Gordon Wright ends 30-year long career as Māori Warden

By Hone-Haunui Rapana

After 30 years in the Māori Wardens, Gordon Wright's career is drawing to a close.  One of his last assignments for the South Auckland region is to complete the logo for his office. 

Suiting up for the big day, but Wright will leave the South Auckland district in great shape.

Wright says, “I know the wardens, well I've left them in good hands and built up the capacity of them, so I know they're okay.”

A rugby league referee before becoming a Māori warden, Wright was looking for a change of career to connect more with the Māori people in his community of Kaitaia.

Wright says, “The change was to help people in the community that I saw everyday struggling.”

He is yet to inform the majority of those he worked with over years, but in them he has instilled values that they will hold dear.

Mataroa Smith says, “The skills from his mentoring is going to be widely missed here with his wisdom that he uses, he brings us back to the whānau level.”

“Each warden has a different skill, and it's been able to identify those skills, Albert hasn't left my side, he thinks it’s too soon for me to be leaving,” says Smith.

A driving force to his district office, Wright has been given one final assignment.

He says, “We've tried to bring out a bit more vibrant, and everyone flies their flag and I don't see why the wardens shouldn't I’m quite happy with the final product.”

Gordon will officially complete all his duties on May 9 before moving to Australia to help indigenous communities.