Jamie Tuuta is a busy man. At the age of 19, he was the rangitahi representative on the Ngāti Mutunga board and by 34 years old he was the Māori trustee and CEO of Te Tumu Paeroa. For services to his communities, he is a recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award.
The award is given to a small number of alumni who have achieved significant success in their careers and made outstanding contributions to their communities.
Mr Tuuta (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama, Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Maru, Taranaki Tuturu) graduated from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Science in 2000. While at Waikato, he tutored Te Reo Māori classes and completed several law papers - all of which he has used in his career.
“My time at University put me in a good position from a technical standpoint, in particular the art of questioning and critical analysis. It gave me the skill set and confidence to engage in the world,” says Mr Tuuta.
After graduating from the University of Waikato Mr Tuuta participated in three iwi negotiations, chaired an iwi and several iwi asset holding companies and held more than 50 governance roles.
He is the current chair of Tourism New Zealand, Māori Television, Taranaki Mounga Project and iwi collective Ka Uruora Trust.
Mr Tuuta is passionate about investing in innovation and increasing the economic, social, cultural and environmental performance of Aotearoa. He has a particular interest in increasing Māori and iwi commercial collaboration and partnership to generate wealth and broader benefits for Māori communities.
And he is just getting started. “I draw energy from Kaupapa driven work that is creating this generation's legacy. When you have a love and passion for your people and language and for the way of being, then you do what is needed.”
He says that receiving a Distinguished Alumni award is an honour, but it is much bigger than him. “This award acknowledges all of those people who have supported me and for the opportunities I have been given.”
Mr Tuuta was a recipient of a 2010 Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leadership Award and he received the Young Māori Business Leader Award at the 2015 Aotearoa New Zealand Māori Business Leaders Awards.
He is one of four Distinguished Alumni awardees for 2022 along with director Jennifer Kerr, Supreme Court Judge of Samoa Justice Leilani Tuala-Warren and governor and Māori business leader Hinerangi Raumati MNZM.