Te Kootuinga

Senior Leadership Team

Te Kootuinga are collectively responsible for providing leadership to all kaimahi (employees) of Waikato-Tainui. Their leadership strives to work towards achieving the strategic objectives of Whakatupuranga 2050.

We currently have 112 kaimahi working for Waikato-Tainui, of which 79% are tribal members and 95% are Maaori (as of April 2022).


Donna Flavell
Chief Executive

Tahuna Kaitoto Marae  |  Tuurangawaewae Marae

A known face throughout the tribe, Chief Executive is a role that she returned to after being on secondment with Te Ruunanga o Ngaai Tahu as the General Manager, Strategy and Influence and has been an integral part of the Three Waters initiative.

Donna holds key responsibilities for providing leadership to all employees of Waikato-Tainui and works closely with the Chair of Te Arataura and the Senior Leadership Team on a wide range of complex issues that confront Waikato-Tainui.

Prior to this, Donna led the Waikato-Tainui team that provided technical and administrative support to the co-negotiators for the Waikato River Claim, and subsequent settlement with the Crown. To see the realisation of the Waikato River Settlement in 2008 (and subsequent review in 2009) was a personal achievement for Donna.


Marae Tukere
Chief Operating Officer

Waikato (Ngaati Maahuta)

Responsible for the efficient operation of Waikato-Tainui and leadership for management and staff.


Sheree Ryan
Chief Financial Officer

Ngaati Maniapoto, Waikato

The key responsibility of this team is corporate governance and information technology.

Teams: Finance, Audit, Risk, ICT and Data


Jason Ake
GM Engagement & Communications

Waikato (Mahanga, Ngaati Haua)


Also Acting Deputy CEO

Marketing services, tribal events, social media, digital strategy, website development, and engagement, all sit within this team.

Teams: Communications & Events, Tainui Live, Aukaha News


Gwendoline Keel
GM Governance & Legal

Ngaati Paakehaa

Mana Hautuu

The Governance & Legal team is responsible for servicing Te Arataura, Te Whakakitenga and subcommittees and providing legal services to the organisation.

Teams: Policy, Governance Administration, Legal


Taipu Paki
GM Rights & Interests

Waikato (Ngaati Whaawhaakia)

Mana aa-Ture

The protection of historic and current settlements sits within Rights & Interests who also manage Crown partnerships, our Accords and advocate for our whaanau and organisations.

Teams: Strategy & Relationships, Settlement Protection


Glenda Taituha
GM Heritage and Identity

Waikato-Maniapoto (Ngaati Kinohaku), Ngaati Raahiri, Ngaati Kuiaa

Ngaa Taonga Tuku Iho

They are the kaitiaki of maatauranga resources, managing our tribal register and archives along with processing grants.

Teams: Tribal Connection - Taatai Hono, Tribal & Kiingitanga Collections - Taonga, Carving Team - Ngaa Ringa Whao, Tribal Narratives - Koorero Tuku Iho, Tribal Archives - He Puna Mahara


Raewyn Mahara
GM Education & Pathways

Waikato (Ngaati Mahuta),
Ngaatiawa (Otaraua),
Taranaki (Ngaati Moeahu)


This team delivers education and career pathways initiatives, maintains industry partnerships, and implements our Tikanga Ora Reo Ora (TORO) strategy.

Teams: Maatauranga (Education Team), Reo me te Maatauranga (Reo and Maatauranga Team), Ngaa Ara Umanga (Career Pathways Team)


Manaaki Nepia
Acting GM Development & Wellbeing

Waikato (Ngaati Whaawhaakia)


The key focus of this team is to deliver health and wellbeing, economic development, housing, and environmental initiatives to tribal members and marae.

Teams: Haapori, Whanake, Taiao, Mokopuna Ora


Porsha Wharakura
Acting GM Operations/Property Manager

Waikato (Ngaati Mahuta), Te Rarawa


This team is now property focused towards facility management and large property development projects.

Teams: Property, Site and Functions, Tribal Nursery