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.