Waikato-Tainui announces CEO appointment

Rahui Papa, Chairman of Waikato-Tainui tribal executive Te Arataura, has today announced the appointment of Donna Flavell as Chief Executive of the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust.

Ms Flavell, who affiliates to Waikato, Ngaa Puhi and Ruapani, has served as Acting CEO since the departure of former CEO Parekawhia McLean late last year. Her appointment followed a recruitment process which attracted a number of high quality candidates.

Mr Papa said the appointment of Ms Flavell heralded an exciting new era for the tribe as it built on the successful platform of growth and development that had been strengthened during Ms McLean’s tenure.

“Donna has worked for Waikato-Tainui since 1996 when she was selected for a tribal graduate programme following the completion of a law degree. She immediately demonstrated the potential for development and was earmarked then for a future leadership role. So it is very pleasing to see this potential come to fruition,” said Mr Papa.

Ms Flavell’s most recent previous roles include Principal Advisor for Waikato-Tainui, General Manager of the Waikato Raupatu River Trust, and General Manager Strategy and Influence for Ngaai Tahu.

“Among Donna’s strengths is her sound insight and understanding into the vision that we have for our people and the challenges and opportunities we have to support their success. We’re excited at the strategic direction and practical implementation she will bring particularly in the areas of education, health,  housing, social development, environmental care and protection, and claims settlement.”

Ms Flavell said the appointment represented decades of focus and commitment to developing the skills necessary to lead the tribal organisation, and she was immensely proud and humbled to be appointed to lead her iwi.

Her intention as CEO is to encourage a collaborative, innovative and proactive culture focused on driving the iwi forward, with marae, whaanau, land, assets and research as top priorities. Her immediate priority will be to implement the findings of a recent fit-for-purpose organisational review.

“We are 20 years beyond our treaty claim settlement. That has been a time of huge growth for our iwi and especially this organisation. As CEO I would like to take those learnings, reflect on our progress and look at how we can change up our performance for better outcomes for our people,” she said.

“Relevant strategic direction together with innovation in the way that we operationalise our responsibilities, is key to ensuring that we maximise every opportunity to deliver. I relish the challenge.”

Ms Flavell commences her new role immediately.