Tainui in turmoil (Opinion)

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My name is Tom Roa, I am theformer chairman ofthe Waikato-Tainui Parlimanent, Te Kauhanganui, I am a former member of the Executive Board -Te Arataura. I am also a Senior Lecturer at Waikato University and have been blessed with the opportunity to study and become proficient in knowledge of Waikato-Tainui history and whakapapa.

I ampassionate about myiwi, and Te Kingitanga. I would be grateful if you could publish the attached opinion, which I hopeprovides some clarity to what has become a fraught and difficult chapterfor our people.

These are sad times for the people of Waikato-Tainui.

The decision by King Tuheitia earlier this week to sack the chairperson of Te Kauhanganui o Waikato-Tainui, Tania Martin, was extremelyill-advised and has the potential to cause further acute embarrassment not just to the King, and the Kingitanga, but more, to Maoridom.

Te Kauhanganui o Waikato-Tainui is an Incorporated Society which has a constitution and rules.

It was established as the democratic representative body for the people of Waikato-Tainui, to provide sound governance to manage the tribes asset and resources following the settlement of the tribes land claims in 1995.

Te Kauhanganui, which is made up of 3 representatives (a kaumatua, marae and rangatahi spokespersons From each of the tribe’s 68 marae) was established by King Tuheitias late uncle, Sir Robert Mahuta.

Sir Robert, who led the settlement of Waikato-Tainui land claims, was a visionary who understood the need to develop systems, structures and rules to provide the governance required to manage the tribe’s$170 million land settlement assets and cash.

The decision to establish a Tribal Parliament to manage these affairs was also driven by an understanding for the need to always protect the Kingitanga to ensure it remained separate from more common matters. It also ensured that the Head of the Kahui Ariki, as the Head of the Kingitanga was not involved in the pressures that occur for any entity when it moves from managing a moderate financial base, to one controlling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Head of the Kahui Ariki has but one representative on tribal governance matters: the Kahui Ariki representative. This person, the only one not elected by the people, sits on the tribes 11 member executive Te Arataura, whose remaining 10 members are elected from within Te Kauhanganui members every three years.

The only person the King may remove in accord with the Rules of Te Kauhanganuiis his representative. This position is currently filled by Toll Tranzlink Group General Manager, Greg Miller. In a recent release King Tuheitia appointed Mr Miller, who is the only non-tribal member involved in either Te Arataura or Te Kauhanganui, as interim chairperson to replace Mrs Martin. This action is in breach of the constitution and the rules.

The result is that now Waikato-Tainui are in a constitutional crisis. This is a crisis inLAW, the ‘ture’ of which the Kings advisors are either ignorant, or have chosen to ignore.

It is also sad that the Kings advisors are either ignorant of or have chosen to ignore the strictures of LORE, or ‘tikanga’.

Our tribal traditions and ways are guided by tongikura, whakatauki, and pepeha which underpin our ‘tikanga’. Waikato-Tainui does not exist if we abandon our tikanga.

These tikanga have been handed down through the generations, and in the present instance we must be guided by the words of King Tuheitias ancestor Potatau, the first Maori King. At his inauguration he instructed his people ‘ Kia mau ki te Ture, te Whakapono, me te Aroha.’ – Hold fast to the Law, to the Faith, and to Love.

This is a sorry state of affairs for the Waikato-Tainui people.We mustensure our King and our rules are protected. There has been precedence in other jurisdictions,that show a constructive way forward, when there is such a crisis in play.

There must be fresh elections, and they must be held soon.

This is not to support recentill-advised actions. Because they are just that. It is to allow the people to demonstrate very clearly who they want to make decisions on resources that will provide forthis and future generations.

With Love; in Faith; and holding fast to the Law – ‘kia tau te rangimarie‘ – let there be peace.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Tuku Morgan must go. He has caused angst and anger among some tribes and

    been an embarassment to Tainui. I agree with Tom Roa the king

    must let the commercial side take care of itself whilst maintaining

    a neutral stance. e tini nga pakihi i te awa tapu o Waikato, engari

    ka matakitaki marie te maunga tapu a Taupiri me nga tupuna e arahi mai Paimarire.

    >there are many commercial enterprises on the waikato river,

    peacefully overseen by the ancestors and sacred mountain of Taupiri.

    Ropata.

  2. Kia ora Tom

    Your thoughts are rational and logical.

    Upheavals such as the present impasse must not be condoned and no one should above the law of the land or the tikanga of the legislation which provides no one individual with any right to make and or exercise arbitrary decisions such as those which have occurred. Our country is not a dictatorship.

    Tuheitia has no legislative, ethical or moral authority to fire or hire any individual.

    The only person Tuheitia may remove in accord with the Rules of Te Kauhanganui is his representative Greg Miller. Further Tuheitia's decision to appoint Greg Miller as interim chairperson to replace Mrs Martin is ultra vires the constitution and the rules.

    He certainly has no power to 'appoint' a judge or decide arbitrarily a process of investigation.

    Te Kauhanganui o Waikato-Tainui is an Incorporated Society which has a constitution and rules and does provide favour or a right to individuals to act has Tuheitia has done.

    I support your stated objective of calling for fresh elections as soon as practical.

    CHRIS WEBSTER

  3. Kia ora Tom:

    Common sense, rational and logical approach

    Agree that fresh elections be held as soon as possible.

    What do we do to achieve this objective.

    Chris Webster

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