2016 has been a very busy year, my fifth consecutive as chairman of the board. I feel very humbled and privileged to represent our iwi in the capacity of chairman, and I thank my whanau, hapū and iwi for entrusting me with this position.
2016 has seen the loss of many important whanau in our lives, and I ask that we all take some time to reflect on those that we have lost across our iwi over the past year. I know that e te atua will have them in his care, and I ask that he looks upon the whanau that have been left behind to give them the strength and love to continue on, until they meet again.
The past year has been an extremely busy and challenging one for thee trust board, with a focus on the realignment of operations and governance, in order to bring more of the decision making and expertise in house. With these changes, I am confident that as a trust board, we will have better clarity, able to make informed decisions and in a timelier fashion in ensuring that our iwi will thrive now and into the future. I firmly believe these changes are positive, and will create self-reliance and enable operations to be self-sustainable for years to come.
For me, there have been many highlights for this past year. The continued support of our marae has seen the increase in marae grants by a further 50% distributed to each marae. As we move forward into the future, i would like to see this increase each year so we can support our marae to improve the quality of their facilities and services that they provide to their whanau and hapū of their rohe.
I was delighted with the number of scholarships that we are able to award this past year, thirty three in total. I am a firm believer in the education of our young people, and to be able to assist them on the right path for a prosperous future is exciting for me. Sending eleven of our taitamariki on the R Tucker Thompson at the end of last year, gave them the opportunity of a lifetime to sail the majestic boat, giving them experience in teamwork, building confidence and leadership skills that i believe will see some of them as future leaders of our iwi.
Tie this in with the great work of our education team and the programs that they have run around parenting workshops, youth suicide prevention, helping our taitamariki realise their potential through sport, their involvement in programs at high school level and giving them an opportunity to reconnect with their marae. This includes getting them back to the core values of te iwi o Ngātiwai, which gives us a base of future leaders to continue the aspirations of our iwi into the future.
Throughout the year we have continued to hold hui-a-iwi, which gives us the opportunity to sit down on the marae with whanau to discuss issues that are important and relevant. These hui are valuable to us as it gives whanau an opportunity to discuss and raise matters kanohi ki te kanohi. I would like to thank all those that have taken the time to participate in these hui, as we value your input and views on iwi matters. We look forward to seeing more of our whanau in 2017 participate in hui-a-iwi.
The past 12 months has been a year of a lot of hard work with significant progress. I do not see the next 12 months being any different. We have trustee elections coming up next year, and I encourage everyone to be involved in this process. If you want to have a say at the trust board table, please put yourself forward for nomination. If nothing else, have your say and vote for the person who you think will best represent your marae within the Ngātiwai trust board. It is imperative that you and your whanau make your voice heard.
We have challenges ahead of us in treaty settlements, not only with ourselves but with overlapping claims of other iwi. I recognise that the process of going through a treaty settlement is challenging for our kaumātua, our whanau, hapū and also our staff. But kia kaha, the Ngātiwai future is bright and the pathway is through kotahitanga.
The trust board is only a vehicle that can carry us all into negotiations with the crown, and the outcome of those negotiations must benefit us all in the 21st century. It will not be the Ngātiwai trust board who handles and manages the pūtea and resources we get back from the crown as part of any redress, but instead it will be the new post settlement governance entity (PSGE), and what that looks like is up to the uri of Ngātiwai to decide. So for these reasons, I ask that you ensure that you and all your whanau are registered with the Ngātiwai trust board.
To our kaumātua, i mihi to you. You all play an important role in our lives in guiding us, particularly around tikanga. We will continue to look to you for your guidance and support in leading us into the future for our iwi.
I would like to acknowledge my fellow board members for their continued dedication and commitment to our iwi in their role as trustees. At times the role as a trustee can be very challenging, but also in the same sense it can also be very rewarding. I thank you all for the sound governance that you have provided our iwi over this past year and commitment you have all shown in achieving our strategic mission “to strengthen the wellbeing and prosperity of Ngātiwai”. Nga mihi koutou katoa.
I also acknowledge Angeline Waetford for stepping into the role of acting Chief Executive during the last financial year. With Angeline committing to this role, she has ensured that operations of the trust board has maintained a high level of continuity while we work through the process of appointing a permanent CEO. During the last year, Angeline has the lead trust board through some challenging operational changes which has seen some great results across our business units. Thank you Angeline for your hard work over the last twelve months.
To our staff, thank you very much for your mahi that you do for our people. You are the ones that take the vision of the board, and implement this to reality. The work you all do is greatly appreciated, and i thank you all for your continued commitment and working as hard as you can to get the best outcome for our iwi. Keep up the great work that you are doing, and on behalf of the board, nga mihi koutou katoa.
As we draw to the close of 2016, i sincerely hope that you all enjoy a break over the festive season and wherever you may go or wherever you may be over this holiday period, please be safe and look after those around you. I would like to wish everyone a blessed festive season and i look forward to an exciting and thriving new year ahead.
Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete ki a koutou katoa