Ngāi Tahu chief executive Arihia Bennett: 'I’d tell my younger self to lean in and listen'

By Kelvin McDonald
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Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive Arihia Bennett (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) has reflected on her work and life in an interview with Stuff today that is told in her own words.

One of the topics Bennett - who trained as a social worker and says 'I'm still a social worker' - touches on is her advice to her younger self.

"Looking back, I’m clear I would have come to this role earlier. I came to the role late in my career. I would tell my younger self that you started with a strong baseline – a clarity in your sense of identity, strong principled morals, and kindness. With these ingredients you needn’t wait until your 50s to start your leadership journey," said Bennett.

"I’ve had great coaches and mentors. In community development I’ve had a lot of people around me. I’d tell my younger self to lean in and listen to them all as much as possible, not to talk. Sometimes we are making up the answer in our heads before we have listened to kaupapa kōrero. I’d tell myself to stop, step back or pause, and query if the sentiment hasn’t been entirely captured, rather than swinging from the hip," she told Stuff.