Well-known figure Arapeta Tahana has been appointed to the role of Te Ahurei to guide Rotorua Lakes Council's ongoing relationship with Te Arawa.

Tahana has been a councillor at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council for the Ōkurei Māori constituency since 2013.

Rotorua Lakes Council, Te Tatau o Te Arawa and Te Arawa Lakes Trust joined forces to recruit for the Te Ahurei role.

It was developed to replace the Kaitiaki Ahurea Māori role held by Ngāti Whakaue kaumātua Monty Morrison who is transitioning out to fulfil his tribal leadership commitments.


"I'm excited at the opportunity to join the Rotorua Lakes Council team and contribute to strengthening the partnership with Te Arawa in a way that delivers positive outcomes for Te Arawa and indeed the whole Rotorua community," Tahana says.

Rotorua Lakes Council's chief executive Geoff Williams said the new role would be crucial to the ongoing development and success of the council's partnership with Te Arawa.

"We had a good number of very high calibre applicants and that was very pleasing because this is an extremely important role for our organisation.

"Our organisation deals with some very complex matters that require us to engage and work with Te Arawa effectively and we needed somebody who has the confidence of Te Arawa."

Williams said the Te Ahurei role was focused on external relations but would also provide input into the development of council's internal capabilities as part of the organisation's efforts to work effectively with Te Arawa.

The joint recruitment process demonstrated the spirit of the Te Arawa partnership that was signed with council in 2015, a spokesperson for Te Tatau o Te Arawa said.

Tā Toby Curtis, chair of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, said Tahana would play a vital role in facilitating ongoing relations between the council and Te Arawa hapū and iwi.

Tahana will take up his new role on October 1.


A little bit about Arapeta Tahana:

· Iwi Affiliations: Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Makino, Tapuika – Te Arawa Waka

· Age: 38

· Whānau: Laurissa Kerei (partner) and three daughters Te Kirihana, Parewhakaawe, Taingaehe. And two daughters from a previous relationship, Mapihi Kahurangi and Maria.

· Background in business management, Māori development, local government and community development across both operational and governance roles.

· Councillor on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (2013-2019) representing the Okurei constituency, one of three Māori wards. Arapeta currently chairs BOPRC's Komiti Maori and is deputy chairman of Te Maru o Kaituna, the co-governance forum for the Kaituna river.

· Member of Te Maruata, Local Government NZ's Māori advisory board (2017-2019).

· Chairman of Rotoiti 15 Ahu Whenua Trust, largest Māori land block in the Rotorua District, 8400ha, $43m asset base, 15,000 owners (2010-19).

· Member of RLC's Te Arawa Standing Committee (2010-2014)

· Led the design and iwi engagement for the establishment of the Te Arawa Partnership with Rotorua Lakes Council (2014-15)

· Youth and Community Development officer, Porirua City Council 2007-10

· Owned and operated two Vodafone franchises in Rotorua, 2001-2005