Kia ora e te whānau,
I’m writing to you from our new head office based out of Te Tōangaroa, in the AECOM House building (one of our Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei owned assets). Our Whai Rawa team and the Trust team only moved in recently, but I’m already loving the new location and the integration between teams it’s providing.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a three-week break over the summer, during which I spent time in Waiheke, Hahei, and of course Tāmaki Makaurau. Despite the bad weather (and that’s putting it lightly) we experienced in the North Island, my holidays were filled with whānau and friends. Spending Christmas holidays in a caravan in Ōhope was how I grew up. These were times that gave me some of my fondest childhood memories – so we’ve replicated that in my immediate whānau with stays in Hahei. I have four tamariki, three adults and one teenager, who are harder to wrangle these days, but we all make an effort to be together for at least a few consecutive days over summer. If you’ve ever been to Hahei, I’m sure you’ll understand why it’s not a hard sell to get them there!
For me, the Christmas break always starts with recovery from the prior year. 2022 was a busy and sometimes worrying year - Covid-19 was a constant in our lives, we faced (and continue to face) economic uncertainty, and we watched on as Russia invaded Ukraine and international tensions grew. Everyone feels these things differently, but for me, the break was an excellent opportunity to “decompress”…which mainly involves a bit of exercise, reading and sleep!
Inevitably, once I catch up on sleep, I reflect on the prior year, and make some personal and work-related goals for the upcoming year. Embedding short, but more frequent, breaks into my work year is something I’ll be working on this year, following a 2022 where I didn’t take enough.
I’ve also started a discussion with one of our Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei kai tā (tattoo artists) about the possibility of getting a kirituhi this year (Māori tattoo for non-Māori). I’ve shared the story I’d like my kirituhi to be based around with Graham Tipene, and am excited to see where it goes now.
My 2023 goals for Whai Rawa are focused on a few specific undertakings. Lisa Davis (Trust CEO), and myself are now working in the same building, and there’s plenty of space for Tom Irvine (Whai Maia CEO) to dock in. I’m looking forward to working together more closely as a team and building these relationships between the different arms of Ngāti Whātua Orākei, so we can best support one another.
The whānau housing on Hawaiki Street will be a big focus for 2023, as will the commercial opportunities that Te Tōangaroa continues to present. We are expecting Oneoneroa’s second stage to sell well and will be considering other development opportunities.
The economic outlook for everyone - whether you’re Aotearoa-based or not - is uncertain at the moment, but I’m approaching the year with the view that we need to be cautiously positive. Intelligent, strategic past decisions mean that we’re in a strong position. We need to look after this position but take good opportunities when they are presented.
I’m feeling refreshed and excited for the year ahead, and I hope you are too. Although I’m back in the office, I’ll be firing up the BBQ for as long as I can to make the most of our late-blooming summer months!
Noho ora mai,