Executive Members

Executive Members of Te Runanga o Waihao Inc Society

Jo McLean

Jo is of Waitaha, Kati Mamoe, Ngai Tahu and Te Atiawa descent. Jo has 5 tamariki and one moko. Jo has worked as a Union Organiser for the past 13 years for EPMU, E TU and know the TEU. Jo has the privilege of being the TRoNT Representative and has held that role for some 7 years. Jo has a BA in Sociology, a Masters in Maori and Indigenous Leadership and has almost completed a degree in Law. She has held a number of governance roles over the years and acknowledges she is still learning. She feels privileged to be able to be involved in the governance at Waihao and is seeking to develop both short term opportunities for whanau through hui and wananga along with more long term aspirations through economic development that will bring whanau back, create housing and education opportunities and see the Marae thriving.

Wendy Varcoe


Lesley Te Maiharoa-Sykes

Lesley was raised in Glenavy and is of Waitaha, Ngati Rarua and Ngai Tahu descent.
Lesley's father, Koata Te Maiharoa, (Pop) was raised in Glenavy while Lesley’s mother, Margaret (nee Tumaru), grew up two paddocks away from the Waihao Marae.
Lesley has been involved at the marae on the Executive Committee, as Deputy Chairperson, a Kaihiku kaiarahi and Marae Manager.
She is active in her Waitaha iwi and is the secretary of the Waitaha Taiwhenua o Waitaki Trust.
She is a past director and secretary on the Te Runanga o Waihao Holding Company.
Lesley has a Diploma in Iwi Development and currently lives in Otautahi with husband John, daughter Samantha and mokopuna Brooklyn, and her other treasured daughter, Susan, lives in Perth.
Lesley works as a fees admin at Ryman Healthcare.

Jennifer Thomas

Vice Chair

Graeme Lane

Executive Member
Graeme is of Waitaha, Kati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu descent. Born and raised in the Waihao takiwa, Graeme followed in his parent’s footsteps of being community minded and contributes much of his time to not only the marae, but many other local community groups. Graeme was a crucial part of the restoration in the late 1970’s/early1980’s and hasn’t stopped since then. He was involved in the barley cropping project which raised substantial funding to be able to proceed with the restoration.
Graeme has lived on Maori Road for the past 25years, living and breathing this land as he works on the grounds that belonged to our ancestors.
He has held several governance roles within the runanga over the years and feels privileged to be able to be involved in the governance at Waihao.

Sara Eddington

Executive Member

Dardanelle McLean-Smith

Executive Member

I aho mai taku manu I te keo o Aoraki mataū.
Rere atu ia ki Waitakitaki awa noho ai tō Kāti Huirapa whaitua.
I reira kohikohi ai āna poa mo ōna marae, ko Waihao, ko Puketeraki, ko Arowhenua, ko Te Pā o Moki ērā.
Ko Kāi Tahu, ko Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha ōhoku iwi.
Ko Kāti Huirapa, Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, Ngāti Irakehu ōhoku hapū.

Dardanelle was born and raised in Ōtautahi has a passion for whānau success. She has been actively involved from a young age with her hapū, being a participant, volunteer and trustee wherever tautoko is required. Dardanelle is passionate about rakatahi and whānau development. From a long line of servant leaders within the Waihao community, Dardanelle acknowledges that executive leadership of a rūnanga can be challenging, but it is also a position of privilege, which Dardanelle hopes the decisions of the executive board will continue to grow and nurture Waihao whānau.

In 2016 Dardanelle became a mama to Leila, who is named after her great-grandmother who grew up on the shores of Te Waihora. Leila is Dardanelle’s greatest achievement to date and she enjoys knowing that being actively engaged with Waihao will be another space Leila can learn and grow her Tahutanga and reo.