Six stand for seats on Whanganui board of one of country's biggest farmers

Posted 2 November 2021 by Moana Ellis

Six people are standing for two positions on the board of one of the biggest farmers in the country, the Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The Māori-owned Incorporation with more than 9000 shareholders manages 38,500 hectares of ancestral land from Ohakune to Whanganui, including seven sheep and beef breeding stations, two finishing stations and a dairy unit. It farms 70,000 sheep, 4000 beef cows and 700 dairy cows, and also has more than 3000 beehives.

Two of the seven current board members, Keria Ponga and Tiwha Puketapu, will stand down as part of the board’s rotation policy. Both are up for re-election, and four further nominees have been confirmed. They are Jenny Tamakehu, Murray Haitana, Kemp Dryden and Sarah Bell.

Ātihau-Whanganui Tikanga & Branding Manager Whetu Moataane says shareholders will have the opportunity to vote at the Annual General Meeting on who will join chair Mavis Mullins, Che Wilson, Shar Amner, Rawiri Tinirau and Whatarangi Murphy-Peehi for the next term.

“Because of Covid and the uncertainty of where we’re going to be at in December, we’re now having our AGM online,” Moataane said.

“We’re encouraging people to do their postal vote but there is a function with the online system where you can place your votes on the day. Only shareholders can vote.

“At the beginning of the AGM we provide the opportunity for each candidate to share their korero. We’ve also provided the opportunity for each candidate to do a video recording. The idea behind that is to share these videos leading up to the AGM, to give shareholders the opportunity to hear more about them.”

The online AGM will be held on Friday 10 December. The annual report, voting papers and candidate information will be sent out to shareholders in the coming week.

The successful candidates will be announced the following week.

Ātihau-Whanganui has also appointed a new independent member to its grants arm, Te Āti Hau Trust, which provides educational, sport, kaumātua wellbeing and marae grants.

Jonelle Hiroti-Kinane joins Te Āti Hau Trust chair Shar Amner, Whatarangi Murphy-Peehi, Rawiri Tinirau and fellow independent trustee Aaron Rice-Edwards.

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