He's a contender for the top job.

Shayne Walker, Head of Māori Business at Bank of New Zealand, is hoping to be elected chairman to the country's third-biggest Iwi, Ngāti Kahungunu, hoping to unseat long-term incumbent Ngahiwi Tomoana.

Walker's experience includes co-chair of the regional development trust and management of a Treaty Settlement trust.

His candidacy comes as the Iwi enters major investments – a stake in Napier Port and the its own fish-processing facility. The Iwi also catches its own fish.

"My whakapapa is from Wairoa and Ahuriri," he said.

"So I'm afforded with the opportunity to run in the election on behalf of my Taiwhenua and Kahungunu broadly."


He said he had "youthful energy" and his skill and experience was different to eight-term incumbent, Tomoana.

"I'm keen to understand if that's what the people want or need, in taking our people forward," Walker said.

He said people wanted greater transparency, "looking at some of our decision-making process in particular around some of our investments and some of those behaviours".

Change was wanted "in terms of providing greater benefits to our whānau, such as a pataka kai strategy and outcomes in working with our government and partners".

"And change in terms of more inclusiveness and strengthening our relationships across the region in particular with our marae, our hapū and our treaty settlement entities.

"For some of us on the outer, it feels like we are told too late or not engaged in some of the conversations. Some of the feedback that I've received, that people have raised, are concerns with regard to the Te Mata Peak track or with regards to Ahuriri fisheries. That is what they are requiring.

"I'm just wondering if there is more opportunities for better transparency in some of our decisions."

He hopes for greater engagement in the Iwi election which could lead to wider influence for Māori, with the Runanga election closely followed by local government elections.

If elected he would delegate a lot more responsibility and develop senior management structure, so the role of chair would be downsized from the current model.

"Ngahiwi has been there for 23/24 years and done a great job in a lot of facets so we acknowledge him and he has worked tirelessly.

"Also his whānau, they have given up their time for over two decades, which I can't even begin to understand in terms of the effort that is required.

"In that sense I have no intention for standing that long if I was successful in terms of consecutive campaigns. But I think there is a requirement for new skill, new energy, and some change to take this into a different direction.

"I have no intention of being an executive chairperson. My intention is to ensure that the trustees all have portfolios and also do their part in terms of the governance/leadership roles.

"Also what's needed is a very strong supportive management structure of the trustees in the board.

"So my intention is to make sure the structure works really well and therefore I don't need to be at every hui and every tangi, but across the team we should be represented."

The other candidates in the chair election are Johnny Nepe Apatu and incumbent Ngahiwi Tomoana.

Online and postal voting close 12 noon April 30th.

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