Tipene O'Regan

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Sir Tipene O'Regan
Tipene O'Regan (cropped).jpg
O'Regan in 2012
Stephen Gerard O'Regan

(1939-01-01) 1 January 1939 (age 80)
Nationality New Zealand
Known for Chairman Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board
Relatives Hana O'Regan (daughter)
Rolland O'Regan (father)
Patrick O'Regan (grandfather)

Sir Tipene O'Regan (born Stephen Gerard O'Regan on 1 January 1939) is a New Zealand academic and company director.


Early life and career

The son of Dr Rolland O'Regan and Rena Ruiha (Bradshaw), he is a director of a wide range of South Island Māori enterprises. He is best known for his role as chairman of the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board which he guided to successful land and sea fisheries claims before the Waitangi Tribunal, culminating in the Tribunal’s reports of 1991 and 1992. He later led claim settlement negotiations leading to the 1998 settlement which made extensive provision for customary rights in fisheries and other natural resources.

In 1974 he stood alongside his father Rolland on the Labour Party ticket for the Wellington Harbour Board, however despite polling well he was unsuccessful in winning a seat.[1]

In the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours, O'Regan was appointed a Knight Bachelor, for services to the Māori people and the community.[2]

Later activities

Bronze bust of O'Regan as part of the Twelve Local Heroes sculpture

O'Regan is currently associate lecturer and assistant vice chancellor (Māori) at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, associated with both the history and Māori departments. He was awarded an honorary D.Litt. by the University of Canterbury in 1992. In March 2009, O'Regan was commemorated as one of the Twelve Local Heroes of Christchurch, and a bronze bust of him was unveiled outside the Christchurch Arts Centre.

In 2012 O'Regan hit the headlines after misplacing his tokotoko outside RadioNZ in Wellington.[3] It was subsequently returned to Te Papa.[4]

He is a director of Milford Dart Ltd, a company which proposed a tunnel through the Southern Alps to more than halve the time taken to negotiate the road between resort centres Queenstown and Milford Sound. The proposal had Department of Conservation approval but there was opposition because the tunnel would be in a National Park and UNESCO World heritage area.[5] O'Regan argued the "absurdity of spending over 11 hours in a day to go to Milford from Queenstown",[5] but in July 2013, the Minister of Conservation, Nick Smith, declined the proposal because of significant environmental impacts.[6]

O'Regan is currently a member of the New Zealand Geographic Board, and from 2010 he has co-chaired the Constitutional Advisory Panel, which is seeking public input on constitutional reform in New Zealand.


  1. ^ "Catch-upcounting deals double blow". The Dominion. 15 October 1974. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 53697, 10 June 1994. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Wellington - news - dominion-post". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Tokotoko Found In Wellington". Stuff.co.nz. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Fighting the Milford Dart Passage". listener.co.nz. 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Minister declines Milford Dart Tunnel proposal". scoop.co.nz. 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  • atns.net.au
  • nzine.co.nz
  • maori.canterbury.ac.nz
  • hist.canterbury.ac.nz
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