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Waikato Hapu Facing Constitutional Crisis

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Earlier this year Te Kauhanganui Inc Soc (TKI) (principal governing authority of Waikato Tainui) confirmed its new members from which a new executive committee (Te Arataura – TAA) was formed.

TAA stated it would:
‘Nurture relationships; maintain and uphold the objects of TKI; work in a consensus manner; and work collaboratively with TKI to ensure clarity on the powers, roles and responsibilities of TAA.’

Since that time TAA has failed to uphold its own ‘principles’, undermined TKI and its 2011 Rules and it interfered with the election of marae delegates.
Due to the seriousness of the arbitrary actions taken by the committee members Chen Palmer was instructed to provide an opinion on the validity of the elections of Hiiona Marae and the validity of the actions of TAA in these processes. TAA had asked Minter Ellison Rudd Watts to provide an opinion on the same matters.
Chen Palmer’s (12-page) legal opinion is summarised in part:

The actions of the CEO of Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust (WRLT) in refusing to publish an election certificate from Hiiona Marae containing the minimum requirements were ultra-vires (or beyond the powers) of the 2011 Rules.

Members did not complain in time of the first election, the first election certificate or the publication of names in the Waikato Times (10 Dec 2011). Therefore the enabling mechanism for TAA to investigate allegedly invalid elections was not triggered.

TAA published the election certification without appropriate consultation with TKI Officers (as required by Rules) on a significant governance and constitutional matter; and without consideration for the risk this decision might pose to TKI; and

This conduct has the potential – if it has no already done so – to bring TKI into disrepute – thus triggering the disqualification and removal provisions of Rule 5.3.

In summary the CEO’s action in both investigating invalidity and omitting to publish the Hiiona representative’s names was contrary to the Rules and therefore invalid or illegal.

That the actions of TAA and the CEO to publish without notice to the TKI Officers represents something of a constitutional crisis: the management arm of TKI has of its own volition without consultation decided to ignore the fact the Hiiona Marae has three incumbent members already in place for the 2012-2015 triennial term.

(3) Comments

  1. Ngawai Robinson

    There are many whanau in Waikato Tainui today bursting with pride to see Waahi Pa make a stand to protect their Mana and also to actively support and voice their concerns at the mistreatment of other Raupatu Marae i.e. Hiiona Marae – it’s this invisible thread that binds the spirit of our people together. I’m very happy that our tikanga hasn’t been discarded despite everything that’s happened to us lately. Matua Tom Roa… the captain is always the last person to leave the waka – not the first one. Shit happens when Maori corporate elitism leave behind the ways of the tribal village in their quest for MORE of everything! I think it’s time to fix these issues, Matua Tom please lead Te Arataura to apologise to our people beginning with Te Kauhanganui Inc - 'kia tau te rangimarie' - let there be peace.” Allow tikanga to head core Te Arataura business decisions – never forget there is still a major role and place for our villages in the evolution of Tainui business practice: it’s called PARTNERSHIP, PARTICIPATION and PROTECTION.

  2. Ngawai Robinson

    In short, as a shareholder member my whanau and I refuse to accept the status quo, we’ll stand up to entrenched interests and challenge decisions that aren’t in the best interest of our entire village. I believe that without this essential leadership, legal solutions will remain a necessary and insufficient trade off.

  3. Ngawai Robinson

    It appears we are revisiting the past as Tom Roa( story-sad-times-for-Waikato-Tainui-opinion Sept 2010)current chair of Te Araraura a sub-committee of Te Kauhanganui our tribal Parliament, seems to have had a change of heart recently and is throwing all caution to the wind? As a result of this behaviour Mr Roa and his supporters have triggered what appears to be another constitutional crisis(Waikato Times story-King sacks critic 7/12/2010)at an operational management level. In my opinion, Mr Roa has further frustrated Te Kauhanganui Inc our tribal Parliament by calling a hui-a-iwi set for 12 July at Waahi Marae in a decisive move to discuss matters related to another hapu(a) Hiiona Marae elections and (b) governance issues, contrary to the instructions laid out by Te Kauhanganui who convene on 21 July to cover these matters and other business at Hopu Hopu. This is a renegade move at best and I think it will require an entire village to resolve these important matters in a clear-sighted and purposeful manner. But it seems that Mr Roa and his cohorts are playing jump rope by putting the interests of a few sub-committee members ahead of the concerns of an entire village (tribal Parliament) who are ultimately the voice of our people. What annoys me most about this political move is that Hiiona hapu didn’t cede their sovereignty rights, but you wouldn’t have guessed this by the way Mr Roa and Ms Parekawhia Mclean are actively ignoring those facts in order to justify their current monopoly. In your opinion Mr Roa: “It can only end in sad times for the people of Waikato Tainui”. I think it’s time for a fresh perspective; you guys need to stop denigrating the decision-making and governance rights where our tribal village is concerned.

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