The right person for the job is how Wairoa Mayor Craig Little described the appointment of local man Kitea Tipuna to the permanent position of Wairoa District Council chief executive officer.
Mr Tipuna has been the interim chief executive since October last year with Council confirming his permanent appointment at an extraordinary meeting held yesterday (Wednesday June 9) morning.
Council received 14 applications for the advertised position with Mr Little expressing his confidence in Mr Tipuna describing him as, “a great local person who has the qualifications, knowledge and capability to carry out the role.
“Elected members have seen the impact Mr Tipuna has had on Council during his time as interim chief executive and we are confident that through this permanent role Council and Wairoa will continue to thrive.
“We thank the community and Council staff for their patience while we have gone through the recruitment process, I believe in this case the wait has been well worthwhile.”
Mr Tipuna, is Wairoa born and bred and will become the first tangata whenua Māori Chief Executive Officer of the Wairoa District Council and one of very few Māori Council chief executives in the country.
Mr Tipuna said it is a privilege to have even been considered for the role and a real honour to have been selected and given the opportunity to share the skills he has developed.
“The position of chief executive is a huge responsibility and I know there are community expectations. I am a local person, from the Mill Pa in Frasertown and Takitimu in North Clyde, and I understand our community. While there are occasions where the decisions that Council makes are not always what the community wants, I will always front up with honesty, integrity and transparency and will not hide behind a keyboard.”
The te reo Māori speaker, who is also known as Lucky, is the son of Mere and the late Nukumai (Duke) Tipuna.
He completed his education at North Clyde School, Wairoa Intermediate and went onto Wairoa College.
Mr Tipuna then studied a degree in communications at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and later completed a Masters degree in communications.
He spent 15 years working at AUT where his positions included Māori liaison officer, equity policy advisor and manager of University performance strategy and planning.
After 20 years away, including extensive overseas travel, Mr Tipuna returned to Wairoa in 2014 taking up the position of communications strategist at the Council. He was later promoted to Manager of Economic Development and Engagement and then Group Manager of Community and Engagement.
“Whānau brought me home. It was a lifestyle choice, I just wanted to be closer to my mum and my family.
“Coming home means people like me can bring their skills with them and contribute to our community. My focus is on serving the community and trying to give back what I have been fortunate enough to receive.
“I have a hard work ethic and always try to be fair-minded. I see myself as serving the community and that is my leadership style, service-led.
“I want to thank all those in the community who have encouraged and supported me, especially my mum. She’s my rock. My mum bought up five kids by herself after my father passed away at a young age. She worked hard to provide for us and instilled in us a hard work ethic.
“Wairoa is home, it’s where my whānau are from, and my appointment is a tribute to my mum and my whole whānau for laying the groundwork for people like me to contribute to future generations and the future of our community.”
Mrs Tipuna is thrilled her son has been appointed as the CEO of Council. “I’m so pleased the Council has shown confidence in my son by appointing him their next CEO. He has worked hard for this, and he will continue to work hard for our people and our community.”
Mrs Tipuna smiles saying, “I just hope I still get to see him. I know he’s going to be busy, and I know he will give everything to his new role, and I will be there to support him.”
Mr Tipuna said maintaining good service to our community and ensuring that this can be achieved in an affordable way will be a priority. Our relationship with central government, and the reforms around Three Waters, the RMA and Local Government are upon us, and this will be an interesting challenge for our community.
“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves, along with elected members and staff, and get stuck in, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”