Meet your new trustees
Bosun Huntley and Clinton Gapper took their seats at the trust table last month. We sat down for a quick chat.
What prompted you to put your name forward for the Trust?
I guess with Uncle Denis resigning, I thought now would be a good time to put my name forward. The old man [John] was a former trustee at one stage too and it just seemed like the right time. I grew up in Christchurch, kind of in the shadows and away from it all, and I’ve always wanted to get more involved. Moving up here was the perfect opportunity to do so.
So how long have you lived in Picton?
We (wife Nicola and tamariki Nikita and Lily) moved up here in October last year. We had bought in Picton a few years before and had been waiting for a job transfer to come up [Clinton works at KiwiRail]. Nothing did and then just as we were contemplating selling, I managed to get a transfer. We’re really happy here. Nikita is at Marlborough Girls’ College and Lily is intermediate age at QCC [Queen Charlotte College]. I spent a lot of time here as a kid, with Nana, who lived at the marae at Omaka. So, it’s been nice to connect again, but on a different level. Both my daughters have been involved in Mana Rangatahi and loved every minute. They’ve made new friends, met new family.
They come home and tell us all about it and can’t wait for the next one. They’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s been great for them to get to know who they are.
What do you see as the main roles of trustees?
Advocating for the people, and just trying to grow, doing our best to grow and keep things on track.
For me, I just want to do the best that I can do. I have no agenda other than to see the iwi flourish.
Tell us a little about yourself.
“I grew up in Picton, and when I was younger we were down the Sounds at a whaling station. I still live in Picton to this day, I just feel that this area is my turangawaewae, you know, this is where I am supposed to be. I’m the eldest of 12 siblings. I remember when I was 6, there were six of us, probably when I was 3 or 4 I was already helping wipe noses and helping Mum out. There’s a lot of us around. We don’t get together as much as we used to when we were kids – I guess we’ve all got our own big families now, we’ve all got grandkids.”
What brought you back to the Trust table?
I was on the Trust previously, but life and whānau took over when I had four of my grandkids come live with me. Three of them are in Auckland now, and Phoebe (mokopuna) is about to go to tourism school in Auckland, so I have time to be able to commit again. I really enjoy doing this sort of work.
Is there any particular area you want to focus on?
I’m very much for the people, especially the elderly. There are people still alive, even older than I am, who remember uncles and aunties, and they remember uncles and aunties who had wrongdoing done to them. I suppose you could say I want to be a strong kaumatua voice.
How have things changed in the time that you have been involved with the iwi, do you feel like we’re in a good space?
Yeah, definitely. Even in the three years or so that I’ve been away, it’s in a better state. You can just feel it. All of the rangatahi opportunities – yeah, it feels good.