30 Nov 2012

New Maori leader wants plan for progress

7:35 pm on 30 November 2012

Ministry of Maori Development chief executive Michelle Hippolite says her first priority in her new role is to sit down with the Minister of Maori Affairs to work out a plan to move Maori forward.

Ms Hippolite of Waikato, Rongowhakaata, and Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki was welcomed into her position at a powhiri on Friday.

She was accompanied by her Te Papa Museum colleagues, where she was the Maori leader since 2008.

She plans to sit down with cabinet ministers to ensure Te Puni Kokiri is part of the engine room of government - to advance Maori economic development, language strategies, and making sure tangata whenua are well equipped to cope in a post Waitangi Treaty settlement environment.

Ms Hippolite says her first job is to meet with Dr Pita Sharples to clarify her ministry's priorities.

She says during her tenure she wants to strengthen the place of te reo in government and the role that it plays in it; enable Maori to grow and learn in education and economic development; and to make sure Maori can continue to prosper once all treaty grievances are resolved.

Ms Hippolite says like her predecessor, Leith Comer - who was the Te Puni Kokiri Chief Executive for 12 years - she is committed for the long-term.

Ms Hippolite officially starts her new job on Monday.