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Chief Experiences Officer To Step Down After 20 Years At The Helm

After 20 years leading the Poutama Trust, Richard Jones (Ngāti Maniapoto, Rangitāne ki Tamaki nui a Rua, Ngāti Whakaue & Ngāti Pikiao) will step down as Chief Experiences Officer in March 2021, as the Trust looks to the future.

Poutama Chair Brian Tunui has paid tribute to Mr Jones and his significant contribution to Māori business development.

“Richard has been the face of Poutama for almost 25 years, but more importantly he was the architect of our Trust’s whakapapa and he shaped the organisation. Over the years, Poutama has invested $28million in over 3,200 Maori businesses, and Richard has had an instrumental role in that.

“It’s not too much to say that he has been a trailblazer for Maori business development, and the Board is indebted to him for his mahi.

“Richard has unselfishly served Māoridom and Poutama client businesses, he has literally travelled the country many times over visiting whānau, marae, iwi asset holding companies, and Poutama client businesses. He’s laid the foundation that ensures our Trust and the people we work with will continue to benefit for years to come,” said Mr Tunui.

Poutama is an independent charitable trust that was established in 1988 to provide business development services to Māori, and to promote Māori economic development.

Mr Jones says leading collaboration among Māori enterprises primarily in the Food & Beverage sector with connections into the renewable energy and investment sectors has been one of his proudest achievements. The power of collaboration allows Māori to share experiences and ideas, and to work together across whānau, hapū and iwi boundaries.

“I’ve been humbled to be involved in Poutama and what we have been able to achieve alongside the amazing people we work with.

“My role has been a lot easier thanks to the freedom to operate and the support that I’ve had from the Poutama Board of Trustees over the years. That freedom has enabled us to do things a bit differently.

“I thank the Board, and our team, for all their support and I look forward to the future for Poutama,” said Mr Jones.

The Board will begin a recruitment process over the coming months. Mr Jones will stay with Poutama as an independent consultant from April until September 2021, to support a smooth transition to the new leadership.

Mr Tunui said the Board is focused on the future with succession planning being an important strategy for any Māori organisation.

“The opportunities and issues that Māori businesses and owners encounter today are quite different to those they faced 10 years ago. The current climate and circumstances are dictating where we need to go, so we will look to use this change as an opportunity to explore new pathways that will enable Poutama to prepare our clients for the future.

“While these are strange times and there is a lot of uncertainty, Māori businesses will continue to adapt and evolve. Poutama is committed to being there as they do,” said Mr Tunui.

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