Tina Porou

BLAKE Leader 2015

Head of Sustainability, Environment and Communities – ‎Contact Energy Ltd. 

Blake Leader Tina Porou is a vibrant trailblazer in a new generation of Māori leaders. Of Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Tuwharetoa descent, Tina is deeply committed to her whānau, hapū and iwi, and is dedicated to using her skills to grow their aspirations.

Across boardroom or negotiating tables, Tina always brings a determined passion and focus to ensure the people and communities she serves are supported to achieve their objectives – whether it’s establishing affordable housing or kaumātua flats at her marae, Hirangi in Turangi; spearheading initiatives in environmental management; or managing multi-million dollar budgets and developing sustainability protocols for one of the country’s top 10 listed companies.

She is a true people person, renowned in Maoridom, political and corporate realms for her superb communication skills, and an aptitude for taking complex ideas and simplifying them so that everyone involved is on the same page. She can smoothly bring together a meeting of minds from government, lobbyists and iwi.

In environmental issues, Tina excels in building strong teams that make headway. She is also passionate about commercial growth for Maori – to build jobs, not just balance sheets – and finding innovative ways to accomplish that.

At Contact Energy, her role is to establish the company’s sustainability movement to drive performance and efficiency across the business. One of her proudest moments with the company has been working with the people of Ngāti Tahu and addressing a 17-year grievance created by the Ohaaki Geothermal Power Station, near Taupō.

In her previous roles of leadership, she was the environmental manager of the Tuwharetoa Maori Trust Board, nurturing assets like the bed of Lake Taupō, its rivers and tributaries; and the general manager of the Te Arawa Iwi River Trust, where she worked to improve the health of the Waikato River.

During her time as the acting chief executive of Ngati Porou Whanui Forests on the East Coast, she managed 8000ha of forest for Ngati Porou landowners and 2000ha for the crown. In 2013, Tina presented at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) on the forestry scheme, which has allowed Ngati Porou landowners to work to address serious soil erosion, retain land in tribal ownership, and enter into an international private partnership to help cover costs for afforestation.

Tina now holds a range of governance roles including trustee of the Lake Taupo Forest Trust and Toitu Ngati Porou and board member on the Waste Advisory Board advising the Minister for the Environment.

Dealing with the complexities of Maori organisations and corporate bodies has grown her understanding of what drives those entities in developing and protecting their assets. That experience has helped Tina to develop a strong leadership style that is firmly grounded in her identity and cultural values, but also infused with expert knowledge.

Her leadership style has been described as intelligent, warm, agile, compassionate, unwavering and kaupapa-driven. Those qualities are imparted to the next generation of Māori leaders through the mentoring and advocacy work that Tina also does.

Tina’s true motivation is her whānau. Her daughter, Te Rina, has been a guiding light in her life, along with her nieces Rogan, Fearon, Alex and Taamara. Her whanau has inspired her to work hard, and create a better future for the next generation of Māori children, and, in particular, Māori women.