CEO leaves Ngati Rangi in good hands

By Laurel Stowell

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Andy Gowland-Douglas
Andy Gowland-Douglas

Andy Gowland-Douglas leaves Ngati Rangi in a good space but regrets she didn't see its Treaty negotiations to the next stage.

The Ngati Rangi Trust pou arahi/chief executive finishes up on July 22, for a new job as chief of the Buller District Council.

She said Ngati Rangi's Treaty of Waitangi negotiators were still working toward an Agreement in Principle.

"I would like to have seen that through," she said.

But she was confident the team of five negotiators, manager and administration support would do the job.

"I believe the right team are working on that, and they're going to get the best result they can."

Mrs Gowland-Douglas was sought out for the Buller job, and said the opportunity was too good to turn down.

During her two years with the Ngati Rangi Trust she's made big changes.

She has increased the trust's full-time equivalent staff from about 12 to about 22, and watched its Ruapehu Whanau Transformation Plan (RWTP) move to fruition.

It's on track to achieve all its 23 solutions in its final two years. The solutions cover five areas - work, housing, health, education and social - and extend to everyone in Raetihi, Ohakune, Waiouru and the surrounding area.

Three of the solutions will be met when the trust's Tech Hub opens in Ruapehu College's former senior block.

That should happen in the next two months, she said.

Submitters to Ruapehu District Council's annual plan are already asking the council to use the hub's meeting rooms rather than expanding the council's Ohakune service centre.

Some trust staff have moved from its Mountain Rd base to the hub. They include Whanau Ora workers, the trust's social service arm, and the RWTP operations manager.

Resources come from a mix of grants and funding from government departments that have the same objectives as the trust - the Ministry of Social Development and Department of Internal Affairs are two of those.

Much of Mrs Gowland-Douglas' work has been getting the right systems and human and financial resources in place, and implementing plans. She said it had been challenging but rewarding, and had involved long hours.

"It's certainly full-on. There's a lot of weekends and evening work. You certainly don't have a lot of time up your sleeve."

She's enjoyed the "can-do" attitude of Ruapehu people, developed because they are "used to getting ignored by government departments".

Her family of husband Jason and three school-age children will be moving to the South Island's West Coast as she takes up her new job.

She said she was leaving Ngati Rangi in a good state, and hoped the new governance entity would maintain all the "good stuff" that's happening.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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