Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura will today elect a new delegate on the Ngāi Tahu Board, replacing Sir Mark Solomon who has held the representative role for the last 17 years.
The two candidates vying for the power position are rūnanga members Victor Manawatu and Darren Kerei-Keepa.
The election, which is open to all beneficiaries and rūnanga members, will take place at Takahanga marae at 10.30am.
Both candidates will give a presentation before an appointment committee, made up of five rūnanga members, will deliberate then decide who their next representative will be.
Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura is the tribal council for Ngāti Kuri, which has more than 5,000 registered beneficiaries. It is one of 18 Papatipu Rūnanga identified under the Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Act.
Chairman Henare Manawatu says the change in representation is a positive change of direction for Ngāti Kuri. “It’s definitely moving forward,” he says.
“The person we’re looking for will support our self-sustainability and ensure the marae (Takahanga) remain a whānau marae and not look at the corporate side of things. They’ll speak for us and represent what we want for our rūnanga, marae, and whānau.”
Today’s election will have a wider impact on Ngāi Tahu’s leadership. It renders Sir Mark Solomon’s role as Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu ineffective.
Lisa Tumahai is the current acting Kaiwhakahaere. An election process for the leadership role is expected to take place next year.
Reflecting on the mahi done by Sir Mark Solomon for the iwi kāinga of Kaikōura Henare Manawatu says, “He’s been there for 17 years. Over that time he developed a great relationship with other iwi, politicians, and we wish him all the best.”
It’s uncertain whether Sir Mark Solomon will attend today’s election. He could not be reached for comment.