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New chair for Rangitane trust

Jason Kerehi at the ceremony to mark the treaty settlement for Rangitane o Wairarapa and Rangitane o Tamaki Nui a Rua. PHOTO/FILE

Jason Kerehi is the new chairman of Rangitane Tu Mai Ra Trust, which manages Treaty of Waitangi settlement assets.

Kerehi, who was a negotiator for the Rangitane Treaty Settlement, has been a trustee for three years, and replaces Taylor Mihaere, after trust elections in December.

Kerehi and two other incumbent trustees, Warwick Gernhoefer and Edward Pearse, have been joined by new trustees Mihirangi Hollings, Sonya Rimene, Wharemako Paewai, and Lewis Karaitiana.

Kerehi has a background in commerce, resource management and local government, and has previously worked as chief executive of Rangitane o Wairarapa Incorporated.

He is the Executive Leader Maori Health for Wairarapa District Health Board.

The trust is the post Waitangi Treaty settlement governance entity for Rangitane o Wairarapa and Rangitane o Tamaki Nui a Rua.

The settlement in 2016 was for $32.5 million in cash plus 4400 hectares of forestry land, and commercial and conservation assets. The value of the tribal asset is now $43 million.

Kerehi said he was humbled but excited by the appointment at such a critical time in the iwi’s history.

“Our immediate goal is to look at the cultural revitalisation for Rangitane whanau, hapu and iwi. We will continue to focus on setting up our Tu Mai Ra office helmed by [new general manager] Yvette Grace, who has now been joined by Mike Kawana as one of our cultural leaders.

“There are some big issues on the horizon such as housing, employment, forestry, tourism and of course responsible management of our whenua. The health of our waterways in both Wairarapa and Tararua are also incredibly important, as is our resilience.

“We need to measure everything we do against our strong values for the well-being of not just our people but our whenua.”

He said the four new trustees bring a new energy and connection to the people.

“I’m excited to be working with and leading this trust and there is a real buzz amongst us all to do the best that we can for whanau.”

He acknowledged the hard work and commitment of the outgoing trust members, including Mihaere and Mahalia Paewai, who were not re-elected, and Mavis Mullins who did not stand for re-election.

Having been appointed general manager, Yvette Grace could not continue as a trustee.

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