John joined the project as a Director in 2021. Previously, he was the Chair of Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, a role he held for over 10 years.
Born and bred in Temuka, he left his papa kāinga to train as a carpenter in Christchurch through the Te Kaihanga Māori trade training programme. Returning home to Temuka one of his first builds was his family home where he still lives with whānau today.
Then came a career in a leather tannery, where he worked for 25 years. He then set up a Cleaning Services Company, which is still in operation.
Much of his time is spent working on behalf of the people of Arowhenua, Waihao and Moeraki. John believes passionately in looking after the whenua and awa and wants to re-establish traditional mahika kai rights to gather resources in Te Manahuna.
He says in the old days manawhenua knew where resources were, but as the environment changed so did their way of life. John sees the project as a way in which the rangatahi can be part of this landscape again and he is keen to enhance manawhenua’s footprint in Te Manahuna.
John has many other roles including as the Ngāi Tahu Representative for Central South Island Fish and Game, the Chair of Mataitai Arowhenua Committee, a Cultural Consultant with AEC Ltd, and a representative on the Opuha Flow Release Advisory Group.