Tā Tipene O’Regan named 2022 New Zealander of the Year Te Pou Whakarae o Aotearoa
On Thursday his mahi (work) as lead negotiator in one of Aotearoa’s first major iwi settlements was recognised across the nation, as the winner of the 2022 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Te Pou Whakarae o Aotearoa.
It has been 25 years since Tā Tipene led representatives of Ngāi Tahu, gathering with Crown officials at Takahanga Marae, Kaikōura, to sign what would become the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act, Te Kerēme.
The moment was a long time in the making for Ngāi Tahu, almost 150 years after the first formal statement of grievance was made against the Crown.
The settlement of the claim, provided $170 million in compensation to the iwi, along with rights to sites of significance, a role in the conservation of their lands and a ‘unreserved’ apology from the Crown for breaching Te Tiriti, The Treaty of Waitangi.
As one of the first successful treaty claims of its kind, Te Kerēme, helped carve a path for others.
Today, 54 iwi claims against the crown have been settled, totalling $1.5 billion in financial redress.
The Ngāi Tahu settlement, is one of only three Treaty of Waitangi claims to reach $170 million.
But while Te Kerēme might be his crowning achievement, the kaumātua, who is now in his 80s, has served his whenua through many roles in his time.
As Chairman of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission he helped craft the treaty fisheries settlements of 1989 and 1992.
As a published scholar and former university lecturer, he chaired and developed the Ngāi Tahu Archive Advisory Committee and was the longest-serving member of the New Zealand Geographic Board.
After he was announced as New Zealander of the Year in a digital Awards ceremony on March 31, Tā Tipene, was presented the kaitaka huaki cloak, Pouhine by the Prime Minister.
Te Rūnanga (Chair) o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere, Lisa Tumahai, said the award is very well deserved.
“After his mahi, as Chief Negotiator in the team leading Ngāi Tahu to [a] settlement with the Crown in 1998, he has continued to guide our iwi as a rangatira,” she said.
“This award not only celebrates the contribution Tā Tipene has made to our country.
“But it also highlights how he has influenced the history of New Zealand throughout his entire career.”
While Miriama Kamo, Patron of the Award said Tā Tipene is an example of a living tāonga (treasure).
“The Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards, Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa, celebrate people who use their passion to make our country a better place, and Tā Tipene O’ Regan undeniably fits the bill.”
Other winners across six categories include:
- The University of Canterbury Young New Zealander of the Year, Te Mātātahi o te Tau, Ezra Hirawani (Te Āti Haunui-a-Paparangi / Ngāti Rangi / Ngāpuhi / Ngāti Hako / Waikato Tainui).
Ezra Hirawani is the co-founder of kaupapa Māori power company Nau Mai Rā which keeps the lights on for the 100,000 New Zealanders living in energy hardship.
- The Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year, Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau, is Rereata Makiha (Northland).
Using oral traditions Rereata Makiha has worked to share knowledge, connecting and educating the next generation.
- The Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year, Te Pou Whakairo o te Tau, is Mark Sagar PhD FRSNZ (Auckland).
As the CEO of Soul Machines, Mark Sagar is leading the way for intelligent, AI design from his R&D lab in Auckland.
- The Mitre 10 New Zealand Community of the Year Ngā Pou Whirinaki o te Tau, goes to the Matakaoa Community.
The Matakaoa Community worked together to keep Covid-19 out of its town, uniting in a shared purpose, they achieved exemplary vaccination rates.
- The Department of Conservation and Ministry for the Environment New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year, Te Toa Taiao o te Tau, is Charmaine Bailie (Auckland).
Described as a force of nature, Charmaine Bailie is an ecologist who uses her skills, humour and energy to oversee numerous large-scale environmental restoration projects.
- The Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year, Te Pou Toko o te Tau, is Dave Letele (Henderson).
Dave Letele is the founder of the not-for-profit Brown Buttabean Motivation programme – a free, gym-based weight-loss programme inspiring thousands of New Zealanders.
Posted: 31 March 2022