Te Atiawa chief executive Hemi Sundgren to follow new challenges

By Te Ao - Māori News

After setting up Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa and leading it for its first six years, its pouwhakahaere/chief executive, Hemi Sundgren is leaving for a new role in Tourism New Zealand.

He will be missed by Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust whose chair, Liana Poutu, says he is highly regarded by the board "as an accomplished iwi leader who acts with humility and the highest level of integrity – a real taonga." 

“Hemi has immense capability and will be difficult to replace but he goes with our utmost gratitude and tautoko,” she said. 

Sundgren is also a well-known contemporary artist and carver.

Sundgren joined the trust in 2014 as transition manager and steered the iwi through the establishment phase of the post-settlement governance entity.  In 2016 Hemi was appointed pouwhakahaere and was instrumental in establishing strategic partnerships and working closely with the commercial company to build property and settlement rights to ensure a structurally and financially stable foundation for Te Atiawa. The trust now has a diversified portfolio of assets worth $110 million.

In 2019, Sundgren oversaw the development of the Ka Uruora programme, which includes a whanau savings programme, financial education programme and a housing programme to support whanau to become homeowners.  

“It’s the right time for me to move on," Sundgren said. "This is a very exciting time for Te Atiawa and I am confident that what has been achieved over the past six years has provided a solid foundation for the next stage of the trust’s vision.  I look forward to witnessing the future of the trust and its subsidiaries as the iwi progresses into an exciting stage of growth beyond the post-settlement establishment phase." 

He will leave the trust at the beginning of October 2020 to take up a new challenge and role with Tourism NZ. Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Trust will start a recruitment process for a new chief executive soon.