Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has appointed Ben Bateman as its interim chief executive.

In a statement, kaiwhakahaere (chairman) of Ngāi Tahu Justin Tipa said it’s the right decision to make as the rūnanga begin their search for a permanent CEO.

“Ben is an experienced executive leader with extensive connections across Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tahu Holdings, and has strong relationships with our Papatipu Rūnanga.”

Bateman was previously the chief operating officer for the rūnanga and has also held numerous executive leadership roles outside the iwi entity, including in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Office (Chief of Staff, National Security Group), as well as the NZ Defence Force.

Tipa acknowledged the work done by outgoing chief executive Arihia Bennett, who stood down earlier this year after 12 years of service to the iwi.

The rūnanga will look to appoint a permanent CEO over the coming year.