23 Aug 2012

Relationship building key job for new Ngai Tahu CEO

6:56 pm on 23 August 2012

The new chief executive of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Arihia Bennett, says she'll spend her first year developing relationships with whanau, to ensure iwi their views are heard by iwi leaders and the Government.

Ms Bennett, of Ngai Tahu and Ngati Porou, says helping Maori achieve their aspirations is one of the tribe's biggest challenges, especially as its 18 runanga are at different stages of development.

She says ensuring whanau retain their sense of rangatiratanga, while still being connected as a tribal collective, is of paramount importance.

Ms Bennett says another focus will be continuing to help whanau in Canterbury build resilience in the aftermath of the earthquakes.

Ms Bennett feels she's in a strong position to make a practical difference to the iwi.

She lives within her hapu and says she discusses issues at the coalface with her whanau on a daily basis.