Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hawke’s Bay council elects youngest and first wahine chair

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has elected its youngest and first wahine Māori as chairperson, Hinewai Ormsby, at a ceremony today.

The Council held its inaugural meeting at the Napier Conference Centre, where councillors were sworn in for the triennium 2022-2025.

Councillor Ormsby, at 39 years, is the youngest regional council chair in the country. She is of Ngāti Paaru, Ngāti Hinepare, Ngāti Mahu and Ngai Tawhao descent, and affiliated to Waiohiki, Wharerangi and Moteo marae.

Councillor Martin Williams, who nominated Councillor Ormsby, says the Council needed to own Te Mana o Te Wai, the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis.

Hinewai Ormsby.

“Councillor Ormsby is the right person for this role at this time – because of her dedication, commitment and resolve. She is a woman who walks the talk, and has humanity and humility,” said Cr Williams.

On being elected, Councillor Ormsby’s whānau gave a rousing haka in support, and her husband Cam and children embraced her.

Councillor Ormsby said it was an honour to take on the leadership role with the support of friends and whānau in the room.

“We are in a new era and it’s an exciting one where we can challenge perceived assumptions about how success can be achieved together,” she said.

The haka performed at today’s meeting.

“We must be brave and confront these challenges for our people and region and for the benefit of our taiao (environment). We are at the greatest pivotal point that will call on the skills and attributes of each of us to steer the region through rough waters.

“Your (councillors) values that you bring from diverse backgrounds will come to the table, and we will be stronger together– me kōkiri whakamua tātau.”

At the inauguration, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi chairman Bayden Barber acknowledged the councillors from all parts of the Ngāti Kahungunu rohe.

He summed up the sentiments from the whaikorero, the leaders who had spoken on behalf of mana whenua and the Council, saying the opportunities were in the palms of the hands of the councillors and as a community, to work together collaboratively.

“It is the first time the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has two Māori seats, Thompson Hokianga and Charles Lambert, who bring taonga from their descendants to the table,” he said.

Central Hawke’s Bay Councillor, Will Foley, was elected as deputy chairperson.

Councillor Foley said he was privileged to represent Central Hawke’s Bay, adding that he believed the next few years would require leadership by the whole Council to set the vision for the region and give good direction to staff.

“We all must stay on the same waka,” Cr Foley said.

The HBRC councillors are: Neil Kirton, Martin Williams, Hinewai Ormsby (Ahuriri/Napier general constituency), Jock Mackintosh, Sophie Siers, Xan Harding (Heretaunga-Hastings general constituency), Charles Lambert (Māui ke te Raki Māori constituency), Hokianga Thompson (Māui ke te Tonga constituency), Di Roadley (Wairoa general constituency), Jerf van Beek (Ngaruroro general constituency), Will Foley (Tamatea-Central Hawke’s Bay general constituency).

The first ordinary meeting of the Council will be held on 16 November.

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