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'WHANAU BROUGHT ME HOME'

New Wairoa District Council CEO looking forward to serving community.

Wairoa District Council has a new chief executive after interim CEO Kitea Tipuna was appointed to the role permanently at an extraordinary meeting yesterday.

The council received 14 applications for the advertised position.

Mayor Craig Little described Mr Tipuna as “a great local person who has the qualifications, knowledge and capability to carry out the role”.

Wairoa born and bred, Mr Tipuna is the first tangata whenua Maori WDC chief executive officer.

A te reo Maori speaker and known as Lucky to many, Mr Tipuna is the son of Mere and the late Nukumai (Duke) Tipuna.

The Wairoa College old boy said it was a privilege to have even been considered for the role and a real honour to be given the opportunity to share the skills he has developed.

“The position of chief executive is a huge responsibility and I know there are community expectations. I am a local person, from Mill Pa in Frasertown and Takitimu in North Clyde, and I understand our community.

“While there are occasions where the decisions that council makes are not always what the community wants, I will always front up with honesty, integrity and transparency and will not hide behind a keyboard.”

Mr Tipuna attended North Clyde School, Wairoa Intermediate and Wairoa College. He has a Masters degree in communications from Auckland University of Teechnology (AUT).

He spent 15 years working at AUT — as Maori liaison officer, equity policy adviser and manager of university performance strategy and planning.

After 20 years away, Mr Tipuna returned to Wairoa in 2014 to take up the position of communications strategist at the district council. He was later promoted to manager of economic development and engagement and then group manager of community and engagement.

“Whanau brought me home,” he says. “It was a lifestyle choice. I just wanted to be closer to my mum and my family.

“Coming home means people like me can bring their skills with them and contribute to our community. My focus is on serving the community and trying to give back what I have been fortunate enough to receive.”

Mr Tipuna said he had a strong work ethic and always tried to be fair-minded.

“I see myself as serving the community, and that is my leadership style — service-led.

“I want to thank all those in the community who have encouraged and supported me, especially my mum. She's my rock. My mum brought up five kids by herself after my father passed away at a young age. She worked hard to provide for us and instilled in us a hard work ethic.

“Wairoa is home. It's where my whanau are from, and my appointment is a tribute to my mum and my whole whanau for laying the groundwork for people like me to contribute to future generations and the future of our community.”

Mrs Tipuna is thrilled her son has been appointed as the CEO of the council.

“I'm so pleased council has shown confidence in my son by appointing him their next CEO. He has worked hard for this, and he will continue to work hard for our people and our community.

“I just hope I still get to see him. I know he's going to be busy, and I know he will give everything to his new role, and I will be there to support him.”

Mr Tipuna said maintaining good service and ensuring that this can be achieved in an affordable way will be a priority.

“Our relationship with central government, and the reforms around Three Waters, the RMA and Local Government are upon us, and this will be an interesting challenge for our community.

“I'm ready to roll up my sleeves, along with elected members and staff, and get stuck in. We've got a lot of work ahead of us.” – Wairoa Star

Kitea Tipuna