Solomon hands reins of Ngai Tahu to Tumahai

Hokitika woman Lisa Tumahai has taken over the mantle from Sir Mark Solomon as the temporary kaiwhakahaere (chairman) of the billion-dollar Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

Tumahai, deputy chairwoman for about five years, yesterday stepped into the top role, ending Sir Mark's 18-year tenure.

Sir Mark Solomon
Sir Mark Solomon

Three days ago, Darran Kerei-Keepa was elected to represent Kaikoura Runanga at the board table, replacing Sir Mark.

Mrs Tumahai will remain in the post until an election is held next year.

She represents Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae and was nominated for the deputy role by fellow West Coast iwi Te Runanga o Makaawhio. She has links to both marae.

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu has agreed to review the roles of the kaiwhakahaere and deputy.

``I am committed to commencing this at our hui in February. I envisage that an electoral process for the new kaiwhakahaere will commence in early 2017,'' Mrs Tumahai said yesterday.

She also paid tribute to Sir Mark.

``I wish to acknowledge Ta Mark for his outstanding contribution to the tribe and leadership of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

``His contribution is immeasurable and has traversed governments, cultures and nations, while earning him the respect of his peers and contemporaries.''

She said Ngai Tahu had a lot more work to do to complete the review of governance processes and she was committed to completing that work.

Mrs Tumahai (nee Tauwhare) is the first woman to hold such a senior role within Ngai Tahu.

She now lives in Hokitika, but previously worked in senior roles with the Canterbury District Health Board and prior to that worked in the education sector for private training establishments. Her father is from Arahura and her mother is a Bromley from Greymouth.

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