Aug 9, 2011

Tuku Morgan's last dance?

Could this be Tuku Morgan’s final act? From the NZ Herald:

A Tainui board has backed Tuku Morgan's leadership after a wider tribal parliamentary vote at the weekend threatened to end it.

On Saturday Mr Morgan faced a vote to remove him from chairing Te Arataura, the tribe's executive board, based on misconduct allegations.

To be successful it required 50 per cent of 65 marae attending the tribe's half-yearly Te Kauhanganui or parliamentary meeting on Saturday to vote to remove him.
Although the vote failed, the message is clear. Shape up or ship out, Tuku. 30 Marae affirmed the resolution to disqualify Tuku Morgan while 27 voted against, two abstained and six votes were deemed invalid. This may be the watershed moment in what has been a prolonged and filthy battle between Tuku Morgan and Te Arataura and Tania Martin and her supporters in Te Kauhanganui.

Having said that, some confusion remains. Initial reports suggested a plurality was enough to remove Tuku, however later claims from Te Arataura suggested that a majority was needed for a removal resolution to be successful. Consequently, Te Arataura has taken the issue to Court claiming that their interpretation of the Constitution holds that a majority is needed to remove Tuku. I cannot say who is in the right without reading the Constitution; suffice to say some interesting legal issues are raised. As an aside it is interesting to note that over the years Te Arataura have gradually altered the Constitution, even to the point of inserting some provisions of the Companies Act 1993, no doubt in an attempt to shift power from Te Kauhanganui to the Executive Board.

Trouble between Tania Martin and Tuku Morgan, and by extension Te Kauhanganui and Te Arataura, emerged late last year when Tania Martin released a report criticising Te Arataura, but in particular Tuku Morgan. Tuku then cried foul and lobbied Kingi Tuheitia to remove her. The King obliged and used his mana as Arikinui of Tainui to remove Tania Martin as Chairwoman of te Kauhanganui. Consequently, Tania Martin invoked the mana of the law and took the issue to Court seeking reinstatement. Justice Hansen obliged and held that Tania Martin’s removal was unlawful. A tit for tat public battle ensured with both sides smearing the other. Recently Tuku Morgan filed a complaint with the Police alleging financial mismanagement on Tania Martin’s part, however the Police refused to investigate the complaint claiming that there was insufficient evidence to justify an investigation.

This latest battle may be the defining moment of the war. It is clear that despite Tuku Morgan’s behind the scenes lobbying and public attacks that Tania Martin enjoys the support of Te Kauhanganui. Te Kauhanganui is the ultimate authority in Tainui and maintains the mana to speak on behalf of all of Tainui. Unless Tuku Morgan can pull Te Kauhanganui in his direction he will not win. Tuku’s favourite play is to erect procedural barriers. He engages his solicitors, Chapman Tripp for the record, and he assaults his victims with legalese and threats. For example, the meeting in question has been delayed by Tuku for months as he knew, full well may I add, that he would lose the vote.

Te Kauhanganui also voted on resolution seven: disqualification of the Executive Board. That vote failed meaning Tuku’s minions remain and appear, at least for now, safe. It appears that they have avoided been implicated in Tuku’s dodgy plays.

At its most basic this dirty episode comes down to rotten personalities and toxic tribal politics. Tainui has experienced more than its share of internal political dramas, then again most Iwi have, but Tainui’s problems seem to play out on the national stage. For me this saga speaks to the unnecessary complexity of Iwi post-settlement entities and the self-interest many of the Iwi elite operate with. The Tainui Brown Table is a putrid one, one that needs to be destroyed and remade. Remade with the interests of the people at its core. The problem Te Arataura has is that they operate like a business. They treat their operations like they are a massive corporation and the people like they are expendable and marginal shareholders. In my opinion, the sooner Tuku and his mates are removed the sooner Te Arataura can go back to serving the people. Finally, isn’t it funny how Tuku always seems to be at the centre of these dramas within Tainui. Take what you will from that.    

UPDATE: Waikato Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta has called for the issue to be resolved outside of the Court room. Mahuta is careful not to pick sides, but I tend to think she is leaning towards supporting the decisions of Te Kauhanganui. Good on her.


  1. I love how Tania Martin and Chis Webster talk on behalf of the Te kauhanganui, as if they have their full support. According to the vote they have support of 30 out of 65 marae. Is she the voice of the te kauhangnui, or less than half the TK?
    does she have the power and position to change the more than 50% rule?

  2. It appears the Court will determine the answer to that. Having said that, the Court will probably just send the issue back to TK for another vote. I am picking that TK will back Tania Martin - again.

