Te Arawa representatives appointed to Rotorua Lakes Council committees will go into their first round of meetings with added confidence after an induction day with key council staff.

“We realised we had to get this right and decided, as a board, that we needed to do our homework rather than just rushing in,” says Te Tatau o Te Arawa member Rawiri Waru, who will represent the board on council’s Operations and Monitoring Committee.

The general manager of Te Arawa Communications (Radio Te Arawa), and a director of Pukeroa Oruawhata Holdings Ltd and Pukeroa Properties No2, says the induction process was very important for the board members.

We’ve learned about council processes and what the committees are about and for me it really put everything together, gave us a good sense of how things work and people in key positions who we will get to know.

“It has been a good learning experience – great for us to go into next week with confidence.”

All new staff – and elected members following an election – are taken through an induction process when they join Rotorua Lakes Council. This includes a tour of relevant facilities, information about the structure and workings of the organisation and health and safety matters.

In the case of Te Tatau o Te Arawa members, their induction also included a session with executive, governance and operational staff today [Tuesday 29 March] to talk through meeting processes and protocols.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa representatives will take up their roles on council’s committees from the April round of meetings with Operations and Monitoring first up, next Thursday.

Mr Waru said the board would have a noho marae (marae stay) this coming weekend which would provide the opportunity to discuss further what the members had learned during the council induction process and consider processes for the board that would complement the new roles on council committees.

We are quite mindful that while we are there to represent the view of Te Arawa, we are there for the good of the community as a whole.”

The five board members set to serve on council committees were accountable to their iwi and very aware they would also be watched by other councils and iwi from around the country, Mr Waru said.

“This [partnership model] is new not only to Rotorua but to New Zealand so all eyes are on us and we need to make sure it works. We’re all very passionate and keen to contribute.

“I’d also like to mihi to [council chief executive] Geoff Williams and the staff who put the induction together for us. It was very well organised and we really appreciated it,” he said.

Mayor Steve Chadwick, who was at today’s induction session to welcome the new committee members, has been impressed with how “very measured” Te Tatau o Te Arawa members have been in learning council processes, protocol and committee functions before taking their place at the table.

“They know they will be measured by what they add to any recommendations that are made and they are determined to be well prepared,” she says.

The level of questioning during today’s induction session showed great levels and depth of experience, and understanding of governance, and it bodes well for maximising our opportunities as we work together on a partnership basis,” the mayor says.

Te Tatau o Te Arawa members who will sit on council’s committees are:

  • Operations and Monitoring: Potaua Biasiny-Tule and David Waru;
  • Strategy, Policy and Finance: Eugene Berryman-Kamp and Ana Morrison;
  • Resource Management Act Policy Committee: Gina Mohi.