March 22, 2022
Wira Gardiner the Mr Fix It of government
Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis says he was honoured to work with the late Sir Wira Gardiner.
Mr Davis was one of the few non-family members to attend Sir Wira’s tangi in Whakatāne over the weekend.
He says he got to know him after he was appointed acting chief executive of Oranga Tamariki with the sudden departure of chief executive Grainne Moss.
That was a final note in a career that had started with the New Zealand Army, including being the first chief executive of the Ministry for Māori Development, Te Puni Kōkiri, and went on to being someone whose skills were sought by governments of every shade.
“He was Mr Fix It. If there was a problem, Sir WIra was brought in to deal with it. So it was with Oranga Tamariki. I got to know the man close up and personal, and in the year that I worked with him, I came to love and admire that man. He was incredible and I can see why he was every Government’s Mr Fix It,” Mr Davis says.
He’s keen to read the essays Sir Wira was working on in his final months about facets of his career, and he will also get a portrait of him for his office, to hang alongside a photograph of northern leader Sir James Henare.