Local iwi and tribal elders have given the Waikato Regional Council's new chief executive a warm Maori welcome.
Dozens of people from Ngati Wairere and Ngati Haua performed a powhiri for Vaughan Payne at Kirikiriroa Marae in Hamilton on Monday.
Accompanied by friends and whanau who had travelled from the Bay of Plenty this morning, Mr Payne was "handed over" to the Waikato region. One of his supporters spoke of his talent, warmth and modesty.
He says he has a strong focus on adding value for local, regional and national benefit, and describes his new job as an ideal one for him in an organisation whose values closely align with his.
Mr Payne says his joint Maori-Pakeha heritage, and his work experience in both rural and urban communities, will also help him add value in his new role.
Mr Payne grew up in Opotiki, has Ngai Tai (Tainui waka) and Whakatohea (Mataatua waka) ancestry on his Maori side, and French, Swiss, English and Scottish ancestry on his Pakeha side.