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Weaving people and places together

The powhiri on Tuesday in Masterton. PHOTOS/KAREN COLTMAN

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New general manager of Rangitane Tu Mai Ra Trust Board Jo Hayes is tasked with “weaving things together, that is people, hapu, marae and communities”, Rangitane o Wairarapa iwi representative Mike Kawana said at the powhiri for Hayes at Te Ore Ore Marae on Tuesday.

New general manager of Rangitane Tu Mai Ra Trust Board, Jo Hayes.

Hayes, 62, was interviewed for the role by the iwi trust board a month ago and was successful but could only take up the offer because, like many other former National Party MPs, she didn’t make it back to Parliament this time around.

She served six and a half years as an MP and helped with the progress of the Rangitane o Wairarapa Treaty of Waitangi Settlement.

She was a signatory on the Deed of Settlement signed in 2016, which included a financial redress of $32.5 million.

The iwi has close connections with Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa whose settlement process was well under way and representatives were present at the welcome.

Rangitane o Wairarapa and Rangitane o Tamaki nui-a-Rua is an iwi of about 3000 registered members.

The Rangitane area spans from north of Dannevirke to Porangahau, down to Cape Palliser.

Wairarapa District Health Board’s director of Maori health and chairman of the Rangitane Tu Mai Ra Trust Jason Kerehi talked about the treaty settlement and how positive it was for the iwi’s future.

“The settlement we have needs to be commended, and we have a very fine future to come,” he said.

“It makes up for a lot of what we have had to put up with over the years, and we will do our best with what we have now.

“The greatest task for Jo is to continue to bring our iwi together and lift our potential, which we believe she has the skills to deliver.”

At the powhiri, DHB chief executive Dale Oliff said she had a “vested interest” in supporting Hayes and, in particular, to support the iwi’s children and generations to come.

“I am really focused on getting good outcomes for Maori in the region,” Oliff said.

After her welcome, Hayes said it was a great privilege to be in the job and to return to Masterton.

She was born in Eketahuna.

She and her husband have a farm in Manawatu and have raised two sons.

“I bring experience in health and education and a parliamentary background that I bring to this job,” Hayes said.

“I am very proud of where we have ended up, but I will set challenges for you all to stand up, and there is much work to do.

“The future is in our hands.”

Hayes said she couldn’t wait to get started.

She planned to buy a house in Wairarapa to be near her mother, Kate Apanui, once she had settled into her new role.

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