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New blood on Trust Tairawhiti board

A lawyer and a doctor of philosophy who whakapapa back to Tairawhiti are the new board members of the region's $377 million community trust.

Wi Pere Mita and Dr Warren Williams are the new appointees of Trust Tairawhiti's governance board.

Gisborne District Council confirmed the two new appointments this morning, following a public excluded meeting yesterday.

They replace board chair Dr Paul Reynolds and Ailsa Cuthbert.

In a statement provided to The Gisborne Herald, Mayor Rehette Stoltz acknowledged the significant contribution of the departing trustees.

Dr Reynolds has been the board chair since 2018.

“His focus has been ensuring the trust worked in close partnership with the community to support a prosperous, healthy and positive Tairawhiti,” Mayor Stoltz said.

“He has been instrumental in providing thought leadership and bringing together the former Eastland Community Trust and economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti under one new brand — He Tohu Ora, Trust Tairawhiti — that will better serve our region as a whole,” she said.

“Dr Reynold's strategic and innovative contribution to the board and wider community has been invaluable.”

Ms Cuthbert, a board member since 2017, chose not to seek reappointment.

“On behalf of council, we're sincerely grateful to Ailsa's contribution and guidance, particularly with projects that required robust financial and investment advice. We wish both departing trustees all the very best.”

Mr Mita is a practising lawyer, mediator and consultant in the commercial, not-for-profit, public and private sectors.

He has extensive experience in executive management including strategic planning, asset optimisation, economic development and revenue generation aimed at enhancing business growth.

He is fluent in te reo Maori and tikanga Maori and active on many Ngati Porou marae.

Dr Williams is a doctor of philosophy and the acting chief executive of Waikato Tainui College for Research and Development.

He also has a Masters in Business Administration and has broad experience in community and iwi research, business, education and technology coupled with board-level governance. He is fluent in te reo Maori.

“Both are committed to giving back to the Tairawhiti community and their skills and experience will be relevant and valuable in leading the work of Trust Tairawhiti.

“It is great that we have been able to attract such talent,” Mayor Stoltz said.

Other trustees are Dr Jill Chrisp, Kristen Kohere-Soutar, John Clarke, Lyall Evans and Gisborne district councillor Shannon Dowsing.

Trust Tairawhiti is the regional development trust and shareholders of Eastland Group, with about $666.1 million in total assets and equity of $377.3 million as at March 31, 2020.

Through the development of these assets, the trust invests in the wellbeing of the people to ensure the success of businesses and the future of the region.

Dr Warren Williams
Wi Pere Mita

  1. Colin Alder says:

    Does this mean we are $288.8 million in debt…that’s a lot if interest rates go up. Suggests shocking management when you consider monopoly pricing and a wall of wood!

    1. Manu Caddie says:

      It means the debt to equity ratio is 0.76. If it was a business, that’s probably not a terrible position and some investors would want the debt to be higher compared to equity to maximise growth capital, but as a community-owned trust it is probably debatable about whether that figure should be lower or higher depending on the community appetite for growing the capital base and how much risk is prudent.

  2. Rau, Hamilton says:

    So provide Maori benefits from trust to date before its new name arrived . . . be good to show HOW benefits over the yrs got to Maori shareholders please . . . and time to retire old Clarke . . . expiry dates be established so new young influencers and innovative brown peeps get brought on . . . having town looking like it’s closing down is not a good look for the once-thriving town it was . . . hope newbies can move rest of board to consider arresting ugly decline of city/town . . .

    1. Winston Moreton says:

      Manu Caddie should be on that Trust Board. John Clarke now seems as though he could be acting as Chair. He was observed with the Group accountant entering the Auckland Airport Koru lounge for an hour last week before flying to Gisborne.