Master Class 3 Facilitator

My tribes are Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga (Mataatua Waka) Ngāti Ranginui (Takitumu Waka), Ngāti Te Roro o te Rangi (Te Arawa Waka), Te Āti Awa (Tokomaru Waka), Ngāti Rārua (Tainui Waka) and Ngai Tahu (Takitumu Waka) and I was raised in Waikawa Bay Picton in Te Waipounamu. Bentham is currently a Director of Puata Hou Ltd in a whānau business that he operates together with his wife Kate Cherrington (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Wai). They live on his tribal lands of Ngā Pōtiki in Pāpāmoa Tauranga where his father Dr Monte Ōhia was raised and have two children Tuakoi who is a student at Otago University and Tahuaroa who is a student at Tai Wānanga in Hamilton.

I am a second language Te Reo Māori speaker growing up in a rural community in Waikawa Bay, Picton where the Ratana church and the Waikawa Maori Cultural group, both tutored by my parents, commenced my lifes Māori language journey. As a student in the bilingual class at Wellington High school, my language did not flourish through my own fault as my entrepreneurial skills through doing things without permission got me expelled and sent to Te Aute College. Te Aute was where my life was transformed through the learning of my Māori identity, language, culture and knowledge.

I spent 20 years from 1994 in service to Te Wananga o Aotearoa (National Māori Tribal College) as Pouhere Deputy CEO (1999 – 20005) and the last seven years as Te Pouhere CEO (2006 – 2013) managing 1300 staff and 32,000 students across 152 sites in New Zealand and an annual financial budget of $152 million per annum. Since 2001 I have served as the President of the leadership organisation Advancement of Maori Opportunity (AMO) that provides values-based leadership development programmes for young Māori emerging leaders working in Alaska, Indian Country (USA), Bolivia, Peru and Hawaii.  I am blessed to currently sit as the Deputy Chairman of the Waikato-Tainui College of Research & Development a private endowment College operated by the Iwi of Waikato Tainui for the past eight years (Māori Masters in Business Administration programme offered through the College in association with the University of Waikato Business School. Together with my amazing wife Kate Cherrington, we commenced the delivery of the Masters of Māori & Indigenous Leadership by invitation from the University of Canterbury and Ngai Tahu. The programme is an 18-month programme based on 11 noho (weekend live ins’) where we sleep study and learn together in a Marae – traditional cultural house context.

Some of my past roles include Chairman and Board member of Te Tauihu o nga Wānanga, Chairman of the Waikato PTE Association, Associate Director of Wakatu Incorporation, Director of The Big Fish Group (PTE that is now a listed company on the NZ/ Australia Share Market, past Member of Minister Sharples Māori Economic Taskforce, Doctorate Fellow at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and the Chair of WIPCE – World Indigenous Peoples Conference in Education held in New Zealand in 2005 hosting 3500 indigenous peoples. I was blessed to have been awarded the Te Arikinui Te Ataairangikahu (the late Māori Queen) Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Māori Academic Achievement awards in 2010.

Qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (Māori and Education) from Otago University, a Diploma in Teaching (Māori Immersion) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Waikato University. I have recently completed the writing phase of my PHD through Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi based on the kaupapa thesis topic “Whānau Transformation through Education”, a mission coined and instilled by my father the late Dr Monte Ōhia to me and my siblings and continues to form part of the organisation statement’s at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and like my father I a proud Māori Christian, Amine!

Tēnā tātou katoa!