Te Mana Whakahaere

Council

Te Mana Whakahaere is the council that oversees Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Members of Te Mana Whakahaere are appointed for their ability to help Te Wānanga o Aotearoa fulfil its mission in alignment with the requirements of the Education Act 1989.

The council consists of nine members. Three members are appointed by the Minister for Tertiary Education. Six are appointed by Te Mana Whakahaere in accordance with the Direct Appointment of Members to Te Mana Whakahaere Statute 2015, as amended or replaced from time to time. You can see more details in our link to the constitution below.

Te Mana Whakahaere Constitution

Bryan Hemi

Bryan Hemi

Chair

Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Koata, Samoan
Skills-based appointee

Bryan took over as chair in mid-2019 after having previously served as deputy chair.

He is a past director of Kordia Group Limited, a telco and media business that provides network and technology solutions in New Zealand and Australia.

He is also the director of Te Puna Manawa, a health services provider to disadvantaged youth and high-needs Māori and Pacific Islanders in the Waitematā region.

Bryan has held directorships with Quotable Value, Aotearoa Credit Union and Property IQ and holds an executive MBA from Auckland University.

He is a business consultant and shareholder with iToolsOnline Limited – a New Zealand-owned software company.

Terms ends: 28 July 2022

Vanessa Eparaima

Vanessa Eparaima

Deputy Chair

Raukawa, Ngāti Tuwharetoa
Skills-based appointee

Vanessa moved into the deputy chair’s position in mid-2019 after having served as chair for three years, leading the council through a busy time of change for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Other key roles include being chair of the Raukawa Settlement Trust since 2012 and being the director and former chairperson of Raukawa Iwi Development Ltd, the $140 million commercial arm of the iwi.

Also, as chair of the Raukawa Charitable Trust, Vanessa leads strategy and oversight of the trust’s social, cultural and environmental operations.

In addition to these roles she chairs Te Kākano Whakatipu Ltd – a company of six central North Island iwi with forestry interests in Kaingaroa – and is a director of Central North Island Iwi Holdings Limited, which is tasked with negotiating and finalising the replant right and investment option over the Kaingaroa Forest with the NZ Super Fund.

Terms ends: 28 July 2021

Katie Bhreatnach

Katie Bhreatnach

Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Awa
Skills-based appointee

Katie is a commercial lawyer who has extensive experience gained in the public and private sectors while practicing in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland.

She has undergraduate degrees in law and arts from the University of Otago and a masters degree from Trinity College in Dublin.

Katie is also a member of the Institute of Directors.

Terms ends: 28 July 2023

Robert Gabel

Robert Gabel

Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa, Te Paatu
Skills-based appointee

A chartered accountant since the early 1970s, Robert has provided financial, organisational management and taxation advice to a diverse clientele.

He was previously a mentor for the Māori Business Facilitation Service and the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Robert is a director and trustee of Toi Māori Aotearoa Group and has led and been a member of boards of trustees and school committees, charitable trusts, marae and trust boards.

Terms ends: 28 July 2021

Hon. Te Ururoa Flavell

Hon. Te Ururoa Flavell

Ngāti Rangiwēwehi, Ngāraranui, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāpuhi
Te Taiurungi / Chief Executive

Te Ururoa has extensive leadership experience in the Māori education sector as the former chief executive officer of both Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and Te Ataarangi. He is the former co-leader of the Māori Party and a former Member of Parliament for Waiariki. Te Ururoa also served as Minister of Māori Development and Whānau Ora and was an Associate Minister for Economic Development.

Stephen Ruru

Stephen Ruru

Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Ranginui
Ministerial appointee

Stephen Ruru is the CEO of the Southland District Council, the southernmost territorial authority in New Zealand.

He is also a director of Milford Sound Development Authority Ltd, and has previously served with Lakeland Health Ltd/Lakes District Health Board, and Department of Corrections, in various governance roles.

Stephen is a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in accounting from Waikato University.

Terms ends: 28 July 2020

Jon Stokes

Jon Stokes

Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Maniapoto
Ministerial appointee

Jon is the owner of Stokes Communications Ltd, which provides public relations, communications, risk and strategy advice and support to not-for-profit, commercial, and government organisations.

He is a former award-winning journalist and has had a successful career in sales and marketing management.

Jon has governance experience across a range of sectors including agribusiness, commercial development, forestry, and iwi development.

Terms ends: 28 July 2020

Bella Takiari-Brame

Bella Takiari-Brame

Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui
Ministerial appointee

Bella is a chartered accountant and member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers UK and has a Masters in Management Studies from Waikato University.

She has over 16 years’ experience in oil and gas and utility industries. She is the former GM finance for WEL Networks and is now managing director for her consultancy company Luana Limited, and holds several directorships.

She is a trustee of Maniapoto Māori Trust Board, and North King Country Development Trust. Bella is a Maangai Māori for the finance committee for Hamilton City Council, and is a director for Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Limited and Te Kupenga o Maniapoto. Bella is the chair of the audit and risk committee for Maniapoto, and Te Ohu Kai Moana, and is a member of the group audit and risk committee for Waikato-Tainui. She is also a member of the investment committee for Te Ohu Kai Moana.

Terms ends: 30 April 2023

Josh Wharehinga

Josh Wharehinga

Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa, Rongowhakaata, Te Atianga a Māhaki
Skills-based appointee

Josh describes himself as ‘first and foremost, a father’ to his six teenagers. Born and raised in Gisborne, Josh’s background is in education, social work and driving community initiatives.

As a second term Gisborne District Councillor, Josh holds many portfolios, among them he is deputy chair for District Licensing and Finance and Audit. A trained Hearings Commissioner, he also sits on Community Development and Environmental Planning and Regulations.

Josh holds other governance positions, having also been elected to the Tairāwhiti District Health Board and Te Maruata Roopu Whakahaere, the Māori Advisory Board to LGNZ.

Terms ends: 28 July 2022

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