Te Arawa.
While several fresh names have emerged from diverse backgrounds, others have played prominent roles in the community and it is likely some will also stand for the council at large when the campaign officially begins next month.
The Te Tatau candidates are as follows:
Pan-Te Arawa Entities, one seat
Eugene Berryman-Kamp has had three years on Te Tatau and the Rotorua Lakes Council (RLC) Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee says he will strive to ensure Te Arawa continues to have an active and informed voice at the decision-making table.
Kiri Potaka-Dewes is standing on social issues and ageing Maori population concerns.
Potaua Biasiny-Tule says he wants “to positively face issues of homelessness, wastewater, jobs, business opportunities and our environment”.
Aroha Bray says she welcomes the opportunity to contribute her skills to the opportunities and challenges that Te Arawa currently faces.
Ngaroma (Mala) Grant has for more than eight years co-ordinated the work of Te Arawa Whānau Ora to support families to set goals for their own futures and to make changes for themselves, their wider family and communities.
George Haimona, who has grown up and worked in Rotorua, wants to support, lead and continue the legacy of casting a unique Te Arawa lens over all issues and opportunities Te Tatau deal with.
Eraia Kiel sees solution-based thinking, social intelligence and relationship building along with a strong commitment to leadership as his key strengths.
Gina Mohi, who has experience in resource management, wants to ensure that traditional environmental pedagogies are integrated into resource management and environmental planning solutions.
Dr Kēpa Morgan seeks a mind-set, reflecting reluctance to adopt fit-for-purpose solutions.
Paora Te Hurihanganui, chief executive of Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa for the past 13 years, has a strong interest in the wellbeing of our city and region, the environment, tourism, health and education.
Te Taru White, as the inaugural chairman of Te Tatau o Te Arawa, says Te Tatau has performed well around the council table, initiating such key projects such as Rotorua Reorua and have influenced positive change in the council's culture and practices.
Ngati Whakaue (2)
Kingi Biddle, a noted public speaker, wants to continue his commitment to ensure Maori voice continues to be heard with every issue.
Te Mauri Kingi says he’s “very fortunate” to grow up being exposed to Te Arawa customs and processes.
Rangitiaria Tibble wants to continue the legacy of her ancestors, with a “strong desire” to contribute positively to her iwi.
Danielle Marks is keen to continue her interest in community engagement, in particular, our rangatahi and democracy.
Whakaue Savage (details were not attended by English translation).
Kahutapeka Ututaonga is keen to learn how rangatahi can become more involved in iwi affairs, and is also interested in understanding how councils and government work.
Jessie-Jade Witeri says “with the attacks on our Taiāo, the constant marginalisation of our Tipua, the challenges amongst our people ... to progress as an Iwi, means we have to be of one thought”.
Land Trusts/Incorprations (2)
Roku Mihinui, born and raised at Whakarewarewa, seeks to continue to an harmonious co-existence in a wide range of sectors. He sits on a number of boards and his experience is complimentary to their contribution toward the community.
Tina Ngatai has extensive experience in Māori land development, Māori agribusiness and the environmental, social and cultural aspects of these.
Geoff Rolleston has been part of the inaugural Te Tatau o Te Arawa Board, focussing mainly on a Te Arawa voice into the governance of Rotorua, while attempting to work in a “true partnership with the council”.
Rawiri Waru says his experience has signalled “that times are changing and a new fresh approach is now needed to ensure prosperity for Te Arawa and the Rotorua district.”