INDEPENDENT NEWS

New chair: ‘We’re getting down to business'

Published: Fri 12 Apr 2024 07:36 PM
Even though Hayden Wano is semi-retired he’s still got stuff to do.
The highly experienced governance leader is the new chair of He Toronga Pakihi ki Taranaki, the region’s Māori business network – and he’s optimistic about the future.
“We’re in such an exciting time in terms of where we are in a post settlement phase,” says Hayden, of Taranaki, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Tama and Ngāti Awa descent.
“The prospects for us to contribute in a positive way economically and environmentally, is just sitting there and I want to be part of it.”
The former CEO of Tui Ora says being semi-retired means he has time to take up the chair role – one of his many governance roles.
“I’m doing stuff I want to do rather than stuff I used to have to do,” he says. “Specifically, I’m wanting to be involved more in the development of iwi Māori – that’s always been a big part of my career.”
Hayden is also Chair of Te Hiringa Mahara (the Mental Health & Wellbeing Commission), Deputy Chair of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce and Trustee of Te Kāhui o Taranaki Trust.
He is also a Trustee on the Taranaki Arts Festival Board, on the New Zealand Board of SurfAid and a Trustee of Wise Group, a Hamilton-based NGO, which provides mental health, addiction, and social services.
His former roles chairing organisations include the TSB Community Trust (now Toi Foundation), TSB Group Ltd, Taranaki District Health Board, the National Health Board, and the Health Sponsorship Council.
In 2023, the father of three adult children was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for his service to Māori health. He keeps himself healthy through surfing, swimming, mountain biking and walking with wife Clare McComb.
Between them they have 11 mokopuna, with eight living in Taranaki.
“We are a youthful population now and we have come through despairing times, particularly the 19th century when there wasn’t a lot of hope for us – and here we are today. We’re not without our challenges… but we find ourselves become more influential in wider society.”
There are many Māori involved with business and kaupapa Māori businesses – that’s who the network supports.
“This is a membership network organisation and there’s an opportunity for us to bring a way of strengthening those businesses by strengthening the networks through He Toronga Pakihi,” Hayden says.
The network, based in Ngāmotu House, can be effective through collaboration, partnerships and offering support to busy businesses through training opportunities, and providing information, insights, and intel.
“He Toronga Pakihi is in a fledgling state, but it’s got enormous potential. It’s got solid foundations and we’re in the working phase of the lifecycle now – we’re getting down to business.”
In his new role, Hayden hopes to bring insights on governance, along with accountability, transparency, and a focus around purpose.
Emere Wano, the inaugural chair of He Toronga Pakihi after it was incorporated in August 2020, has high hopes for her brother-in-law’s leadership of the organisation.
“I think he’s a great asset for the Trust because he has that experience… and he has very strong governance experience and he’s very well connected, not just in Taranaki but outside of Taranaki,” says Emere, owner and Director of events business Tihi Ltd and Regional Manager at Ngā Iwi o Taranaki.
“This is part of the evolution of the Trust,” she says.
“The key thing about it for us is that it’s not just about somebody’s skills and expertise – that is highly valued – but it’s about their ability to connect on a cultural (level) in Te Ao Māori and bring that to the table.”
That also involved embracing the organisation’s values of kotahitanga, whanaungatanga and manaakitanga.
“When we went through the establishment of the Trust, our goal was to create a sustainable organisation to support the enhancement and development of Māori business and at that time it was to get resources, people as well as money, and get a strategy together to amplify that and elevate that,” she says.
The organisation has evolved since the beginning when it was an informal network.
“I knew there would come a time when it needed that next injection of skills experience and expertise to take it to another place.”
Miaana Patene, who first joined the Trust in September 2020, was the interim chair for seven months after Emere stepped down.
She is excited about Hayden taking over.
“To be able to secure someone like him as the chair of a voluntary organisation like He Toronga Pakihi is a pretty big deal,” says Miaana, of Taranaki, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Maru descent.
“He’s got really important regional and national relationships and networks, significant governance and chair experience, proven commitment to local Māori kaupapa in our Taranaki communities, so I have no doubt He Toronga will continue to thrive and be taken to another level under his leadership.”
Under her leadership, Miaana says the Trust started a process of reviewing the organisation’s values, priorities, and strategies.
“And we have been discussing the threats and opportunities for He Toronga in the current climate and how we can better position ourselves to bring opportunities for our pakihi Māori whānau to succeed,” she says. “It’s all about mana motuhake – doing things for ourselves.”
The mother of two tamariki, who is a trained lawyer and small business owner, plans to leave the Trust later this year, but will remain as a He Toronga Pakihi member. “My reason for leaving is to prioritise more time with my young whānau.”

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