The newest member of Manaaki Tāngata – Victim Support’s National Board is Darren Rewi. He was elected at last year’s annual general meeting as the South Island Māori Representative following nomination by the Queenstown Local Group Committee.
“I’m really enjoying the activity and involvement,” says Darren. “There are a lot of things that need changing and I have a background in change management. I’m particularly enjoying supporting the introduction of Te Whiringa, the organisation’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi framework. That’s really cool and the Senior Leadership team and Board are focused on making it happen.”
As well as 23 years in senior management at Air New Zealand, Darren has run his own consulting business, picked up health and safety qualifications, and has helped organisations become more culturally responsive – a perfect mix of skills to bring to his governance role at Victim Support.
He’s also been volunteering in various roles in Queenstown for more 30 years and is well embedded in the community. While never having been a support worker himself, Darren has direct experience of Victim Support’s work through volunteering as a firefighter and Police Kaumātua.
“We interacted with Victim Support after fires or motor vehicle accidents and other sudden deaths. I was always in that space, actively working with the local team. I’ve seen how it operates on the ground.”
Part of Darren’s work also involves him with iwi Ngāi Tahu and local marae. “I’d like to see Victim Support engage more with Māori communities,” he says. “Te Whiringa is a start but there’s so much capacity on marae that could be a really great help to Victim Support, so we need to have proper engagement with them. During Cyclone Gabrielle and the mosque shootings, the marae really stepped into that space and they’d be a really good partner for Victim Support.”