Kākati Royal

Company: AECOM

Job title: Kaihautū – Principal Māori Lead Projects

What Regional Chair position are you interested in? Auckland - North Shore

About Kākati

(Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te-Ātiawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tahu)

I bring a dynamic professional background encompassing engineering, finance, economics, and tribal leadership. I hold a Diploma in Global Humanitarian Engineering, a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with First Class Honours, and a Master of Civil Engineering with Distinction. My areas of expertise include seismic engineering, the indigenous Māori perspective, cost engineering, contract administration and project management. With nearly a decade of cultural leadership, I bring a unique and refreshing viewpoint. I am prepared to support ACE New Zealand's mission by addressing complex challenges and promoting the continued success of its members. I believe leadership is about service, not power, and am dedicated to continuous learning, growth and contributing to the future of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Pepeha or whakapapa/family history

Mai i Miria te Kākara ki Whitireia, whakawhiti te Moana o Raukawa ki Wairau, ki Whakatū. Ki Te Ahu Pātiki mai te Pātaka ō Rākaihautū, ki te pū o Te Wheke, i raro o te Poho o Tamatea. He uri tēnei nō roto Te-Ātiawa-ki-Kapiti, Ngāti Raukawa-te-Au-ki-te-Tonga, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, nō Ngāi Tahu hoki.

I grew up in a tribal village in Porirua and have strong connections across the country. I remain actively involved in contemporary tribal affairs, with a deep understanding of my history and culture. I’m a descendant of influential Treaty signatories like Te Rauparaha, Waitohi, Te Rangi Topeora, Te Ahukaramū, and Matene Te Whiwhi, who appointed the first Māori king. My ancestor, Wi Parata Te Kakakura, was one of the first Māori members of Parliament and played a key role in the landmark legal case, Wi Parata v Bishop of Wellington. Another notable relative, my great-great uncle Rangiātaahua Kiniwē Royal, was a distinguished sportsman, academic and tribal leader who served in both World Wars. In the 1980s, my great-grandparents led Treaty claims for Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa and Te Ātiawa ki Kāpiti. Today, I’m inspired to continue and honour this legacy.

What strengths do you bring to the Regional Chair role?

With a diverse background in engineering, finance and tribal leadership, I bring a unique blend of skills and perspectives to the Regional Chair role. My experience in strategic planning, financial management and community engagement equips me to effectively represent the interests of ACE members in our region. Additionally, my commitment to fostering inclusivity and promoting diversity aligns with ACE’s values, ensuring that our organisation remains responsive to the needs of all members.

How would you support ACE's mahi in your region?

I would prioritise building strong relationships with local stakeholders, including government agencies, industry partners, tribal corporations (iwi/hapū/whānau) and community organisations. By facilitating collaboration and dialogue, I aim to amplify ACE’s voice and influence in our region, advocating for policies and initiatives that support our members' growth and success. I am dedicated to providing resources and support to help ACE members’ continual learning, while also helping them navigate challenges and capitalise on opportunities, ensuring that our organisation continues to thrive and make a positive impact in our communities.

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