Dr Charlotte Severne has been appointed as new Māori Trustee.
She is the first woman to lead Te Tumu Paeroa which manages over 90,000 hectares of Māori land on behalf of nearly 100,000 land owners.
Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Tūhoe's Dr Severne will lead the organisation for the next three years. She replaces Jamie Tuuta as Māori Trustee.
Severne says, "It's really important that you have actually affected change and that you have actually gone through a path within the Māori development sense to ensure that you actually know what you're dealing with."
Severne holds a PhD in geology. She has been the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori and Pasifika at Massey University since 2016 and is the former chief scientist for oceans and Māori development at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
In 2016, Serverne was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and science.
"I've enjoyed the science and innovation sector. It's given me a number of skills which have applied in the development of business but Māori development is definitely my happy place."
The Māori Trustee's responsibilities include managing the adverse effects of fragmented and multiple ownership of Māori land and acting as an agent for owners. Te Tumu Paeroa supports over 230,000 ownership interests.
Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta says, “I believe she is the right person to lead Te Tumu Paeroa and continue its work to protect and enhance Māori Trusts and the aspirations they have for their land.”
Severne says, "I think the organisation has to be very clear about what its role is and supporting land owners is key to the business. But, there's a number of mechanisms that the Māori Trustees use in order to help Māori landowners realise their aspirations and I think there needs to be some real consolidation of those both.”
Severne will be beginning her new role later this year.