Our People

 Te Kapa o Ngā Roto Moana – The TALT Team

Ngā Pou Whakahaere


Chief Executive

Karen Vercoe

Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Mākino

Karen’s experience extends across multiple sectors with a focus on capability development and outcomes frameworks. Karen has held various leadership roles and has a passion for business and governance.

Karen has previously served as an elected member on the Sport Industry Training Organisation Māori Board and the OSCAR Foundation.

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Karen was the recipient of the 2016 Dame Mira Szászy Māori Alumni Award. Recipients are graduates of the University of Auckland Business School who have achieved significant success in their careers and are involved in activities relating to the advancement of Māori. Karen holds a Master of Management degree from the University of Auckland (2007) and was a recipient of the University of Auckland Kelly Research Scholarship (2006).

Karen is currently the elected chairperson of Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa and sits on the Iwi Chairs Forum Māori Sport and Iwi leaders groups.

Karen is a former New Zealand double international sportswoman in Rugby and Touch.

She is also the mokopuna of Major Te Reiwhati Vercoe who was a previous Chairman of Te Arawa Trust Board.

Karen is the proud mum of Hinemihi and Kahuao.

Te Papa Ahurewa Manager

Te Rangimārie Williams

Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhoe, Ngāti Hauiti, Taranaki

Te Rangimārie has an extensive background advocating for iwi and hapū in the taiao space, including as an environmental lawyer and more recently in the policy, planning and consents space.

Te Rangimārie was raised in Tauranga moana and has whakapapa connections throughout the Bay of Plenty. Rotorua is home and where Te Rangimārie’s grandparents Tangiauriki McGarvey (nee Webber) and Piki McGarvey raised their whānau.

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Te Rangimārie recognises the need to advocate for Māori at both a local and national level to ensure whānau, hapū and iwi values are reflected in environmental decision-making. She has a wide range of experience in both realms, including as the head of an iwi environmental arm and as Lead Technical Advisor to the Kāhui Wai Māori.

Te Rangimārie joined Te Arawa Lakes Trust in mid-2021 to lead Te Papa Ahurewa, the new Te Arawa environmental services hub, working with hapū and iwi to help them understand and respond to environmental kaupapa, including assessing resource consent applications and providing engagement and policy advice.

Te Rangimārie is married to Ross Taurima (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine, Rakaipaaka) and they have three tamariki, Te Amo, Charlie and Kāwharu.

Relationships Manager

Taparoto Te Rerehau Nicholson Dip Wh, Dip Alt, Bed

Tainui, Te Arawa, Mataatua Aotea me Takitimu

Taparoto was educated at Te Aute College in the Hawkes Bay and then graduated Pokairua, Te Wānanga Whakairo Rākau o Aotearoa, Rotorua. Taparoto was retained by the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in various roles including Pou Ako, Pou Tikanga and Pou Tuarā alongside the Senior Management Team. After a period of planned self-employment in 2003 after 25-years at NZMACI, he returned to Te Puia in 2010 as GM Operations.

Married to his wife of 40 years, Nuki Margaret nee Royal, they have one child, Ngaone Chantal who, with her husband, have two children, the centre of their universe when it comes to whānau.

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With over 30 years experience in the Cultural Heritage, Education and Tourism sectors, Taparoto has been involved in numerous projects advising Marae, PTIs, CRIs, companies, local government and other govt agencies in areas of organisational development including staff development, cultural supervision, education and tourism. These included the development of education and training programmes for Te Wānanga o Raukawa and Aotearoa.

Taparoto’s governance experience includes membership on various boards, including current roles on Te Runanga o Ngai Te Rangi Trust, Ngai Te Rangi Settlements Trust, New Zealand Geothermal Association, Geothermal Nuclear Science Governance Boards.

Taparoto joined Te Arawa Lakes Trust in May 2021, bringing extensive cultural and relationships experience to the new role.

Environmental Manager

Nicola (Nicki) Douglas

Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Rangiwewehi

Nicki has worked in the Conservation and Environment sector for 21 years, with Operational and Strategic Leadership roles in DOC and with hapū and iwi. Nicki arrived at TALT in 2017 and has participated in leadership, development, and implementation of environmental initiatives focused on the health and wellbeing of our 14 Lakes and their associated waterways. Nicki also convenes Te Urunga o Kea – Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group and was involved in the development of a strategy for Te Arawa in response to climate change Te Ara ki Kōpū

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Nicki has also worked on national policy and reform with the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and sits on the National Wallaby Programme Governance Group and is currently undertaking a Masters in Māori and Indigenous Leadership (University of Canterbury).

Nicki is married to Eric Short (Ngāti Porou, Cook Islands) and they have four children, Rawiri (28), Manahi (21) Hinetaapora (19) and Pokaihau (18).

Ngā Taratī


Te Kawatapuārangi Trustee

Tamihana (Toby) Curtis


Dr Sir Toby has served on Te Arawa Lakes Trust since 2006 and recently stepped down from his role as Chairman after 16 years. He is widely acknowledged for his innovative achievements and education.

His cumulative expertise in Māori, polytechnic and university fields was achieved through his various roles as principal, lecturer, researcher, administrator and ultimately, as a senior academic in tertiary education.

Dr Sir Toby is the inaugural Chairperson for Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

Interim Chairman
Te Ure o Uenukukōpako Trustee

Geoff Rolleston

Geoff is Te Arawa Lakes Trust’s interim Chairman until the Board confirms a new appointment. Mr Rolleston has served on Te Arawa Lakes Trust since 2015 and brings strong commercial and management experience to the table.

Having spent most of his working career in private enterprise associated with the timber and agri-business industries, he has accumulated invaluable experience in sales, marketing, negotiation, and  dispute resolution.

