Last month I reported on how the Sport Northland board had taken a significant step towards Māori co-governance through trust deed changes approved at the 2021 AGM in November.
The changes saw the acknowledgement of He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the trust deed as New Zealand's founding documents, and a partnership with Te Kahu o Taonui, the Iwi Chair's Collective, which will see them appoint one trustee to the board and a Te Kahu o Taonui representative being added to the Board Appointments Panel.
This panel is, in turn, responsible for recruiting the other two Māori appointed trustees.
Now, following their recent recruitment process, the Board Appointments Panel has announced the exciting news that April Rawiri and Kath Wharton have both been appointed to the board for three-year terms.
April is a business owner from Herekino in the Hokianga, and was an employee at Sport Northland from 2012-20. She is familiar with the workings of the board having working closely with them around Te Ao Māori education as the He Oranga Poutama lead at Sport Northland.
April has a Bachelor of Sport & Recreation and has excellent knowledge and commitment to Mātauranga Māori, Te Tiriti O Waitangi and He Whakaputanga. Her time with Sport Northland has given her a fantastic insight into both the sector and the direction of the organisation, which will be extremely beneficial to the board going forward.
Kath is currently manager, Health Families Far North and resides in Kaeo. She has a Masters in Māori and Indigenous Leadership and has previously worked for Auckland City Council, Taiohi Whai Oranga and Oranga Tamariki.
Her career in the public sector has been carved from a deep-seated drive to serve her community and change the system from within. Currently also a Rugby League Northland board member, Kath has been an international sports person having represented NZ in rugby league and tag football.
We also await news from Te Kahu o Taonui on their appointed Māori trustee on the Sport Northland board.
This is extremely exciting news for the organisation, not only because of the obvious skill and knowledge that April and Kath both bring with them, but also because they positively add to the ethnic, age and gender diversity of our board of trustees.
The 10-strong Sport Northland board now has five Māori trustees, which is a significant milestone for the organisation that is aligned with the He Whakaputanga/Te Tiriti o Waitangi wording now in the trust deed.
It ensures that strategic decisions made at the board table are equitable and are made
with all Northlanders in mind. The journey the organisation has been on has been challenging at times, and I'm sure that will continue to be the case with these latest changes, but Sport Northland believes it will give us the foundation required to work towards our ultimate goal of seeing all Northlanders moving more for better well-being.