Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council

Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council.

The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation that acts as a cross-sector body for the New Zealand-China relationship. It brings together senior leaders from government, business and the wider community to strengthen the bilateral relationship with China.

Minister Mahuta says Arihia Bennett (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) will bring a wealth of knowledge about tourism and Te Ao Māori to the Council role and she is pleased to make today’s announcement.

“The Council wants to ensure they have appropriate and ongoing Māori representation to reflect the importance of the Māori economy and Māori business and cultural links with China. The role will be an important connector between the Council and Māori as Māori seek to deepen trade relationships with China”.

“Ngāi Tahu have been doing exciting things as the largest tourism operator on the South Island’s West Coast and I am delighted to have Arihia representing Māori interests in the New Zealand-China relationship,” she says.

Chief Executive of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Arihia Bennett says, “I look forward to representing Māori on the Council, particularly as the Chinese market continues to grow in importance to the Māori economy, built upon on our unique relationship-based approach”.

“China is a country with an intergenerational focus that is very much in line with the Ngāi Tahu vision - mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei - for us and our children after us. I look forward to ensuring that a Te Ao Māori perspective continues to be woven into the Council’s strategy.”

Minister Mahuta would also like to thank the former Te Puni Kōkiri-appointed member to the Council, Ngahiwi Tomoana, Chairman of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc., who is standing down after seven years of service on the Council.