David Tokohau Samuels (Ngāti Māhanga, Waikato-Tainui me Te Whakatōhea) was welcomed into the Te Puni Kōkiri headquarters today in Wellington as their new Toihautū.
Samuels didn't hesitate to state the direction that he wants to take.
Samuels said that he wanted "To strengthen and develop the governments’ outlook so that Māori have a brighter future. My initial thoughts as a starting point will be with staff at Te Puni Kōkiri."
He was part of Ngāti Tūmatauengas' (NZ Army) INTERFRET (International Force East Timor) mission that helped him learn the relationship management skillset which later become the hallmark of his career.
The leadership role comes with great expectations and anticipation for influencing whānau wellbeing - whānau taurikura outcomes across government.
Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta gave her endorsement of CEO Samuels stating, "His track record whilst with MPI and Corrections was flawless. He has made a reputation for himself abroad fulfilling his role with MPI. He has acquired many skills”.
Samuels will bring an international perspective from working on trade issues for the Ministry for Primary Industries in the Middle East, North Africa, the United Arab Emirates and China.
Lloyd Whiu of Ngāti Māhanga says, "It is a big day for Ngāti Mahanga Haurua and also for the whole country indeed. We are here to support him in his new role."
Raniera Poihipi of Te Whakatōhea says, "Throughout the years that he is here we will always be here also to support him so that he may have courage to overcome his challenges."
Many of those who have held office from the time of the old Māori Affairs office, were present at today’s welcoming to render their support for Samuels.
Samuels also says, "My thoughts are is that they are all here to support me, Te Waihoroi, Waikato - Tainui, Ngāti Mahanga and Te Whakatōhea. I am very happy at this time to have that support."
Samuels has already led successful initiatives within Te Puni Kōkiri to bolster Māori economic and business development such as the development of the Māori Economic Strategy and Action Plan "He kai kei aku ringa", released in 2012.