Trustees and Staff
Rōpata is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Ᾱtiawa descent. He is Chairman of Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust Board, ex-officio member to the Investment Committee and Deputy Chair of Koru Investments. Ropata is also currently General Manager People & Culture with Wakatū Incorporation, a Trustee of the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency and the Nelson Sculpture Trust, and is a Ministerial appointee to the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board. He is a graduate of the University of Otago and prior to joining Wakatū was a secondary school teacher and tertiary lecturer.
Russell (Barney) Thomas
Through Barney’s mother, his iwi connections are Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Toa and Te Ᾱtiawa, and through his father, Ngāi Tahu. Barney has been a Trustee of Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust since its inception and Vice Chair since 1998. Barney was also Chair of Ngāti Rārua Iwi Trust until he retired in 2005 and served on the Board of Trustees for Whakarewa School from 1991 to 1993. Barney is currently the Pou Kura Taiao for the Department of Conservation in the Nelson/Marlborough area, and was formerly with the Inland Revenue Department and the Department of Labour.
Paul Morgan is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Mahurehure descent. He has held a number of commercial directorships over many years including Chairman of Wakatū Incorporation and land trustee of Te Ᾱwhina Marae. He has been a member of various government-appointed advisory groups and industry initiatives over the years.
Emma Park is of Te Ᾱtiawa descent and was appointed as a Trustee in April 2008. She is Chair of the Audit committee and a member of the Investment committee. Emma is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Institute of Directors. Emma is currently working as the Financial Accountant for AgResearch Limited in Hamilton. She was the Associate Director for Wakatü Incorporation in 2007. Emma recently completed an Advanced Certificate in Māori Ambassadorship and Leadership and she also actively utilises her organisational and networking skills to support various individuals and community groups.
Seenie Kahukura was appointed to Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust in 2013. He works for the Hawkes Bay District Health Board as a part-time social worker for Wairoa Hospital and is also a mental health support worker for the iwi-based Kahungunu Executive in Wairoa. Seenie is the Tairawhiti District representative for the Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota and has extensive trade union experience. He was a member of the first Maori organisation in the NZ Federation of Labour in the 1980s.
Jeremy Banks is of Ngāti Rārua and Rangitāne descent. He was appointed as a Trustee of Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust in 2013 and is a member of the Investment, Audit & Risk and Remuneration Committees. Jeremy is a software specialist based in Wellington and his company is currently focussing on kaupapa Māori software, including a mobile app to teach people Te Reo Māori. Jeremy is also a Director for Wakatū Incorporation and a Trustee for Te Rūnanga o Te Ataarangi.
Mereama is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa descent. She was appointed as a Trustee in 2015 and is a member of the Investment and Audit & Risk Committees. Mereama has extensive experience in public sector management and is currently a Managing Principal at the State Services Commission where she leads a team of performance improvement specialists. Mereama is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington and has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, and in Maori Studies. She lives in Wellington with her husband and three children.
Jarrod is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Ᾱtiawa descent. He is the founder and operator of Nelson’s largest holiday home marketing and property management service. Jarrod's background is in sales and marketing with a career and education background in seafood and aquaculture. Jarrod is a graduate of the University of Tasmania, lived and worked in Japan for nine years and now resides in Nelson with his wife and two children.
Chief Operating Officer
John grew up in Stratford, Taranaki, and is of Taranaki /Haumia descent. John joined Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust in 2007 as an advisor to the Board, and manager of NRAIT’s finance, investment and operational functions. John’s focus is the long-term financial sustainability of the business and growing the asset base. He has 20 years’ experience including 10 years working in leading international financial institutions in the UK, the US and Australia and a broad knowledge base from a wide range of industries.
Project Co-ordinator & Office Manager
Nichola was appointed to the role of Project Co-ordinator and Office Manager for Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust in August 2013. She is also responsible for providing specialist support to the Te Whanake strategic programme. Nichola has had extensive experience in both the health and education sectors in Australia and New Zealand. Born on the West Coast and educated in Nelson and Canterbury, she now lives in Richmond with her partner Tony and son Jack.
Renee is of Ngāti Rārua, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Toa and Ngāi Tahu descent. She was born in Blenheim and raised in Nelson. Renee has a Bachelor of Commerce, with a double major in Accounting and Management from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. She works closely with John Charleton to ensure monthly financial transactions are in order, budgets are maintained and that monthly and year end reporting requirements are met, as well as completing project work. Renee resides in Motueka with her husband Matt and daughter Sophia.