Trustees & Management

Ratahi Cross

Ratahi Cross has been a trustee since 2007. He has a background in natural science specialising in native flora and fauna. He holds a science qualification and lectured in Māori history for several tribes in his role at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.

Ratahi is the Chairman of several trust boards throughout the eastern areas of the North Island. He is currently the Chairperson of our Ngai Tukairangi Trust, the largest Maori kiwifruit grower in New Zealand. Ratahi is also Chair of Te Awanui Hukapak Ltd, and he is a Director on Seeka Ltd a public listed company. He is also part of the Business Board for the Federation of Māori Authorities.

He is really proud to acknowledge that our Trust is the largest Māori shareholder in Zespri and Te Awanui Huka Pak.

Riri Ellis
Deputy Chairperson

Riri Ellis has been a trustee since 2001. She is a professional director and brings a foundation in management studies and strategic management to her role as a trustee. She holds a IOD Certificate in Corporate Governance and was part of the first Maori intake to the Stanford University Bootcamp in 2013. She has also spent time in Jakar-ta and Washington DC improving her management skills and abilities from 2016 to 2018.

Riri previously held the role as Treaty Settlements Manager at Ngai Te Rangi, before becoming the General Manager for Tukairangi Investments Ltd. She is currently the Mataatua Delegate for the Federation of Maori Authorities, and a director for Miro Ltd, the Tauranga Moana Miro LP and the Matakana Berry LP. She is a board member for Toi Kai Rawa Trust, the Bay Connections Leadership Group and she is a foundation member of the Australian-New Zealand Indigenous Women’s Business Network. Riri continues to be excited about the future for our Trust. She sees our next generation as the leaders of our future and foresees a time when our management and governance approaches will be more integrative of younger fresher thinkers amongst our whānau leading the way.

Helen Te Kani

Helen was elected as a trustee in 2014. She brings a wealth of experience in tertiary education, community advancement and development. In her previous role as the Manager of Waipu Hauora, she became passionate about community development, people, whanau and ensuring that fairness and equity transpires to those most in need. She has strong leadership and communication skills which continue to develop every day in her role as a trustee.

Helen leads the Grants Committee as the Chairperson; she is a member of the Finance Committee and also the Operations Committee. Helen is a director of the Tauranga Moana Miro GP, trustee of the Hungahungatoroa 1B2B2 Trust and executive committee member of Hungahungatoroa Marae Inc. This year Helen will complete the New Zealand Diploma in Business Management and spend the next year studying accounting and financial management as she progresses towards completing a Bachelor qualification in business. She is a member of the Institute of Directors.

Neil Te Kani

Neil Te Kani has been a trustee since 2003. Neil has a wealth of kiwifruit industry experience and takes his role as trustee very seriously. He is a trustee on several other boards, including Ranginui 12, Tukairangi Investments Ltd, and Orea Trust. He previously served as a delegate for the New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers and the Māori Kiwifruit Growers.

He is currently employed by Eastpack Ltd to advance closer working relationships with Māori kiwifruit growers throughout the industry, and prior to that, was the Executive Director of Te Awanui Hukapak Ltd. Neil has also led several Māori export delegations with Zespri International Ltd to European and Asian countries.

Ngawa Hall

Ngawa Hall has been a trustee since 2003. During that time, she has served on various sub-committees including operations, education grants, finance and currently oversees the International Investment sub-committee. She brings experience in policy and program development, strategy and planning, brokerage, facilitation, and financial project management. She is also involved in hapū matters for both Ngai Tukairangi and Pirirakau Hapū, as well as being an active participant with Whareroa and Tutereinga Marae.

Ngawa has over twenty years’ experience working in the public sector. She is the Principal Advisor for Te Puni Kōkiri and is currently on secondment working with the Provincial Growth Unit of Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry for Housing and Urban Development and Kainga Ora with a focus on initiatives that support whānau, hapū, Iwi and Māori in the areas of housing, employment, whenua, and marae development. She has led a number of initiatives over the years, including the Maori housing network, Treaty settlements, legislative reviews, and other important matters of interest to Maori. Ngawa was also very involved in the legislation to assist with the transfer of the Mauao historical reserve to Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui, and Ngati Pukenga.

