Rhonda Kite, ONZM, has been elected to chair Te Rūnanga Nui o Te Aupōuri, with Peter-Lucas Jones her deputy and Tui Kapa secretary/treasurer.

Kite succeeds Rick Witana, who remains a trustee, whose contribution was acknowledged by the board.

Kite said her intention was to increase strategic communication with iwi members and keep everyone up to date on the return on tribal investments, including greater iwi member involvement in Te Aupōuri's business ecosystem as the iwi planned for its reset in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her professional background is in broadcasting and digital publishing. She founded the Kiwa Media Group, which developed a successful technology to aid dubbing and dialogue recording. She brought to the board governance experience including that gained as a former director on the boards of Māori Television, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.


In 2018 she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to media technology, television and film.

"Governance succession planning, capability-building and cultural intelligence will help breathe life into the dreams of our kaumātua, our kuia, our rangatira and our rangatahi," she said.

"I want to ensure that iwi members are confident that Aupōuri values are woven into all facets of the Te Aupōuri business ecosystem."

Te Rūnanga Nui o Te Aupōuri is the legal entity that was ratified and established by Te Aupōuri before the iwi's Treaty settlement with the Crown, its role being to hold and manage the settlement redress transferred to Te Aupōuri under the deed of settlement and grow the iwi's asset base.

"I wasn't a fan of the Treaty settlement because I felt we gave up so much," Kite said.

"However, moving on from there, I recognise the strategic lay of the land, and so I raised my hand to be a trustee. I am humbled to be supported and chosen by our people to bring another skill set and perspective of governance expertise to the rūnanga. Being elected chairperson by my peers is a signal of the type of change we have ahead of us.

"Growing strategic partnerships and working closely with all iwi of Te Hiku o Te Ika will continue to assist Te Aupōuri to identify opportunities despite the pandemic crisis," she added.

"The deputy chair and I plan to meet and greet with the governors of iwi throughout Te Hiku o Te Ika, and further afield, with a focus on growing relationships through our shared whakapapa for the betterment of our rohe, our takiwā and ngā taonga tuku iho o Te Aupouri."


The other trustees of Te Rūnanga Nui o Te Aupōuri are Ana Carpenter, Maahia Nathan, Sonny Christie and Rick Witana.