Topics: Elections, Politics

"We've got to put ourselves forward into leadership roles" - Parekawhia McLean

By Mānia Clarke
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Today marks 124 years since New Zealand became the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote. The new chair of Waikato-Tainui's governance body Parekawhia McLean says more still needs to be done to see more Māori women in leadership roles.

The former head of Waikato-Tainui's operations has returned to the helm, but this time at the tribe's parliament house, Te Whakakitenga.

"I know the tribal business very well across the group, but I also understand the important role that governments plays in terms of setting direction, strategic direction, supporting our executive to deliver," said McLean.

New governance structure introduced last term now mean executives can only serve for three terms consecutively.  
 
"It's very exciting. You know, the last term we had our governance review and what I'm seeing now is a bit of a generational shift."

This day in 1893, women's right to vote in New Zealand's general election was made law. McLean says there needs to be more women representation on governance boards.

"We're well behind Australia, so we need to do more," she said.

"And it's important that we're sharing our stories, share our aspirations and visions for women being in leadership roles."

However, she's hopeful for the future.

"Tipa Mahuta is the deputy chair. We've got Rukumoana Schaafhausen as the Kāhui Ariki representative and we've got some other very strong Māori women who've come into our executive."

"We've got to lead in that space. We've got to put ourselves forward into leadership roles. Those of us that are in leadership roles need to bring others along with us as well."

Te Arataura will meet in the next few weeks to elect their new chair for the next three years.