1 May 2019

Ngahiwi Tomoana to lead Ngāti Kahungunu for the last time

2:48 pm on 1 May 2019

Long-standing iwi leader Ngahiwi Tomoana says he will focus on uplifting whanau during his last term in leading Ngāti Kahungunu's rūnanga.

The controversial walking track up the Eastern side of Te Mata Peak.

The controversial Te Mata sparked protests and condemnation from Ngāti Kahungunu. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

After 22 years in the top spot, it was announced on Tuesday that Mr Tomoana has been re-elected.

He beat fellow closest candidate, Shayne Walker, by about 1000 votes.

Mr Tomoana said he was hesitant about getting the role and felt people may have wanted a change.

"I was nervous because I knew I was up gainst two top guns who had a lot of community support, and I looked forward to the challenge. I was 50/50 whether I would get back in or not and Mere and I were ready to go apple picking tomorrow."

He said this will be his last term as he felt 25 years was a good stint and he wanted to mentor others for the role.

"I have been there 22 years - the next three will take me to 25 - I think that's a long enough term and time to encourage others. I was 30-something when I got the role so I will still have another life ahead of me. I will still be supportive of the iwi but in different activities."

His focus for this first 10 years was about making iwi strong and independent, and the second 10 years was about doing the same for hapū.

He said for his final term is about strengthening and empowering whānau.

"The next few years is about making whanau strong so they can be the best that they can be in contributing, earning and participating in the new vibrant economy."

He wanted to move away from a deficit approach.

"We will be putting in education plans, health plans and all those other plans and making positive moves rather than just dealing with the negative. We have been dealing with the negative side of our community for too long it's about time we concentrated on the positive and the uplifting."

Ngāti Kahungunu is one of the country's biggest iwi, and just over 3500 descendants voted in the elections.

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