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Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples welcomes the appointment of Michelle Hippolite as the new Chief Executive of Te Puni Kokiri, and thanks the departing CE Leith Comer for his ‘active service’ over the past 12 years.
“Michelle has a very solid track record of public service and experience in a range of roles that will greatly benefit Te Puni Kokiri into the future,” said Dr Sharples.
“She has direct experience working in a number of portfolio areas, and has built up strong credibility and wide networks among Māori and New Zealand communities and internationally,” he said. “She has also shown diplomacy in negotiating across cultural borders and effective advocacy for kaupapa Maori in a national context, and I look forward to Michelle deploying her skills and talents for the benefit of the Maori Affairs portfolio,” said Dr Sharples.
“While today is Michelle’s day, I want to take this opportunity to thank Leith Comer for his tremendous work in a very challenging job. Leith has given me excellent advice across the huge range of issues that Te Puni Kokiri is involved in, and loyal service to achieve our goals.
“Since I became Minister, Te Puni Kokiri has led major economic policy projects, spearheaded Whānau Ora across the public service, supported a major foray by Māori into business, including top-level delegations to China, and steered extraordinarily complex projects like the huge Māori involvement in hosting the Rugby World Cup, including the Waka Māori, to a brilliant conclusion.
Through complexity and sometimes controversy, Leith has provided clear guidance and strong determination to achieve results. I am sorry to see him go, and I wish him and his whanau well in the future,” said Dr Sharples.