Ngāti Porou lawyer, business leader honoured with knighthood

By Jessica Tyson
Sir Rob McLeod. Photo source: University of Auckland

A lawyer, scholar and business leader with a passion for Māori development will be honoured as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit today for services to business and Māori.

Sir Rob McLeod, of Ngāti Porou, is a champion of trans-Tasman gender equality and indigenous engagement.  He has been a specialist tax practitioner for more than 25 years.

Being entrenched in commerce and with his Ngāti Porou background, McLeod champions small business and entrepreneurship, key drivers of Māori development.

He was appointed as a member of the Capital Markets Taskforce in 2008 and has been the lead negotiator for Te Haeata, the Ngāti Porou Treaty Settlement Committee.

In March 2019 McLeod won the Outstanding Contribution to Finance & Business award at the annual New Zealand CFO Awards.

CFO awards event organiser Steve Scott says, “Those who know him often refer to his rigorous intellect and certainly he is a man who likes to think in frameworks.”

Scott says McLeod has used that approach to championing diversity within corporates.

“He is quoted as saying his success in life derives from the opportunities provided by two strong-willed and nurturing families.  The one family he married into and the other one he was born into.  This has been enhanced by the role models he has met along life’s pathway,” Scott says.

McLeod was also a member of the establishment team for the Māori development agency, Te Puni Kokiri.

He will be honoured at a ceremony at Government House in Auckland on Tuesday afternoon.

Other achievements:

  • Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner from 2010 to 2014 of Ernst and Young Oceania and retired as Chairman of Ernst and Young in 2015.
  • Chaired the New Zealand Business Roundtable from 2002 to 2010
  • Chair of the Government Tax Review 2001.
  • Served on the 2004 Hui Taumata Taskforce to increase Māori participation, leadership and governance in the workforce.
  • Retired member of the Business Council of Australia, including membership of the Indigenous Engagement Taskforce and the Economic Policy and Competitiveness Committee.
  • In 2006 appointed to the Hui Taumata Taskforce to increase Māori workforce participation, promote entrepreneurship, and enhance Māori leadership and governance.
  • Member of the Independent Ministerial Advisory Panel for the Defence Review
  • He has been a Commissioner of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, Chairman of Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd, and Director of Tainui Group Holdings.
  • Holds a number of directorships and consultancies in New Zealand and is Chairman of the E Tipu E Rea Trust.