An introduction to governance for Pacific people

Advice and insights from a panel of experienced Pacific directors on moving towards a governance pathway.

By Institute of Directors
29 Sep 2021
read time
50 min to watch


Diversity on New Zealand boards is paramount and the Pacific community has much to offer. In this recorded webcast, keynote speaker Caren Rangi speaks on what Pacific people bring to the board table and facilitates a panel discussion with Mele Wendt, Josiah Tualamali’i and Peter Fa’afiu. If you are interested in governance, but are not sure what you can do to move down this path, then join this webcast to hear these experienced directors share their stories.


Caren Rangi

Caren Rangi of Hawkes Bay, New Zealand is a very proud Cook Islands Māori and an experienced governance practitioner. Caren is acting Chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand. She is also a board member for Radio New Zealand and Pacific Co-operation Broadcasting Ltd, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Pacific Homecare Services, and Pacific Inc Ltd. Caren is a board director of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation in Rarotonga, and in this role is leading work to develop professional board directors in the Cook Islands.

In 2015, Caren was conferred as a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. In 2016 she was awarded a New Zealander of the Year Local Hero Award for services to governance. In 2018 Caren was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to governance and the Pacific community, and was named as the Linden Estate Hawke’s Bay Business Leader of the Year.

Mele Wendt

Mele Wendt has 17 years of leadership/management experience and 23 years of governance experience. Her roles have included being a high school teacher, the founding Pacific Islands liaison officer and manager of the student recruitment office at Victoria University of Wellington, and then the executive director of Fulbright New Zealand for ten years.

Mele currently serves on the boards of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (The NZ Correspondence School) and the Wellington Community Trust. She also currently chairs the Steering Group which developed and launched the National Action Plan for Community Governance in 2020, and is overseeing its implementation. In the recent past Mele served as chair of Massey University's Pacific Student Success Working Group, and chair of the Pasifika Education Centre in Auckland.

Mele is a member of various professional and community groups and she is a White Ribbon Ambassador. In January 2019, Mele was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to governance, the Pacific community and women.

Peter Fa’afiu

Peter’s current and previous governance roles have covered diverse structures: private company, international organisation, Crown organisation, Schedule 4 (Public Finance Act) entity, regulator, charity and community organisations. Peter is a UK registered board director of Amnesty International Limited and is currently the Chair of Pacific Media Network (PMN). Peter is a non-executive director of CORE Education Limited and a board member on Monte Cecilia Community Housing Trust.

His volunteer governance roles include the Board of Trustees for his children’s school and the board for Bledisloe Park Society, which owns and manages a large multi-sport centre and sport park in Pukekohe.

Peter’s executive roles include being Interim Chief Executive and GM Corporate Affairs for the Tamaki Regeneration Company, Aotearoa’s first urban regeneration entity. He was also Head of Government and Community Relations for NZ Post Group. He co-founded business consultancy, Navigator Limited, which provides strategic and operational advice to organisations across a number of sectors in New Zealand and the Pacific region.

He is an IoD member and was mentored into his first governance role (as Chair of First Foundation) by Chartered members Susan Huria and Paul Cook.

Josiah Tualamali’i

Josiah is 26 years old, Samoan Pākehā and one of the five Tualamali'i boys who grew up in ōtepoti & ōtautahi. Following a trip to Samoa at 14 years old Josiah applied for and participated in the first Pacific Youth Parliament in ōtautahi. This fono ignited a small group of participants to found the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Trust (PYLAT) to empower Pacific youth voice in all worlds. PYLAT's journey was his first experience of governance, and in the context of the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes saw him and the other youth board members advocating for a new commitment to hear Pacific youth voices in the rebuild and recovery. At 18 he became the chair, and shortly afterwards was appointed to the board of Pacific wellbeing NGO Le Va.

Josiah had his first government board appointment in 2018 when he was selected to be one of the panel members of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions. While being a full board member, he was also looked at to ensure young people’s voices were heard in the work of the inquiry. He has a degree in History and Politics from Canterbury University (2019). He is currently on six boards, a lived experience consultant to UK mental health and wellbeing organisation the Wellcome Trust, is one of the two independent youth reviewers for the Lancet Commission on Depression, and contracts across government to empower Pacific peoples’ perspectives in decision making in Aotearoa.


You may log 1 CPD points for watching this on-demand webcast.