Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa appoints Tūwhakairiora O’Brien as new Board Chair

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa appoints Tūwhakairiora O’Brien as new Board Chair

It was a changing of the guard at Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (TRONA) on Friday (Friday 17, 2023) with the appointment of Tūwhakairiora O’Brien as Chair and Manurere Glen as Deputy Chair.

Mr O’Brien is currently the representative for the Ngāti Awa hapū Te Pahipoto on the TRONA board, and he was also elected to the Whakatāne District Council at the last election.

Ms Glen represents the Ngāi Te Rangihouhiri II hapū on the board and is a ECE Service Manager at Te Tohu Ora o Ngāti Awa.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chief Executive Reuben Araroa said the election of the Chairman and Deputy Chair demonstrated the tribe’s leadership succession plan in action with Mr O’Brien having already served six years as Deputy Chair and nine as a board member and Ms Glen already serving 12 years on the Board and sub committees to become the first female to take a leadership position for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa.

“Succession is one of the greatest challenges organisations will face so I am proud to see the growth in leadership capability within the Rūnanga,” said Mr Araroa.

“With the election, the duo now joins a legacy of leadership and service, following in the footsteps of Te Hau Paul, Tā Hirini Moko Mead, Dr Te Kei Merito, Dr Hohepa Mason and Joe Harawira, with Pouroto Ngaropo who has served as Deputy Chairman. We acknowledge their contributions and remember those leaders who are no longer with us who left an enduring legacy of inspiration that will help guide our Rūnanga into the future.

“I want to also acknowledge the outgoing Chair Joe Harawira who led Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa during some of the most challenging years our iwi and Aotearoa has faced. He was an exceptional leader who has the ability to make people of all walks of life feel secure in times of doubt and uncertainty. We wish Joe well and we are confident he will continue to carry the mana of Ngāti Awa within his new endeavors.

The two leaders join Dr Jim Mather, who was elected as the new chairman to the tribe’s financial arm, Ngāti Awa Group Holdings, at meeting last year.

Newly appointed Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Board Chair Tūwhakairiora O’Brien and Deputy Chair Manurere Glen

Marae Evacuation Points – Cyclone Gabrielle

Kia ora e te whānau,

Several marae are now open as Emergency Evacuation Centres.

The following marae are available for all whānau who must, or choose to evacuate, and do not have family or friends to go to:

Te Pāhou Marae (Rangataua), PoroporoRapata Kopae – 021 140 1115
Pupuaruhe Marae (Toroa), WhakatāneTe Ua Chapman
Ruaihona Marae, Te TekoBoyce Kingi – 027 202 9981

Kia haumaru te noho !

State of Local Emergency Declared – Cyclone Gabrielle

State of Local Emergency Declared – Weather Event Update

Tēnā koutou,

Please see below weather update issued by Whakatāne District Council in regards to the current weather events:

At 3pm today, Acting Mayor Lesley Immink declared a local state of emergency for the Whakatāne District.  The declaration provides additional Emergency Management powers to the local Controller and enables the Emergency Operations response to call on support from outside the district if required.

Emergency Management powers allow the Controller to call for mandatory evacuation of specified areas, with the help of Police.

The mandatory evacuation order applies to:

  • all homes in West End Ōhope, up to and including Beach Point Apartment complex
  • Approx. 9 homes identified on Harbour Road, Port Ōhope that are particularly low-lying
  • These residents will be contacted directly and ultimately door-knocked by Police if other methods of contacts have not been successful.

The strong recommendation to consider self-evacuation continues for all other parts of Ōhope and Port Ōhope that are exposed to storm surge.

A dedicated Emergency Evacuation Centre has been set up at Whakatāne War Memorial Hall and opened at 12noon today for those who must, or choose to evacuate, and do not have family or friends to go to.

A cone road block will be in place to West End and managed by Police from late afternoon.  Those who must evacuate from West End (and the nine homes on Harbour Road) will have until 7pm to leave.  The mandatory evacuation will be in place until 3pm Tuesday.  Re-entry will be reassessed tomorrow after high tide at 1.35pm. Police will maintain the cordon at West End overnight and carry out reassurance patrols around the pocket of homes on Harbour Road.

Ōpōtiki District declared a State of Emergency earlier this morning, primarily to have the power to evacuate some areas of the Coast.

Bay of Plenty Floodroom update:

Anticipated warnings for major rivers remain the same as previously reported.  The major concern remains coastal storm surge intensified by the very low pressure system.

Whakatāne River anticipated to reach first and second warning levels Tuesday afternoon/Wednesday morning.

Rangitāiki River – potential for controlled spilling from Matahina Dam Tuesday morning/afternoon.

The next Floodroom situation report is due at 12.30pm tomorrow (14 February).

The EOC is operating 12 hour shifts, with smaller team on duty from 8pm to 8am to respond to anything that may arise. We can anticipate slips and roading impacts with the rain and winds forecast.

Our public information continues to be updated on Facebook and our Council webpage.

Current MetService Forecast:

Heavy Rain Warning for Bay Of Plenty, Rotorua – Orange

Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.

Issued: 10:15am Monday, 13th February 2023 Area: Bay of Plenty west of Whakatane Valid: 10:00am Monday to 6:00am Tuesday Expect 100 to 180 mm of rain to accumulate. Peak rates of 10 to 15 mm/h, but 20 to 30 mm/h possible this afternoon and evening.

Strong Wind Warning for Bay Of Plenty, Rotorua – Orange

Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

Issued: 10:15am Monday, 13th February 2023 Area: Waikato, Waitomo, Taumarunui, Taupo, Taihape, Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne Valid: 10:00am Monday to 9:00am Tuesday Southeast winds, severe gale gusting 120 km/h to 130 km/h in exposed places.

Heavy Rain Watch for Bay Of Plenty

Issued: 10:15am Monday, 13th February 2023 Area: Bay of Plenty from Whakatane eastwards and eastern ranges of Taupo Valid: 10:00am Monday to 6:00am Tuesday Periods of heavy easterly rain. Rainfall accumulations may approach warning criteria.

Office Closure – Cyclone Gabrielle

Tēnā koutou,

As advised, our offices will be closed Monday 13th February and Tuesday 14th February due to the unknown impact that Cyclone Gabrielle may cause.

Below are some tips provided by the Civil Defence on how to prepare for Cyclone Gabrielle, or visit their website https://www.civildefence.govt.nz:


• Plan and rehearse an emergency escape plan to get to safer ground.

• Have arrangements in place in case you have to evacuate your pets or livestock.

• Have a plan in place to check on vulnerable neighbours.


• Prepare your property for flooding – check that drains are clear, put sandbags down in relevant areas, secure trampolines and outdoor furniture and make sure your car is on higher ground.

• Medical Emergency Kit: Get an easy-to-carry emergency kit together with essentials you might need in case of an emergency. Keep the kit close to your exit points.

• Emergency Supplies: Gather emergency supplies you might need in case you don’t have access to fresh drinking water or food.

Stay in the know

• Check your local Civil defence groups for the latest updates.

• Keep an eye on the news.

• Check Met Service for weather updates and warnings.

Take care and stay safe whānau.