Our Team

Sarah Īhaia-Chapman
Manahautū | Chief Executive
Ngāti Maniapoto | Ngāti Apakura | Ngāti Rangiwewehi | Te Uri o Hau

Sarah began her working life with the Crown Law Office Treaty Issues Unit. Over the last two decades her career has spanned across the NGO, public and private sectors. 

She has successfully forged a professional pathway into decision making roles within government and commercial business environments but her proudest achievements is her humanitarian work in the management of whānau centred community and youth organisations. 

Sarah is skilled and experienced in business management, business analysis, policy, quality standards, operating models and frameworks as well as organisational architecture and culture change. Strategy and Investment are her greatest strength. 

She also possesses expertise in housing and property development, asset management, contract management, new business and workforce development. She is passionate about whānau succeeding as whānau, protecting whenua Māori and assisting intergenerational wealth building.

In her role as Manahautū Sarah will focus on ‘Tomorrow’s Ngāti Whātua’ and will be resetting our ways of working to better realise the dreams and aspirations of Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara.


Julia Steenson
Kaihautū | Director of Transformation

Ko Māhuhu ki te rangi tōku waka 
Ko Tauwhare tōku maunga
Ko Kaipara tōku awa
Ko Waitematā tōku moana
Ko Uruamo/Povey tōku whānau
Ko Te Taoū tōku hapū
Ko Rewiti, raua ko Ōrākei, ko Haranui ōku marae
Ko Ngāti Whātua tōku Iwi

Ko Tainui tōku waka
Ko Kawhia tōku moana
Ko Maketu tōku marae
Ko Te Ahu tōku whānau
Ko Tainui tōku Iwi
Ko Julia Steenson toku ingoa

In 2020 Julia was appointed as a Commissioner on the Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in state and faith-based care.  Julia is passionate about making a difference for the future generations of our people.

Julia serves as a director on the board of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust and on the group Risk Audit and Assurance Committee for the group.  She was also recently appointed as a director on Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua Commercial Ltd.   Julia was the past board Chair for Kia Puawai Limited and a previous director on the board of Whai Rawa Limited - the commercial arm of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. She is a current member of the Auckland Branch Committee for the NZ Institute of Directors.

Julia started her legal career with Simpson Grierson and has previously worked as General Counsel for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and during this time she developed their Intellectual property framework: Whakairo Hinengaro and represented TWoA at the World Indigenous People’s Conference in Toronto on Intellectual Property. 

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