Our Wellington

News | 1 March 2021

Building tikanga Māori in our Council

As the new Head of Māori Strategic Relationships at Wellington City Council, Karepa Wall is motivated to build a team of empowered staff who help to create a city where our tamariki prosper.

Karepa Wall in a bright red shirt with a smart check suit, pictured from the chest up, standing in front of a tree and a field.

In this newly created position, Karepa is tasked with improving the Council’s capability to build strong and enduring relationships with mana whenua and Māori, along with a talented team of advisors. However, he also sees his role as instilling knowledge into staff, so everyone feels confident incorporating tikanga Māori in their work.

“I’ve been brought up with an innate feeling to empower and motivate other people so that together, tomorrow is amazing,” Karepa says with enthusiasm.

“This isn’t about me creating a relationship with mana whenua or iwi and having the Council elsewhere; it’s about instilling that thinking and capability into our organisation,” he explains.

Previously the Senior Manager – Te Reo Māori at the Ministry of Education, Karepa says the opportunity to have an impact on those who are thinking about the long-term future of Wellington is what attracted him to make the move to Council.

“I wanted to bring that indigenous knowledge base and influence how we move forward as a Council, as a city and as the capital,” Karepa says.

As a father, Karepa is also focused on how the Council’s mahi will impact future generations. He says he is regularly questioning how our tamariki will prosper from the decisions being made today.

“My personal drive is about making today better for our people who are going to be here tomorrow. A wise kaumātua reminded me recently that life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do, but because of the people we meet,” he says.

Karepa Wall, in a pink shirt and a smart blue suit, wearing his ponamu, and smiling, pictured from the chest up in front of the engraved side of a marae.

“We have 1,800 passionate and dedicated people here at Council because we know that every piece of work we do has an impact on the people of Wellington.”

It is clear Karepa is passionate about our city. And when asked what he loves most about Wellington, he says, “I love how you can go literally from skyscraper building, to ocean, to the middle of the bush, in less than five minutes. Everything’s right here.

"We’re so lucky to live in a culture-rich city where we have access to all of this – and an audacious goal to be the world’s first Te Reo Māori Capital City.”