Strong iwi and hapu links for Centre

By Nikolai Smith

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Northland Events Centre has a new trustee with strong links to the community and sport.

Deborah Harding was appointed as a trustee at the Whangarei District Council meeting on June 26.

The 48-year-old says she is suited to the role.

"Work behind the trust fits with the character of who I am. It's timely to get on board and bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears."

The $16 million Events Centre located at Toll Stadium was completed in 2010. It hosts conferences, meetings, dinners, weddings, festivals, concerts and sports events.

The Event Centre's website states "the Trust is also charged to exhibit and provide a sense of social and environmental responsibility having regard to the interests of the community as a whole."

The District Council and the Trust are responsible for the centre's operation and maintenance.

Ms Harding, who grew up in Whangarei and Ruakaka, has a post-graduate diploma in Maori Business Development from the University of Auckland, is acting chief executive of Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust, chairs the Department of Conservation's Cultural Materials Committee, is Kaipara representative for Taitokerau Whanau Ora Regional Leadership Group and is active in a number of community groups.

Ms Harding, of Patuhrakeke and Ngati Manu descent, has strong links to hapu and iwi and has served as iwi liaison officer for the Department of Conservation in Northland for 15 years.

She believes the Events Centre offers a lot to Northland. "It can be a premier event centre in Northland. We should utilise it to its full capability. We can get more exposure for existing events to draw in all our community," she said.

A keen sportsperson, Ms Harding has been heavily involved in Northland sports including playing and coaching basketball, netball, touch rugby.

Under the Northland Events Centre Deed of Trust, Council appoints the trustees of the Trust. The Trust Deed requires not less than three nor more than five trustees, and requires the trustees to have a good combination of skills.

Existing trust members include Ian Reeves, Warwick Syers and Alistair Wells.

Ms Harding's appointment comes after the resignation of foundation trustee Clare Davies-Colley.

- Northern Advocate

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