Powhiri to welcome new Principal Advisor – Māori

(Posted on: March 8)

From left: MDC CEO Richard Templer, MDC's new principal adivsor - Māori Rārite Mātaki with his niece and community and strategy manager Brent Limmer

This week Manawatū District Council took a significant step towards bringing Maori perspective into its decision making with the appointment of a Principal Advisor – Māori for the district.

The position that Rārite Mātaki has filled has been established to advise the Council on all key matters relating to Council’s relationships and responsibilities with iwi and the wider Māori Community in the Manawatū.

This advice will cover responsibilities to Tangata Whenua, Te Tiriti O Waitangi, Māori responsiveness and all matters of mutual interest.

This role is a first for Manawatū District Council and one that is the culmination of many years work.

Recognising the mana of the role, a powhiri was held to enable Rārite to be formally welcomed in to the Manawatū District Council whānau.

Chief Executive, Richard Templer greeted Tangata Whenua, staff, guests, Councillors and Ngā Manu Tāiko as the first Kaikōrero (speaker). He recognised the importance of maintaining Kauwhata protocol during his delivery by speaking only in Te Reo Māori.

General manager of community and strategy believed that Rārite’s specific skillset is one that an organisation like MDC will very proudly work alongside.

“It is a great honour for us and a great opportunity for the wider Manawatū District,” says Brent Limmer.

Rārite is of Ngati Kauwhata descent and is fluent in Te Reo.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Education in Māori immersion, Rārite worked for the Department of Corrections, then the Whānau Ātaahua Beautiful Families Trust, before joining Te Puni Kōkiri as a senior advisor and most recently as the regional advisor for the Manawatū.

Mayor Helen Worboys welcomed Rā on behalf of the governance team and the elected members. She took time to thank his whānau  in allowing him to share his knowledge and skills with MDC.

“We look forward to being able to add some very special richness to our information sharing and the decisions we make around the Council table”.

Rārite agreed that this role has been a few years in the making and there has been a lot of people involved in the steps towards this progression.

“I’m really excited about what’s ahead and what else is yet to come. I am very humbled today to have our whare here filled with so much te reo Māori”.

As a new role, Rārite is aware that there is much work to be done, likening the role to “Nā te moa te rata e takahi” which is that of a rata seed that needs a bird to scratch the seed in order for it to grow into a mighty tree.

“Heads up there will be a lot of scratching”.