Darren Kerei-Keepa is the new Kaikōura representative on the Ngāi Tahu executive board.
The former Chairman of Mangamaunu Marae was declared the winner of today’s election held at Takahanga Marae, Kaikōura.
It took an appointment committee made up of five Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura members over an hour to decide whether to appoint Kerei-Keepa or rūnanga spokesman Victor Manawatu as their new rep.
“It’s one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my life,” said Committee Chairman Maurice Manawatu. “We’re all whānau.”
Manawatu says it was 3-2 vote. “It was almost like the toss of a coin. It could’ve been anyone,” he said.
Following today’s announcement Kerei-Keepa thanked his opponent and the committee while promising whānau in attendance, “I will do my very best to serve you all.”
Kerei-Keepa will take over the mantle held by Sir Mark Solomon for the last 17 years.
Solomon did not attend today’s election.