Te Kōhanga Reo announces new board members

By Kelvin McDonald

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust has six new or returning trustees following its recent board elections.

They are Andrew (Anaru) Rieper (Te Taitokerau), Hurimoana Dennis (Tāmaki Makaurau), Eugene Cassidy (Aotea), Te Wheoro Rangikotua (Mātaatua/ Tauranga Moana), Matua Hook (Kahungunu) and Tom Alesana (Te Waipounamu/ Wharekauri). 

New nominations are to be called for in Tainui after the successful candidate withdrew "due to extraneous circumstances".

"As we welcome our new board and new Trustees, we also celebrate the successes and achievements of the previous Board. As the tide turns, our thanks and appreciation remain with those who gave their all, for the prosperous continuation of Kōhanga Reo," Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust said in a statement this week.

"A season of change and at the rising of Matariki on the horizon, we herald the beginning of the Māori New Year and the future of Kōhanga Reo."

Taitokerau

Andrew (Anaru) Rieper is the successful representative for Te Taitokerau, succeeding Te Waihoroi Shortland.

"We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our Pāpā, and Kaumātua to the Board for the past 5 years Pāpā Te Waihoroi," the trust said.

"Pāpā your leadership over the years to maintain our close ties with kaupapa Māori, hui Māori, was a calming and reassuring influence for our kaupapa of Kōhanga Reo. You are linguist of the national reknown, of prophetic sentiments that endures over time and space. E te uri o kōwhao rau o Te Taitokerau e mihi ana."

Tāmaki Makaurau

Hurimoana Dennis has been selected to represent Tāmaki Makaurau.

"Five years ago, he came in from the Police force, the Chair of Te Puea Marae. A champion for the poor, the homeless, a descendant of Ngāti Porou, hailing from the lofty mountain of Hikurangi, welcome back."

Aotea

Eugene Cassidy will represent Aotea, posting the highest number of votes in "a highly contested region".

"A highly capable former Kaimahi for the Kaupapa. We welcome Eugene to the role, a privileged role that was fulfilled by our esteemed kuia Dame Tariana Turia over the years."

The trust paid tribute to Dame Tariana.

"E kui e Tari, your presence reinvigorated hope and restored faith for the kaupapa of Kōhanga Reo. An example of regal humility and leadership that you exuded as the co-chair of the Board. You fought hard for our claim to be settled.

"Return to your people, to the Kōhanga Reo of Wanganui and from there continue to stoke the intense fires of our Kaupapa."

Tainui

The successful Tainui candidate has withdrawn their candidacy "due to extraneous circumstances," the trust said.

"A pānui calling for new nominations will be distributed shortly."

The person "expresses their (apologies) to the rohe for the inconvenience caused".

Mātaatua/ Tauranga Moana

Te Wheoro Rangikotua has been elected by her region to return for a second term to the board.

"A hearty welcome back," the trust said.

Kahungunu

The only nominee in his region, Matua Hook will represent Kahungunu rohe. 

"An industrious advocate of Kōhanga Reo and a stalwart for his people.

"A proud descendant of Kahungunu and the whānau McGhee from the South Island. A father of Kōhanga Reo and Kura whose invaluable business nous will continue to be of benefit to the kaupapa."

Te Waipounamu/ Wharekauri

Tom Alesana is the newly elected trustee who will represent Kōhanga Reo in the south.

The trust acknowledged Sue Tipene.

"No words can express our gratitude to Sue Tipene who is a founding whānau of the kaupapa of Kōhanga Reo. As a board member she has navigated the turbulent waters to steady our kaupapa and set it back on course."

The newly elected trustees will be formally welcomed to Te Tari Matua, Te Whare o Ngā Mokopuna on 27 June.