Unsurprisingly, Hannah Tamaki is back in the running for the presidency of the Maori Womenís Welfare League. Tamaki took her case to the High Court after members of the League removed her name from the ballot papers amid fears that Tamaki, and by extension the Destiny Church, were attempting a hostile takeover. Justice Kos in his ruling on Wednesday held that Hannah Tamaki is entitled to run for President of the League. However, the Court also expressed concern around the creation of ten Destiny affiliated branches, in which Hannah Tamaki had a hand in creating, and held that those branches are ineligible to vote. Justice Kos held:
I find the manner in which the new branches have been established completely contrary to the practices and tikanga of the league.
Although, the Court did single out three branches with loose connections to Destiny as legitimate. The Court made it clear that Tamaki’s religious beliefs do not preclude her bid. The MWWL is strictly “non-sectarian”, this means the organisation itself cannot proclaim and/or take a religious stance. It does not mean that the organisations representatives are not entitled to hold personal, or more specifically, religious beliefs.
In short the actions of the League were unlawful, but perhaps justified in the sense that the League is attempting to protect its history and mana. Hannah Tamaki should have the opportunity to stand, however her minions should not have the opportunity to vote. Hannah Tamaki has, according to the Court, conducted her bid lawfully. She has not, however, conducted her bid with integrity. Rigging the competition is not on and if Tamaki has any sense of fairness she should stand down. I have said it again and again:
Destiny Church wants to secure social services contracts. The government has, on a number of occasions, refused to award contracts to Destiny Church. Clearly the Church cannot secure contracts under the Destiny mast. Consequently, the Tamakiís have identified the MWWL as a potential vehicle for their new money spinner, i.e. providing social services. The MWWL is one of the most respected Maori organisations in New Zealand and can run on their record promoting Maori wellbeing. The MWWL provides an attractive prospect for the Tamakiís.
I doubt Hannah Tamaki will win. Many League members are fiercely opposed to her candidacy and will make voting against Tamaki a priority. I guess Tamakiís play has been good one respect: the MWWL appeared to be in decline, however Tamakiís play for the presidency appears to have energised the League and spurred renewed interest in the League and what it stands for.