Ngāi Tahu Kaumatua
Ngāi Tahu kaumatua Sir Tipene O’Regan is best known for his role as the long-serving Chairman of the former Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board. Sir Tipene led the Ngāi Tahu Claims process before the Waitangi Tribunal from 1986, culminating in a notable settlement with the Crown in 1998 which provides for extensive provision of customary rights in fisheries and other natural resources.
Sir Tipene was also a major architect and negotiator of the Treaty of Waitangi fisheries settlements of 1989 and 1992 and the founding Chairman of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission. He was the founding chair of the Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation, Sealord Group Ltd and Te Tapuae o Rehua Ltd. He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre at the University of Canterbury, and is the Upoko of the Awarua Rūnanga of Ngāi Tahu based at Awarua (Bluff).
His personal scholarly interest is largely in traditional history and ethnology of Ngāi Tahu and Te Waipounamu. He has published and lectured extensively over many years on Ngāi Tahu traditional history, Polynesian migration, Treaty issues and the evolution of biculturalism and the wider politics of Māoridom.