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With reference to the business of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, he offers networks to help create a more vibrant and commercial existence for our iwi, over and above just being recognised as kaitiaki and administrators for our taonga.

Geoff is keen to support the current vision and strategy to drive the organisation to a whole new level in terms of its financial and operational objectives.

Tūhourangi Trustee

Nuki Nicholson

Ko Mere raua ko Bill Royal ōku Matua.

Married to Taparoto, we are blessed with our daughter Chantal and mokopuna Reagan and Ebony.

My strengths are integrity and humility. I have a strong passion to contribute to the economic, environmental, educational, social, cultural growth and development of our hapū and iwi.

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I am the current Chair of Te Arawa Lakes Trust Te Taiao subcommittee and also sit on the Finance, Audit and Risk subcommittee.  I am a  Trustee – KapengaM Trust and Trustee – Te Arawa Waka Trust.

Currently,  Pou Arahi Taiao – Environment and Key Relationships Manager for Te Arawa River Iwi Trust.  My qualifications are in  Iwi and Environmental Management, Social Sciences (Geography).  I have over 40 years of work experience,  holding Senior Management positions in Finance, Forestry, Education, Tourism, Information-Technology and Health.  I have an extensive working knowledge of organisational operations, strategies, budgets and financial plans.

Tūhourangi Trustee

Niwa Nuri

Niwa is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and Chair of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust Finance, Audit and Risk subcommittee.

Niwa is a Director on Toi Ohomai Limited, Chairman of the Waikato Institute of Technology Limited (Wintec),Trustee on Ngāti Tarāwhai Iwi Trust, and hold a Trustee position on Rototuna Primary School (Hamilton).

Niwa has professional governance experience and offers skills to enhance the well-being of Te Arawa uri.

Tūhourangi Trustee

Rangitihi Pene

Te Arawa Waka, Te Arawa Tāngata, Te Arawa Moana tēnei ka mihi.

My background is in education but in the last five years I have been drawn onto our tribal trusts. I am a current trustee of both Te Pūmautanga o Te Arawa and the Tūhourangi Tribal Authority. In these capacities I have attended meetings in relation to improving the water quality of Rotorua and Tarawera.

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I see the Lakes Trust as a leader in providing Māori input into policy at both the local and national level. Our many lakes are under threat and we must be diligent in ensuring their mauri and cultural significance are enhanced.

My interests outside my whānau  are my marae, Hinemihi. My iwi, Tūhourangi, I am an active member of Te Whare Kōrero o Tūhourangi, who run tribal wānanga. I am also involved in both basketball and kapa haka.

Te Ure o Uenukukōpako Trustee

Roana Bennett

Roana Bennett holds a Bachelor of Management Studies degree from Waikato University and was a finalist in the New Zealander of the Year Award 2015 for Innovation in Iwi/Māori Education.

Her professional background is in strategy and governance, and she has proven leadership skills.

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As a lifelong advocate for Iwi development, Roana believes Iwi well-being is inextricably linked to the environment. Te Arawa Lakes Trust provides the potential to transform Iwi, hapū and whānau well-being through environmental advocacy and collective action.

Te Ure o uenukukopako trustee

Te Ururoa Flavell

Ngāti Rangiwewehi

Ko Tiheia te maunga,
Ko te Mimi o Pekehaua te wai tuku kiri
Ko Tarimano te papa tapu
Ko Ngāti Rangiwewehi te iwi
Ko Te Ururoa Flavell tōku ingoa
Tēnā tatou katoa.
As a previous board member and Chair of our financial arm (TAML),
I am conscious of the legacy of what led to the current Board.

The Te Arawa Trust Board was a critical part of our collective tribal
leadership in its day.

Tribes will always have absolute authority in their takiwā.

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There are times, however, when we can benefit from our collective strength as a confederation in developing strategies to be fully immersed in the many issues that affect our rohe including our Lakes. This can be achieved by working with others and building strong relationships.

Ko Te Arawa māngai-nui ūpoko tū-takitaki. It is about bringing this
kōrero to life. This will be my focus.

Te Kawatapuārangi trustee

Arapeta Tahana

Ngāti Pikiao

Mauri ora ki a tatau,
I was raised on the shores of lake Rotoiti amongst my Ngati Pikiao whanau. Passionate about iwi development and te taiao within the Te Arawa rohe.

I have been involved in the governance and management of Te Arawa
organisations for the past 18 years, including multiple projects aimed
at realising the collective potential and aspirations of Te Arawa.
Extensive experience in governance roles with local and regional councils, including being Councilor on the Bay of Plenty Regional from 2013-2019.


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In this role i will contribute towards strengthening the strategic focus and influence of the Trust to deliver better outcomes for our lakes, people and culture.

Most importantly, I believe deeply in our collective obligation to care for our lakes and whenua, and in such, continuing the work of our tupuna to maintain the mana of Te Arawa whanui

Te kawatapuārangi trustee

Georgina Whata

Ngāti Pikiao

Ko Ngati Pikiao te iwi ko Te Takinga te marae ko Georgina Whata ahau.

I have a comprehensive working knowledge of the responsibilities and obligations expected of a Trustee obtained through a combination of
formal qualifications and work experience in Senior Management positions.

I currently work for a Maori Ahu Whenua Trust and in this organisation I have held the positions of, General Manager Corporate Services, General Manager Sustainability & Innovation and In-House Counsel.

In my current position I manage a team who analyse exisiting and new commercial opportunities.

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I will actively pursue the advancement of TALT’s
purpose through influencing at a governance level the commercial
growth of its assets and the effective and efficient delivery of services
and support to our beneficiaries. Being held accountable for my
performance keeps me aligned to the purpose and expectations of
the trust and the expectations of our whānau.