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 and LGNZ’s appointee to Te Poutaunaha - The New Zealand Geographic Board.
She was elected to the Taranaki Coastal Community Board in 2019 and was a councillor at South Taranaki District Council from 2010-2019. Bonita is an accredited RMA commissioner and an iwi representative on committees at both South Taranaki and Taranaki Regional Councils. 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 has been appointed to the Lottery Oranga Marae Committee, Taranaki Whanganui Conservation Board, the Māori advisory committee to Taumata Arowai and the Local Government Commission.
In her other life, Bonita is an artist and freelance journalist. She completed her Masters in Fine Arts in 2018, Masters in Māori Visual Arts in 2021 and is pursuing doctoral study focusing on the revitalisation of indigenous knowledge. Her biggest cheerleaders are her husband Kevin, mum Hinewaito and son Te Rei.