Joshua Gear

Joshua was elected to the Trust in 2013.  Joshua is a Director of the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective (TMIC) Leasing Company Limited which manages the Office of Treaty Settlement Crown properties that will eventually form part of treaty settlement redress for the three iwi of Tauranga Moana. The income from those properties is distributed to iwi to assist them with the costs involved in treaty negotiations with the Crown.   

Joshua is a Barrister and Solicitor and has practiced professionally since 2008, first in Auckland, then for Sharp Tudhope Lawyers, and also Koning Webster Lawyers in Tauranga. He is now legal counsel at Ngai Te Rangi iwi. Joshua practices in resource management, local government, Te Tiriti, Māori Land, and Trust law.  Joshua was brought up in Matapihi and has whakapapa connections to the marae of Waikari, Whareroa, and Hungahungatoroa.  

James Lambert

James was elected as a trustee in 2019. He is currently Operations Manager for a family-owned packaging company in Auckland. He brings managerial and operational experience from various roles in the retail sector to his current trustee position.

James has completed a course in trustee training through the Maori Land Court. He looks forward to increasing his knowledge on governance within the Trust and hopes to continue the great foundational work already laid out by previous trustees. James is proud of the continued economic and cultural success of our Trust. He is also eager to be part of the next stage of prosperity. He is currently a member of the Finance Committee.

General Manager

Colin is the General Manager of the Ngai Tukairangi Trust and has managed the Tauranga based operation for thirty-five years and grown the business to be one of the leading orchards in the kiwifruit industry. During Colin’s leadership orchard operations have expanded to 118 canopy hectares over two geographical locations, Tauranga and Te Puke; and the Hawkes Bay. He has formal horticultural qualifications and has worked as a horticultural advisor in the Tauranga office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries before working for our Trust. Colin’s background in horticulture was fostered when his parents were market gardeners and through working on a large strawberry growing operation in Auckland.

Colin is responsible for leading the senior management team and is driven operationally to be an industry leader by consistently achieving orchard gate returns in the top twenty percent of the industry. In addition, Colin is focused on being a ‘best employer’, using new technology, and being more sustainable. His main role now is to lead and support his managers and see these high-level goals achieved. Colin is also a representative on the Seeka Growers Council and has held many grower related positions throughout his career.

Regional Orchard Manager - Hawkes Bay

Richard is responsible for managing all orchard investments in the Hawkes Bay region. He has extensive experience in horticulture and the kiwifruit sector including orchard management, delivery of consultancy services, and development of industry extension programmes.  

His key responsibilities include leadership and management of staff, management of operating budgets, development of operating systems, improving productivity, and measuring performance. Richard has strong communication skills, an analytical approach to problem-solving, and a genuine passion for continuous improvement.   

Richard is striving to achieve sustainable, on-going improvement in orchard productivity and fruit quality that delivers industry-leading orchard-gate returns. He believes that every employee should have the opportunity to further develop themselves and enjoy coming to work each day.   

Regional Orchard Manager - Bay of Plenty

Andrew joined our Trust in October 2017 as the Regional Orchard Manager for our Bay of Plenty operations. He has worked in the kiwifruit industry since 1982 and moved to the Bay of Plenty from Tarana­ki, where he took on a role as an orchard cadet in Te Puke. Since then he has held various positions within the industry including contracting and post-harvest facility management.

Andrew also has vast industry knowledge and experience within the organic sector, and has owned and leased orchards in the Bay of Plenty growing kiwifruit, avocados and tamarillos. Over the past three seasons, Andrew has focussed on lifting orchard gate returns, improving relationships with contractors, and developing strategies for securing reliable labour to drive the orchard forward. Andrew has also spearheaded the inaugural RSE programme with Nuku Village in Fiji for the Trust.

Andrew is pleased with the progress made during his time at the Ngai Tukairangi Trust orchard. He understands there are still many opportunities to advance the orchard and staff to greater heights and achievements.

Administrator and Trust Secretary

Reina Dickson is the Trust Secretary and Office Administration Manager and has been with the Trust since 2010. On a daily basis, she manages the operations of the Trust for both of the main orchards at Matapihi and in the Hawkes Bay. She is also responsible for ensuring all administration and office systems are well run and intact, including the implementation of new software technology.

Reina strives to ensure our shareholders are well informed of processes involving annual general meetings, and shareholder benefits such as educational grants. She is currently the Treasurer for Hungahungatoroa Marae and previously before coming to the Trust, she worked for the Tauranga City Council as the GIS Analyst/ Programmer.