E ngā mana, e aku rangatira, e te iwi whānui, naia anō te mihi kau atu ki a koutou, kei te mihi.

With Koanga (Spring) we see new growth and all around us signs of new life. There are also signs of a new chapter here at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu with two wahine into important roles.

Congratulations to Ann Wakefield, the new Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu representative for Ōraka-Aparima. I wish her well in this role and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Stewart Bull for all his hard work in the past 19 years as the representative for Ōraka-Aparima at Te Rūnanganui o Tahu and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu – ka nui te mihi ki a koe.

We have other rūnanga starting their election process now. I encourage you all to participate in your rūnanga elections and have your say.

Congratulations also to our new Chief Executive Officer, Arihia Bennett of Ngāi Tūāhuriri. While it will be sad to see Mike Sang go, Arihia is someone who Te Rūnanga knows will keep the waka moving forward. The next few months is a transitional period, where Mike and Arihia will work closely together to ensure a good transition of knowledge and kaupapa. We feel extremely fortunate to be welcoming Arihia who brings a vast knowledge and understanding of our rūnanga, hapū and organisational structures, not to mention her wealth of experience in management and the delivery of social services. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of He Oranga Pounamu (HOP) and prior to that she was the Regional Manager, Te Waipounamu, for Barnardos NZ. Arihia has also held a number of advisory positions to government, including Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Commissioner following the September 2010 earthquake. Many of you will remember Arihia when she was a director on the Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation board from 1999 to 2002 and then chair until 2005.

Not many organisations get the benefit of having a transition period between their top managers and we are extremely grateful to Mike for all his efforts during the past 18 months, particularly his wisdom and pragmatic approach to all the decisions that had to be made post-earthquakes. Please join me in sincerely thanking Mike, and welcoming and congratulating Arihia into Te Rūnanga, our first wahine in the role of CEO – e te wahine nui puku, naia te owha ki a koe.

In this edition you will find the latest annual results for the recent financial year. They show we have had another prosperous year, with successful programme initiatives and milestones reached. This is something for us to be proud of. The past year has not been easy, for staff in particular, with the earthquake zoning processes and the continuous delays with insurances claims. However, their ability to progress business-as-usual programmes, implement new programmes aligned to rūnanga aspirations and handle the extra work brought about by the earthquake recovery is extraordinary. I acknowledge and thank the staff from both Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation and Te Rūnanga for their hard work, efforts and commitment to their jobs and to the tribe – e kore e mutu te mihi ki a koutou.

Enjoy the warm weather of Koanga.

Noho ora mai