Mark Solomon

Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kurī

Tā Mark is comitted to the betterment of his iwi, kotahitanga for Māori and the wider well-being of people and the environment. He was kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu from 1998 to December 2016 and represented Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura there from 1995 to December 2016. Tā Mark was also instrumental in setting up the Iwi Chairs Forum in 2005.

Tā Mark's contributions to his community have been diverse and significant, ranging from school board trustee to past board member of the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa).

He credits his wider whānau for early guidance, and it is this that drove his passion for encouraging educational opportunities for young Māori. He is a patron of He Toki ki te Rika, a Christchurch-based Māori pre-trade training programme, and the related He Toki ki te Mahi, an apprenticeship initiative, both born from the Christchurch earthquake rebuild. In 2013, Tā Mark was made Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and business. In april 2015 he also received an honoraru doctorate in Natural Resources from Lincoln University.

Tā Mark currently undertakes directorship for Interim Te Rōpu, The National Science Challenge for Sustainable Seas and Deep South, Te Ohu Kaimoana, Pure Advantage, SEED NZ Charitable rust, OuakeCoRE, Ngāti Ruanui Holdings, Māori Carbon Foundation Limited, and Māori Carbon Planting Limited. He was an original member of the Māori Economic Taskforce, established by the Minister for Māori Affairs in 2009. Tā Mark was also deputy chair of the Canterbury DHB 2016-19. He is passionate about his people and is determined to facilitate both iwi and wider Māori success by unlocking the potential of the Māori economy for the good of all. 

One valuable lesson ... I’d never worked in corporate before. I was a labourer. I’d say, ‘Just talk normal! If you talk in ordinary language, I can understand everything you’re talking about. When you start using your industry jargon and throwing your acronyms around, I may as well talk to the wall. Keep it simple, then everyone follows.’