Russell Thomas

Russell (Barney) Thomas
Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Tama, Te Ātiawa, Ngāi Tahu

Knowledge of reo and whakapapa connect Barney to Te Tauihu, and he is recognised across iwi in the South Island for his leadership and contribution to Māori development.


Resident in Nelson, Barney’s strong sense of kaitiakitanga manifests in environment-related mahi including as Iwi Manager for Te Papa Atawhai (Department of Conservation). Barney holds various governance roles including Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust and Wakatū Incorporation.


Barney is a member of Ngā Uri and a descendant of the tūpuna determined by the Native Land Court 1892 as the original customary owners of the Nelson Tenths’ Reserves.

Working Group

Legal Team