Trustees and Staff
Rōpata is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Ᾱtiawa descent. He is Chair of Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust Board, ex-officio member to the Investment Committee and a member of the Education, Audit & Risk, Remuneration and Whakapapa Committees. Rōpata is also currently General Manager People & Culture with Wakatū Incorporation. He is a graduate of the University of Otago and prior to joining Wakatū was a secondary school teacher and tertiary lecturer.
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, Remuneration and Whakapapa committees. Jeremy and his wife Melissa run Plink Software, a Nelson based kaupapa Māori software company. Jeremy is a Director for Wakatū Incorporation and also holds a variety of other governance roles.
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 from 1998 until 2019. He is also a Director for Wakatū Incorporation. He is Chair of Te Whanake committee. 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.
Paul Morgan is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Mahurehure descent. He is a member of Te Whanake, Audit and Risk and Whakapapa committees. 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 is of Te Ᾱtiawa descent and was appointed as a Trustee in April 2008. She is the Chair of the Audit and Risk and Education committees and sits on the Investment committee. Emma is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Institute of Directors. She is an independent contractor providing financial accounting services for various organisations and Iwi Trusts in Taranaki, where she now lives with her partner and their pēpi.
Mereama is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa descent. She was appointed as a Trustee in 2015 and is a member of the Investment, Te Whanake and Education committees. Mereama has extensive experience in public management and is currently a Director at the State Services Commission where she leads advice on the design and direction of New Zealand’s Public Service. Mereama is a graduate of Victoria University and has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Māori Studies. She lives in Wellington with her husband and three tamariki.
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 member of the Te Whanake committee.
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Pukeone raua ko Tuao Wharepapa ngā maunga
Ko Motueka rāua
Ko Riuwaka ōku awa
Ko Te Āwhina te marae
Ko Ngāti Rārua tōku iwi
Ko Rima Takutai Piggott ahau
Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa
Rima was born and raised in Motueka by her parents, Warren and Joyce Stephens. She knows the whenua and the whānau who live in Motueka. She has worked in the Motueka community in different industries and loves the place. Rima still lives here on their whenua with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and four moko.
Rima recognised the need to understand better the responsibility, complexity and skills that are required to serve our whānau and over the last ten years has made the commitment to upskill herself in the areas of governance through the Institute of Directors and Māori leadership programmes.
Rima is an active member of a number of boards in our rohe - Te Āwhina Marae, Manawhenua ki Mohua, Ngāti Rārua whakapapa komiti, Motueka Museum, Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board and she serves her Iwi as a mandated representative.
Rima is honest and reliable and honoured to serve you, the whānau.
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 25 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 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.