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Checking in with the Faces of our Future

In the three years since the Whai Rawa Future Directors’ programme was established, it has attracted highly talented and ambitious whānau who want to contribute to the future success of the hapū. Stacey Perillo and Te Arepa Morehu are currently making valuable contributions at the Board table and in return, learning about all aspects of governance.

We asked them to reflect on their journey so far.

Stacey Perillo


I had no idea what to expect coming into the Future Directors’ programme. I remember being slightly nervous sitting alongside respected business leaders as well as fluent speakers of Te Reo Māori, something I want to be able to do in my lifetime, and to be honest I still am sometimes.

I have learnt that we can’t take the assets we have for granted. We need to think about the future and what we are leaving for generations to come.

I have welcomed the opportunity to learn from, and about, the different people and entities that make up Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. I also enjoy being able to voice my opinions on important kaupapa such as Kāinga, Toi Tupu and Toi Ora.

For me, attending the week-long Institute of Directors Company Directors’ Course was a privilege. It has provided me with a strong framework to guide good governance practice. My view now is that one of the biggest governance challenges is to avoid complacency and always be thinking about what could be around the corner in every decision you make.

I think we are extremely lucky to have the likes of Sir Rob Fenwick, Michael Stiassny, Rob Hutchison and Andrew Crocker (CEO) sitting on the WRL board and helping to manage our asset base, alongside our whānau directors and employees.

Although these people may eventually move on, I believe their mana and haututanga will remain part of this organisation’s culture. This will continue to drive a very bright future for Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei from a commercial perspective.

From a people perspective, if history has taught us anything it is that we are stronger as a people together. I truly believe that the future success of our tribe relies on our ability to put aside self-interest and focus our efforts on strategies that generate the best possible outcomes for whānau.

My reasons for joining the Future Directors’ programme were to learn more about the inner workings of our hapū organisations and hopefully add value, rather than with thoughts of pursuing a governance career. However, I now feel sad that this experience will soon come to an end. I have really enjoyed the satisfaction that comes from working somewhere that you know will benefit your whānau and people you love.

Te Arepa Morehu


He whakamānawa tāku te noho i runga i te poari o Whai Rawa. It has been a great honour sitting on the Whai Rawa board. I have learnt many things to do with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei that I wasn’t privy to previously. It has given me some great insights into some of the big decisions that are made on behalf of the hapū.

A part of the Future Directors’ programme that I find really interesting is observing the dynamics of a Board, and the different perspectives of people working together for the better of the company. There are many opinions and ideas, but ultimately it is how you gain alignment together that will lead to an outcome or decision.

Having had no previous Board experience, one of the biggest challenges I faced was getting up to speed. Sitting in the first couple of Board meetings and seeing the depth of knowledge that everyone else had, especially around particular topics, and the networks they had gained over time was a bit intimidating. Now, after attending multiple Institute of Directors’ courses, I have a better understanding of some of the challenges faced in governance. I also have greater insights into Board best practice, which I can now utilise to contribute to the Board meetings.

In my view, one of the best decisions made by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, was to create opportunities such as the Future Director programme to build up the skill pool in the governance arena. Through my personal growth in the last year of being a future director, I have realised that governance is an area that I want to explore further.

Noho i te wharau o hāneanea

If you’re interested in learning more about our Future Directors programme, click here to find out more.