NauMai September 2021
Family commitments in Australia during this challenging time of Covid-19 have brought about the difficult decision for Dr Areti Metuamate to resign prematurely from his role as the inaugural chief executive of Te Kupenga – Catholic Leadership Institute (TKP).
Dr Metuamate concluded his role last month after 18 months of an initial two-year contract. Areti has relocated to Brisbane where his wife, Dr Jessa Rogers, and her family are from.
Areti said he weighed up what more he could do for TKP against the needs of his family during this challenging time of Covid.
‘However, my family is my number one priority,’ he said. ‘My wife is Aboriginal Australian. We have a blended family across Australia and New Zealand. Our son Iluka Kotare was born in New Zealand last year during lockdown and Covid has had a huge impact on us being able to see family on both sides of the Tasman.’
Looking back on his 18 months as CEO Dr Metuamate said ‘the biggest challenge has been to encourage some people on a new journey as many of our staff had been used to doing things a certain way for years. Another challenge was to ensure TKP’s viability when Covid-19 hit. We had a significant drop in student numbers, which impacted on our revenue. But we were fortunate to have a good financial team and the generous support of our Bishops.’
Dr Metuamate has worked with the TKP Board this year to develop a strategic plan for the organisation. ‘A focus is to ensure Māori, Pasifika, and women have more of a voice in TKP – and, indeed across the Church,’ he says.
Dr Metuamate will continue to support TKP and the Bishops with a number of projects until the end of this year. One of these projects is writing a book profiling key Māori Catholic leaders over the past two centuries of Catholicism in Aotearoa New Zealand. The book is scheduled to be launched in 2022.
Te Kupenga Board Chairman John Gallaher said the Board was very grateful to Areti ‘for taking on the leadership korowai, through a time of great transition and for bringing together the parts of the new whole that is Te Kupenga. We recognise him as a person of faith, integrity, fairness and compassion, who was able to work respectfully and well with others to ensure students and the organisation’s diverse communities of interest were served, and the mission of the Church in Aotearoa New Zealand duly enhanced.
‘We recognise Te Kupenga as stronger for Areti’s time as a key leader and navigator among us, even though it has been short.’
Areti said he has loved working for the Bishops and the TKP Board. ‘It has been a privilege to be the first CEO and it has been a full-on and interesting journey. I’m confident TKP is heading in the right direction.’
Areti’s and Jessa’s home in New Zealand is in Ōtaki. Areti says he will continue to be active with his Iwi – Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Kauwhata – and will retain a number of board commitments in New Zealand.
Dr John Kleinsman is acting chief executive until the Board appoints a successor, which is expected by the end of this year.