Dane Grey, an astute property professional raised in Orākei has joined Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa board, the commercial arm of the central Tāmaki tangata whenua, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
It’s a full circle moment for Grey, who previously took part in Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s Future Director Programme from 2015 to 2017. Delivered over two years, the programme provides a robust succession plan for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei leadership, inviting whānau under 35 to attend and participate in all Whai Rawa board meetings.
Grey is a prime example of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei investing in its people. With a passion for his iwi and the drive to enhance commercial outcomes, Grey brings that inherent balance to the mahi that Whai Rawa is tasked with.
Following a degree in commerce at University of Otago, Grey’s professional career kicked off in the agriculture and horticulture industry both here in Aotearoa and overseas for organisations such as Silver Fern Farms and T&G Global. More recently he has held various senior property development roles, for Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities. He is most looking forward to bringing his property experience to the board and ensuring whānau perspectives are front and centre.
Being part of the success of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Grey says, has always been a driver for him - dating as far back as his high school days.
“The Future Director programme gave me that extra drive to say, ‘this is a space where I’d really like to be able to add value in the long term.’ It gave me a strong hunger to want to go away and develop the necessary skills and experience to return to the Whai Rawa,” Grey says.
One project he is particularly looking forward to seeing come to fruition is Hawaiki, a new development in Orākei consisting of 24 one, two and four-bedroom terraced homes. Nestled near the corner of Hawaiki Street and Kupe Street, the development is an opportunity to assist Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei whanau into home ownership.
Prior to joining the board, last year Grey attended Te Wānanga Takiura, a full immersion te reo Māori course which also focuses on tikanga Māori; Māori customary practices and behaviours.
“It helped me open the doors a bit wider to ao Māori and allowed me to add to my kete mātauranga.
“Bringing truly Māori perspectives is really important, not just for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa but also for other board tables within Aotearoa.”
Grey says that one of the key takeaways during his time as a Future Director, and something he’ll be bringing to Whai Rawa, was the art of framing questions around the board table.
“I had the privilege of working alongside some incredibly experienced directors such as Sir Rob Fenwick, Rangimārie Hunia and Michael Stiassny. They were able to provide me with some of those commercial perspectives that were especially important not only for moving into other governance roles, but as part of my career progression too.”
One of the current challenges for Whai Rawa, Grey says, is the higher interest rate environment and the impact that has had on the property market in general. However, Whai Rawa are well placed to be able to undertake the projects that build on its asset base while also bringing whānau along on the journey.
“Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is a strong iwi and a strong brand, and our position as tangata whenua who have maintained ahi kā within Tāmaki Makaurau puts us in a unique place in terms of undertaking opportunities with other key players.
“We do a lot of mahi, and there’s a lot of opportunity for whānau to be involved in some of that mahi. It’s all about working together to ensure that what we’re doing today is setting up current and future generations to thrive and be successful on our own terms.”