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Waikato River Authority Welcomes New Kaihautū CEO, Antoine Coffin

The Waikato River Authority is pleased to announce the appointment of Antoine Coffin as its new Kaihautū and Chief Executive Officer.

This decision comes after an extensive nationwide search to find a visionary leader dedicated to restoring and protecting the health and well-being of the Waikato and Waipā Rivers.

Waikato River Authority Co-Chairs Tipa Mahuta and Stu Kneebone shared the news during a special meeting with WRA staff held today. They expressed their enthusiasm about Mr Coffin’s appointment.

“Antoine's appointment is pivotal for our continued efforts to rehabilitate the Waikato and Waipā Rivers," they said. “With over 25 years of experience in Māori resource management, Treaty settlements, cultural heritage, and community engagement, his expertise will be invaluable.”

Mr Coffin, affiliated with Raukawa, Ngāti Apakura, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, and Ngāpuhi, brings a robust portfolio of leadership in Treaty settlements for his iwi. His past roles include Chair of Ngāti Ranginui and head of various post-settlement governance entities, encompassing fisheries, aquaculture, and historic land settlements. He is a qualified RMA Commissioner and a Crown appointed Freshwater Commissioner.

Mr Coffin was humbled to be appointed to the leadership role.

“I am excited about this unique opportunity to work with river iwi and other stakeholders to rehabilitate our ancestral rivers - awa tūpuna. I look forward to integrating my strategic vision, passion for meaningful relationships, and deep commitment to building a new generation of river kaitiaki (guardians).”

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Mr Coffin will officially assume his position as Kaihautū of the WRA on 18 July, 2024.

The WRA Co-Chairs said the appointment of the new Kaihautū builds upon the momentum created by the inaugural CE Bob Penter. Mr Penter led the WRA from 2010 and during his tenure helped establish the WRA as the gold standard organisation for freshwater restoration across Aotearoa New Zealand. The new CE Antoine Coffin will be tasked with building on the foundations created by Mr Penter (who left the WRA to further his career in his hometown of Ōtautahi Christchurch). Mr Penter’s contribution to restoring the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River catchment is one he can be proud of, and he retains our appreciation and best wishes.

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