Iwi: Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Rangikoianake, Rongowhakaata Te Whānau A Kai
Des has been actively engaged in community, operational, governance, strategic and collaborative impact projects for the past 10 years. He has wide experience in local, regional and central government. He comes from a military, trade and political background.
He has always been an avid sports participant, gaining representative honours in the NZ Army, NZ Combined Services and NZ Forces rugby team in New Zealand and South East Asia. He has skills in negotiation, facilitation, cultural tikanga, training design and relationship building.
He currently chairs Te Whanautahi Trust, founded Te Roopu Kaitiaki O Te WaiMaori cultural environmental consultancy, founding member of Takitimu Ora a Whanau ora collaborative operating in Hawke's Bay. His strong links into Māori communities as chair of the Nga Marae O Heretaunga collective provides access to opportunities for Skills Active in the Māori community. Des was elected as a director in 2013.
Des received the Queen's honour of Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2018 for services to Māori and became a Justice of the Peace in 2016. Late in 2018 he received the honour of Hawke’s Bay Business Leader of the year.