South Taranaki based Bonita brings over 20 years of experience and knowledge both as a governor and toi Māori practitioner to the Council of Creative New Zealand, Toi Aotearoa.
Firmly committed to kaupapa Māori, Bonita is involved with various community and local government organisations. She is a founding member of Toi o Taranaki Ki Te Tonga, a Māori artists’ collective in Taranaki, is Presiding Member for Oranga Marae (formerly Marae Lotteries Heritage Committee), holds Master’s degrees in both Fine Arts and Māori Visual Arts and is a current Fine Arts PhD candidate. Bonita is a passionate arts advocate and scholar who centres her research and output on cultural themes and practices, including raranga, tāniko, and kowhaiwhai.
Bonita also has a strong local government background and was recently elected unopposed as Taranaki Regional Council’s first Māori ward councillor, having previously served three terms as a South Taranaki District councillor and one as a community board member.
She chairs Te Maruata, LGNZ’s national collective of Māori in governance roles in local government, is Te Maruata’s representative to LGNZ's National Council and is its appointee to Te Poutaunaha o Aotearoa - The New Zealand Geographic Board.
Bonita was appointed as a temporary member of the Local Government Commission in June 2021 and as a full member in July 2022.