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Thriving Maori business and resilient communities a priority for new director

Helping Maori business thrive and building resilient Waikato communities is a priority for Te Waka’s new director and Iwi representative.

Craig Barrett (Ngaati Maniapoto) has been appointed to the role following selection by local Iwi and nomination from the Mayoral Forum.

Waikato born and bred, Mr Barrett says he was drawn to Te Waka by its vision of ‘getting things done’ and its commitment to telling the region’s economic growth story with one voice and agreed priorities.

“Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari, he toa takitahi. Success is not the work of one but the work of many.

“I am excited to work as part of a team to deliver the key priorities within Te Whare Ohaoha, the Waikato region’s Māori Economic Development Action Plan, which provides a clear roadmap to prosperity for our region.

“At the launch of the Action Plan refresh in June last year, The Hon Nanaia Mahuta talked about resilient whānau and communities being the backbone of our society. I couldn’t agree more.

“Together with my Te Waka colleagues, I am committed to helping position the Māori economy as a key driver of economic success, and social and cultural wellbeing in the Waikato region.

“Waikato is a great place to live, work and play and I’m looking forward to the part I can play in fostering its growth in the future.”

Te Waka Chairman Dallas Fisher says Mr Barrett’s skills and experience will add real horsepower to the organisation and complement those of existing board members.

“Craig has a key role to play in making sure Māori business is connected to the support, resources, and funding they need to grow sustainably.

“Te Whare Ohaoha is an initiative with which Te Waka has been directly involved to support the vision of building a prosperous and inclusive Waikato Maori economy.”

Te Waka has helped deliver on the Plan to build a prosperous and inclusive Maori economy. It has supported major economic development projects and partnered with agencies and Iwi to support Whanau enterprise and meaningful employment pathways for youth.

“Craig’s knowledge, experience and connections with Iwi will help us get even more runs on the board,” says Mr Fisher. “We’re grateful for the knowledge, skills and connections he brings to the table.”

Craig is a Partner at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Chartered Accountants in Hamilton. He works with commercial entities and Māori organisations and provides strategic and commercial advice on all aspects of their business. He is passionate about innovation and value-add to improve economic performance.

Craig has a Bachelor of Management Studies from the University of Waikato, majoring in Accounting and Finance, and is a Chartered Accountant.

Craig’s other industry experience includes roles as Chairman of Puniu River Care, Miro LP Board Member, Masse Incorporated Board Member, Waikato Hospice Foundation Trustee, Ngati Hineuru Asset Company Director, St Peter’s School Trustee, and a number of other private directorships.