• Rōpata Taylor


    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 a member of the Education Committee. Rōpata is also currently General Manager People & Culture with Wakatū Incorporation, a Trustee of 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.  

    Ropata Taylor

  • Russell (Barney) Thomas

    Vice Chairman

    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.  He is also a Director for Wakatū Incorporation.   Barney was 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. He is currently the Pou Tairangahau for the Department of Conservation in the Nelson/Marlborough area, and was formerly with the Inland Revenue Department and the Department of Labour.  Barney is married to Shona who is very patient and supportive, has three children (Renee, Fraser and Jackson), and a granddaughter, Sophia.


    Barney Thomas

  • Paul Morgan


    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.

    Paul Morgan

  • Emma Park


    Emma Park is of Te Ᾱtiawa descent and was appointed as a Trustee in April 2008. She is the Chair of the Audit & Risk and the Investment Committees and a member of the Education committee. Emma is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Institute of Directors. 
    Emma is currently on maternity leave from her role as the Financial Accountant for AgResearch Limited in Hamilton and has moved to Taranaki to join her partner.
    Emma continues to actively utilise her professional skills as well as her organisational and networking skills to support various individuals and community groups.


    Emma Park

  • Jeremy Banks


    Jeremy Banks is of Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne and Ngāti Kuia 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 and his wife Melissa run Plink Software, a Nelson based kaupapa Māori software company. Jeremy is also a Director for Wakatū Incorporation and Network for Learning and a Trustee for Te Rūnanga o Te Ataarangi.


    Jeremy Banks

  • Mereama Chase


    Mereama is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa descent.   She was appointed as a Trustee in 2015 and is a member of the Investment, Audit & Risk and Education 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.    

    Mereama Chase

  • Jarrod Buchanan


    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.

    Jarrod Buchanan

  • John Katene


    John is of Te Ātiawa descent.  He was reappointed to the Board of Ngāti Rārua Ātiawa Iwi Trust in 2017, having spent several years previously as a Trustee.  John is a Trustee of Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui Trust. 

    John Katene

  • John Charleton

    Chief Executive

    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.


    John Charleton

  • Nichola Vessey

    Project Coordinator & Office Manager

    Nichola was appointed to the role of Project Coordinator 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.

    Nichola Vessey