Ngarimu Blair works on behalf of Ngati Whatua o Orakei to draw on the riches of Māori heritage in creating unique spaces and instilling a sense of place, identity and pride. A geography and Māori graduate from the University of Auckland, Ngarimu promotes tangata whenua issues around sustainability, protection of sacred sites, restoration of bio-diversity and Maori community issues.
Ngarimu is also playing a leading role in establishing and managing Auckland’s largest ecological restoration project at Bastion Point, and is developing plans to create a sustainable urban village at Orakei which could see many of his tribe afford to return to their ancestral lands in central Auckland.
Committed to revitalising Te Reo, art, haka, waiata and other Maori cultural assets, Ngarimu leads the teams organising the annual Matariki Festival and Waitangi Day events at Bastion Point with the aim of encouraging Aucklanders to experience and enjoy the Maori culture that exists in their city.
A tribal historian, Ngarimu’s work has also involved treaty claims research and negotiations. He has worked through negotiations with Government and, at times, competing iwi to find a way of managing the shared ownership of significant mountains such as Maungakiekie and Maungawhau. His patience in working towards an outcome while bringing people on board has elicited wide praise and expectation of what more Ngarimu might achieve for Māori development and, more widely, for New Zealand.
I take great strength from understanding the trials and tribulations of my ancestors who despite the loss of their entire tribal estate, it’s despoliation and the inter-generational scorn they faced from new comers managed to maintain a humble foot-hold in Auckland and all the while, welcoming one and all. ”