Waikato-Tainui has appointed fund management expert Rebecca Thomas as an independent director of Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) the commercial investment arm of the iwi. Ms Thomas will replace Sir Henry van der Heyden as a sitting independent board member who is due to retire by rotation in April after serving on the Board for nine years.
TGH Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said the appointment of Ms Thomas aligns with an anticipated increased focus on funds management for the Waikato-Tainui iwi, as the business continues to diversify alongside its active management of commercial assets such as property, farms, forestry, hotels and retail.
Ms Thomas brings 35 years’ experience in the funds management sector both in New Zealand and offshore. This includes 15 years as Founder and CEO of Mint Asset Management and previous senior investment roles for ING (NZ) Ltd and Johnson Fry, a London-based funds management firm.
Sir Henry welcomed the appointment of Ms Thomas to the Board. “Rebecca brings a wealth of experience in growing strong, diverse portfolios in New Zealand, regional and global markets. With her governance experience on the boards of the Financial Markets Authority and KiwiRail she will bring a clear, independent view on best practice in financial governance to the TGH Board,” says Sir Henry.
Ms Thomas, who holds an LLB (Hons), is a member of the Institute of Directors of both New Zealand and London, as well as a member of the Securities and Investment Institute of London.
Parekawhia McLean, Chair of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato (the iwi parliament) and Linda Te Aho, Chair of Te Arataura (the iwi executive committee) also welcomed the appointment of Ms Thomas.
“We are on a journey to grow and diversify the assets for our 76,000 members, and we welcome the further investment expertise that Rebecca will bring to the Board of Tainui Group Holdings, building on the strong mix of iwi and external expertise that has always been the TGH way,” says Parekawhia McLean.
Linda Te Aho added; “It’s great to see a director of Rebecca’s experience come on to the Board to help steer TGH to prudently invest in financial markets at a time that brings enhanced opportunities and risks in the economy.”
Established in 2003, TGH currently manages around $950 million of assets including financial assets such as shares. Major projects currently include the development of the first 92 hectares of the Ruakura Superhub due to open in mid-2022, and construction of a new regional headquarters for the ACC in the Hamilton CBD.