  3. Morgan is completely unfair to Te Arataura members to label them minions. In my uninformed opinion Tuku absolutely should have seen this coming and addressed the very real discontent amongst many of the marae. But he comes off as arrogant, and that is fatal in politics. At the same time Tania and her supporters do need to give credit where it's due. Tania's spokesperson on the news alleged that there is a possibility of financial mismanagement and that accounts have not been presented in 2 years. Well, my children are beneficiaries and we received the annual report, so I dont understand how she can say its been 2 years. And as for financial mismanagement, Tuku was instrumental in negotiating the extremely generous river settlement. No other tribe will come close to achieving that financial or statutory outcome on river issues. Tuku makes sure that he is well compensated for his job, but he does perform. I'd rather pay a great salary and get results, then pay an average one and lose.

  4. sorry, i meant "it" is unfair

  5. so far, the way i see it.... Tania Martin and the personal bloggers she feeds with confidential tainui information have bagged everyone from; tuku, tuku's brother, the full te aratarua board, the kingitanga, the te kauhanganui ceo, half the staff at TGH and former tainui figures and leaders. Tuku may have his faults but at least he is getting the job done.
    from what i have read on the internet T Martin and her posse have being publishing the 50% of the total number of marae vote clause for quite some just doesn't seem valid now that the didn't reach the threshold. no matter how simple your maths is, 50% of 65(or 63) doesnt = the 30 votes achieved. te kauhanganui need to stand up against their bitter and twisted leader!

  6. Anyone who thinks its ok to do business with serial human rights abusers like Sero and wants to make money out of the incarceration of their own people has no ethics, and are rightly described as putrid.Sayonara Serco Sellout Tuku Morgan

  7. haha nicely put. I see that Martin's bloggers have now really opened the foul mouthed sewer into the Waikato and have threatened to expose all the little train pipes that feed into it. The wrath of Martin will be felt. I hope she is not at the coronation as she is clearly not a supporter of Tuheitia Paki and Te Kingitanga.

  8. * drain pipes not train pipes lol

  9. Maori people incarcerate themselves, is it not up to iwi (not just Tainui)to implement and have a say into the best way to rehabilitate them - so in turn they won't re-offend? From the press I have seen, there are 3 bids from 3 different consortia, not Serco alone. Is it a better option for the likes of Serco to operate with no iwi input?

  10. You fool, Maori cannot, by definition, incarcerate themselves. The State incarcerate Maori as a consequence of their offending. In turn offending is the result of a complex mix of different factors including mental capacity/illness, upbringing, economic status and so on. It is the place of Iwi to rehabilitate THEIR people.

  11. How could I forget the G4S paid Tuku & Co on a junket to look at prisons managed by them in Melbourne. Like Serco, G4s have a similar reprehensible human rights record against the prisoners it profits from. " The concept appalled me then and still does. First grow the raw material, then put it in a can and look after it, I said. It was investing money in the belief that there was an endless supply of losers out there waiting to be processed. It was a depressing vision of the future, one with half the tribe and their mates in prison while the other half was being paid by the state to run it. Indeed the prosperity of the tribe would depend on a continuing - and hopefully expanding - supply of the raw material.

    Of all the places Maori could invest their Treaty settlement and other money, this would have to be the most inappropriate. Ethical investment it is not."

  12. Anonymous (1): As chair of Te Kauhanganui Mrs Tania Martin has the right and can and is able to speak on Te Kauhanganui. She is mandated to so. That is her formal role. Te Arataura the executive committee - (it is not a board) - has no mandate to speak on behalf of anyone and or on behalf of the Waikato-Tainui people. Mr Morgan has presumed his mandate. It has not been confirmed by Te Kauhanganui. Recently he sought for an expired mandate for be reconfirmed. It has not been. At last weekend's vote 30 voted to have him disqualified. Thirty of the marae of Te Kauhanganui do not want him to remain.
    My role: I am an advisor to Mrs Martin - she asked me to assist her. What is the problem with this?

    Anonymous: (2): Mrs Martin would not lower herself to contribute to blogs or to do any of the things you describe. Where is your proof? What is telling we note you are familiar with the workings of sewers and drains pipes. Perhaps that is where you should concentrate your thinking.


  14. Rehabilitation, what a crock of you know what!

    The point of private investing in prisons is to make big profits off of Maori prisoners!

    Its all about the money.

  15. @ Morgan, totally agree with your comment on the unnecessary complexity of iwi post-settlement entities. It's the complexity that covers the deceit and corruption of the elite and relies on the naivety (ignorance) of the iwi.

    @ Chris Webbster, have no problems at all with you advising Tania Martin. Good to see she has support from clever people like yourself. By the way I loved how you made mincemeat out of Tuku Morgan's friend on MTV. You did it with style and a smile. Classic.

    @ Anonymous-es, get a grip and leave Tania Martin alone. Way I see it she represents the voice of the people not just half of Kauhanganu. Look around you, she has the support of tribal members, other iwi (I'm proud Tuhoe by the way), and public support. Voices of support come in more ways than one and a look at the blog sites is one way to test perception. Tania Martin cannot control how others think, so don't blame her for the thoughts and actions of others.

    Mathis Kara



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