Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is delighted to announce the appointment of iwi leader Vanessa Epairama as deputy chairperson of its council, Te Mana Whakahaere.
Ms Epairama is the chairperson of the Raukawa Settlement Trust and director of its $100 million commercial arm, Raukawa Iwi Development Ltd.
She brings considerable governance and leadership experience across a wide range of sectors including environmental, education, tourism and particularly Māori and iwi development to her new role.
Ms Epairama (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tuwhareto) said she was “humbled and honoured” to have been asked to stand as deputy chairperson and then to have been elected to the role by her fellow board members.
“I was raised with a very clear message from my mother, and our kaumātua that education is the key to enhancing our future as individuals and as whānau,” she said.
Ms Epairama said the organisation had made amazing progress in recent years and there were opportunities ahead to further enhance the lives of whānau throughout New Zealand through education.
“Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has a vital role to play in lifting the lives of Māori and all New Zealanders through education.”
“I am very grateful to be able to play whatever part I am asked to perform to help ensure that we achieve the exciting potential before us.”
Te Mana Whakahaere chairman Richard Batley said Ms Epairama, a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, is held in high regard and has shown consistent and strong leadership and a proven ability to deliver results at the helm of several different organisations.
“Her appointment is a sign that our organisation is bold and prepared to embrace change both at the management and governance levels. We are excited by this development and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa looks forward to her contributions.”