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Interim CEO appointed to lead Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Justin Tipa has announced Chief Operating Officer Ben Bateman (Ngāi Tahu, Cook Island Māori) has been appointed Interim Kaihautū (CEO).

The appointment follows outgoing CEO Arihia Bennett stepping down from the role after 12 years of service.

Kaiwhakahaere Justin Tipa says Ben Bateman is the right person to lead Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu until a permanent CEO is recruited later this year.

“Ben is an experienced executive leader with extensive connections across Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tahu Holdings, and has strong relationships with our Papatipu Rūnanga. He has the full confidence of the Board.”

Since 2022, Ben has held the role of Chief Operating Officer and has been second in charge to outgoing CEO Arihia Bennett. He is the former Chief Operating Officer of Oha Honey. He also previously held positions as Director of Ngāi Tahu Seafood, and Associate Director of both Ngāi Tahu Property and Ngāi Tahu Seafood. “Ben is a successful graduate of our Manawa Nui Ngāi Tahu Group Associate Director programme and has served Ngāi Tahu in governance and executive leadership roles across both Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation for over a decade,” says Justin Tipa.

Outside Ngāi Tahu, Ben has enjoyed a successful career with senior roles within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Chief of Staff, National Security Group) and the New Zealand Defense Force (Deputy Director, Intelligence and Operations Law). While serving in the New Zealand Army, Ben was a Commissioned Officer retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Ben is an experienced professional director and practicing lawyer and is a current Advisory Panel Member for the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, a Future Director on the Meridian Energy Board, and a Risk and Assurance Board Director for the Ministry of Education.

“As Ben steps into this interim role, I would also like to acknowledge our outgoing CEO Arihia Bennett for her dedicated service to our iwi over many years.”

With Ben now appointed, Te Rūnanga will prepare to recruit a permanent CEO over the coming year.

“Te Rūnanga will take a considered approach to ensure the successful applicant has the right skills and experience to lead the Office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in supporting the next phase of our tribal evolution,” says Justin Tipa.


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