Te Maruata Chairperson
Community Board Member, South Taranaki District Council
Bonita Bigham (Ngaruahine, Te Atiawa) has been chair of Te Maruata, Local Government New Zealand's national collective of Māori in governance roles in local government since mid-2016 and has served on the committee since 2012. She is Te Maruata’s representative to LGNZ's National Council.
She was elected to the Taranaki Coastal Community Board in 2019 and has been a councillor at South Taranaki District Council since 2010, is an accredited RMA commissioner and until recently was STDC's appointee to two external boards. She has an unwavering commitment to kaupapa Māori and a strong background in governance, including her iwi's Treaty settlement work, as well as active involvement in a wide variety of community organisations. Bonita was appointed to the Lottery Oranga Marae Committee this year, recognising her expertise in trusteeship and marae development.
Bonita is an artist and freelance journalist. She completed her Masters in Fine Arts in 2018 and intends to complete her Masters in Māori Visual Arts this year before contemplating doctoral study focusing on the revitalisation of indigenous knowledge. Her biggest cheerleaders are her husband Kevin, mum Hinewaito and son Te Rei.