Arihia Bennett MNZM (Ngai Tahu – Ngai Tuahuriri, Ngati Waewae, Ngati Porou) is the CEO of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, a $1.4 billion iwi entity. She was appointed to the position in August 2012 following the role of CEO at He Oranga Pounamu, the iwi-mandated organisation responsible for health and social services in Te Waipounamu. A key driver for Arihia is her passion for enabling and empowering whanau and papatipu runanga to take control of their own lives, find their own voice and be the best they can be. Her role as CEO of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu enables her to implement practical programmes and initiatives that will grow communities and create a better tomorrow for Ngai Tahu whanau.
After the Christchurch earthquake of 2010, Arihia was appointed initially as a Commissioner until the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) was established. She was then appointed to the Chief Executives Advisory Group (CEAG), Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy.
While the earthquakes were a tumultuous and stressful time for Canterbury residents, they also created significant opportunities for Ngai Tahu to assert their role as tangata whenua and Crown partner in the region during the rebuild.
Ngai Tahu, and in particular Ngai Tuahuriri, welcomed this opportunity and committed to this programme of work. Ngai Tuahuriri established Matapopore to drive and manage their commitment to the rebuild with all contributions focused on a simple theme of Kia atawhai ki te iwi- Care for the people.
Arihia is a member of the Global Women's Network, the Tuahiwi Maori Women's Welfare League and an alumnus of Te Hono Movement, a partnership helping to drive the success of the New Zealand primary industry. She is also a member of the Institute of Directors NZ and holds a number of directorships and governance roles. She has previously been on the board of Barnardos NZ and the Christchurch Women's Refuge (now known as Aviva).