A senior police officer based in West Auckland has been named the new chairman of Ngāpuhi, New Zealand's biggest iwi.
Wane Wharerau was chosen by fellow trustees of Te Rūnanga-ā-iwi ō Ngāpuhi on Friday, ahead of the organisation's annual general meeting at Ōtātara Marae in Waimā, South Hokianga, on Saturday.
Wharerau is a team leader and iwi liaison officer with the New Zealand Police based at the Henderson station.
He is also the takiwā (area) trustee for Ngāpuhi ki Waitematā, having been elected by members of the iwi living in West Auckland.
The selection process for the new chairman, or heamana, was described as "an exceptionally tight race".
Te Rau Arena, takiwā trustee for Taiāmai ki te Marangai, was returned as deputy chair.
Wharerau affiliates to Ngāpuhi, Te Māhurehure, Uri Kaiwhare, Ngaitawake ki te Waoku/Ngaitawake ki te Tuawhenua/Ngaitawake ki te Tairawhiti and Ngāti Hine-Mutu.
Arena's affiliations are Ngāpuhi, Ngai Tawake ki Tūawhenua, Ngāti Tautahi, Ngāti Wharara, Ngāti Korokoro, Ngāti Pākau, Ngāti Te Ara, Ngāti Hine and Ngāti Manu.
Wharerau said he was humbled to be chosen to lead the organisation's governance for the next three years, and thanked those who supported him and guided the election process.
He acknowledged Arena for his "steady hand and strong but calm presence" as deputy chair over the past year, and welcomed his ongoing support in a new term.
Wharerau also thanked outgoing chairwoman Mere Mangu, who stepped in to take the reins after former chair Raniera "Sonny" Tau's resignation in October 2019.
Mangu said she would remain on the board in her role as takiwā trustee for Te Rōpū Takiwā o Mangakāhia.
She had put her hand up for the role of chairwoman again but her nomination was not accepted by the Mangakāhia executive.
Wharerau previously served as deputy chairman when Tau stepped down temporarily in 2016 following controversy over protected kūkupa.
He already holds several board positions within the Ngāpuhi Group as well as other organisations.
The first decision by the new board was to confirm Sam Napia as permanent chief executive.
Napia had been the rūnanga's acting chief executive since August 3, when he replaced Te Ropu Poa who was previously the general manager of Te Hau Ora o Ngāpuhi.
Wharerau said the board looked forward to working with Napia and his team to build on the rūnanga's strengths and tackle the challenges that lay ahead.
"In just a few short months Sam has more than proven his capabilities in strategic leadership, relationships and engagement, and executive management."
Napia's iwi affiliations are Te Whiu, Ngāti Pakau, Te Māhurehure, Ngāti Hao, Ngāti Manu, Ngāti Toro, Te Pōpoto, Ngāti Hau, Ngāti Hine and Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa.
The reason for Tau's abrupt resignation last year after a decade at the helm of Ngāpuhi has never become clear.