TĀ (SIR) MARK SOLOMON (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kurī)
Tā Mark Solomon is a prominent Māori leader whose commitment to and advocacy for the Māori economy led to his recognition as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and Business in 2013. Tā Mark was the elected Kaiwhakahaere (Chair) of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu from 1998 to December 2016 and represented his local Papatipu Rūnanga, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura from 1995 to December 2016. Of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kurī descent, Tā Mark's contribution to his community has been diverse and significant, with a particular focus on sustainability of the marine and natural environments. In April 2015 his work was recognised by an Honorary Doctorate from Lincoln University as Doctor of Natural Resources.
Tā Mark’s core philosophy is 'strength with humility', reflected in his belief that a true rangatira is a servant of the people. His many past and current board appointments include the Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa), Te Ohu Kaimoana, National Science Challenge Governance Boards for the Deep South and Sustainable Seas, a trustee of Pure Advantage and 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. He believes young Māori should strive for formal training to maximize their talents and to be the best they can be. Tā Mark 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. His involvement in the Māori Carbon Foundation reflects his commitment to unlocking economic and social benefits that can be delivered to Maori landowners as Kaitiaki of the land.