Bayden Barber was born to lead but as just the second chair of Ngati Kahungunu in 26 years, he will need to draw on all his leadership skills to navigate the iwi and its people to prosperity. In 2022 Bayden beat incumbent chair Ngahiwi Tomoana to become chair of the iwi that represents 60,000 people, more than 100 marae and more than 100 hapū.
When he was a youngster, Bayden (eldest of four) says leadership was an expectation within his whānau – led by his kuia Haumiaha Te Whaiti – and drawn from his whakapapa, which included being a descendent of Waimarama high chief Tiakitai.
“My grandmother was very influential in my early days in terms of encouraging me to look after our whakapapa and our obligations to marae and hapū. “Leadership had been instilled in me for a long time but I didn’t really pay too much attention to it as I was still young but looking back, there’s always been that expectation of leadership.”
After going off to study a Bachelor of Management Studies and Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Management at Waikato University, Bayden returned to Hawke’s Bay. A leadership role as chair of Waimarama Marae, which is situated below his family homestead, would be the first on his leadership journey that would see him being elected as a two-term councillor with Hastings District Council from 2017–2022. He only stepped down at the end of his second term due to time commitments with the iwi as well as some other directorships such as Beef and Lamb New Zealand, Health Hawke’s Bay and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.
First published by The Profit. Click here to read the full article.