From cop to council: Former Rotorua area commander takes deputy chief executive role
Former Rotorua police area commander Anaru Pewhairangi – the first Māori person to take Rotorua’s top police role – is swapping cops for council.
Pewhairangi has been appointed Rotorua Lakes Council’s deputy chief executive, community wellbeing.
He will leave his current national Wellington-based role as Director Māori in the New Zealand Police Māori, Pacific and Ethnic Services to take up the job at Council and will start during February.
Pewhairangi (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) was selected from a strong group of candidates who applied for the role, Rotorua Lakes Council acting chief executive Craig Tiriana said.
He will be responsible for the delivery of outcomes across various functions – from community safety and regeneration to sport and recreation and council facilities such as the performing arts centre.
“This is a big role within our organisation, responsible for more than 100 staff as well as key outcomes for our community and we look forward to welcoming Mr Pewhairangi as part of the executive team.”
Pewhairangi comes with senior leadership and broad operational experience, along with well established iwi and community relationships in Rotorua, including relationships with council in his former role as police area commander, Tiriana said.
“He has an inclusive, values-based style and is passionate about building thriving and safe communities, which is a key priority area for council.
“We look forward to his strategic input into addressing the challenges Rotorua faces and delivering positive outcomes for our community.”
Pewhairangi became Rotorua’s first Māori police area commander in March 2017, having moved to Rotorua four years earlier.
He has held various leadership roles in the police during his 20 years in the force, following eight years as a school teacher in Wellington.
“I am excited to be joining the organisation, having previously enjoyed a good working relationship with the council as part of my role as Rotorua area commander,” Pewhairangi said.
“I have been impressed by council’s vision and direction and the collaborative approach to building not just thriving, but resilient communities, and the focus on ensuring effective partnerships with Te Arawa, our local iwi.
“I want to be part of the change, the important mahi that the council is doing to future-proof and transform Rotorua, and am excited to serve our people and our communities.
“My whānau and I love Rotorua, which has been our home for nearly 10 years now, and I look forward to reconnecting with our people and the wider community and contributing to this important kaupapa for the greater good of the rohe,” he said.