Wayne Vargis has worked for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu since 2011, and has been the General Manager, Regional Investment Fund since 2020. The $100m fund is tasked with fostering the devolution aspirations of the iwi. In this role, Wayne works alongside the 18 Papatipu Rūnanga of Ngāi Tahu to invest in regional economic development opportunities that deliver localised/kainga-centric outcomes.
Wayne was the General Manager, Operations for the health and social services arm of Ngai Tahu. Wayne then left to establish Te Pūtahitanga – successfully winning the South Island’s largest social services contract in the process. He has also been the programme leader for tribal economies; creating, Puna Pākihi, the award winning platform that works alongside Ngāi Tahu Whānui to make their business ideas a reality. Most recently, he worked for Ngāi Tahu Property as their Commercial Partnerships Manager, where he was responsible for the firm’s deal-flow pipeline; securing Te Pā Tahuna, a $250m residential development in Queenstown and the yet to be built CDHB carpark.
Wayne has a degree in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Engineering Management. He has also completed an executive management programme at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and earned a Masters of Business Administration – with Welch Scholar Distinction – from the Jack Welch Management Institute in Washington, DC.