Jan 19, 2012

More trouble in Tainui

Trouble in Tainui continues with the King signalling his intentions to take over Te Kauhanganui (Tainui Parliament) and Te Arataura (Tainui Executive). From the Waikato Times:

Discussions to replace the Maori King have ramped up after he announced he wanted to take over Tainui's tribal parliament.

King Tuheitia, also the paramount chief of Waikato-Tainui, told a meeting at Horahora marae, near Rangiriri, on New Year's Day he wanted to take control of the tribe's parliament, Te Kauhanganui (TK), and its executive, Te Arataura (TA). He warned Tainui marae not to attend the next meeting of the tribal parliament, scheduled for February 26.

King Tuheitia also said he wanted to see the back of the Tainui executive's controversial leader Tukoroirangi Morgan, and demanded a new TA.

The Kingitanga sits above TK, but in a ceremonial sense rather than a legal sense. TK is, I believe, an incorporated society with its own rules that prevent the King from removing trustees and, for lack of a better term, commandeering the society. Case in point, when the King removed Tania Martin as Chair of TK the Court found that the King had no legal power to do so. Consequently, Martin was reinstated. TK’s rules state that the Chair can only be removed or instated via a tribal vote. The same rules apply to TA. Therefore, the King cannot remove Tuku Morgan.

I think it’s funny that the King wants to use his ceremonial power to remove Tuku. Last year when the King removed, or tried to remove, Tania Martin, he did so at the request of Tuku Morgan. Tuku obviously believed the King had the legal power, or more probably the mana, to remove her. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and the King is looking to use his authority as Arikinui of Tainui to remove Tuku. I wonder if Tuku will cry foul, even though he tried to have the same thing done almost a year ago.

I don’t think the King is going to be removed, nor do I think the King will do any removing. The tribe is too dysfunctional. TA is delaying the election of a new board and there are accusations of financial cover ups and crony appointments. Last year Tainui stumbled from controversy to controversy. Trouble in Tainui erupted when Tania Martin released a damning report criticising TA. In response, Tuku Morgan lobbied Kingi Tuheitia to remove Tania Martin as Chair of TK. The King subsequently sacked Ms Martin only for the Court to reinstate her. Martin then publicly released an affidavit which was a damning indictment against TA. TA responded in kind with Tuku publicly slagging Tania Martin on Native Affairs. The tit for tat battle continued with the main events been the repeated attempts by TA to block meetings of TK, a police complaint against Tania Martin and, finally, a failed vote to remove Tuku Morgan.

I’m not sure how to the tribe will fix their problems, hell, a clean out of TK and TA might be the right approach. However, this will never happen with the cunning fox Tuku Morgan on one side and the blundering bear Kingi Tuheitia on the other.

Having said that, if anyone has the mana to redirect Tainui it’s Kingi Tuheitia. However, the likes of Morgan and the rest of TA think that they’re above everyone, even the King and TK. TA won’t go down without a fight, and if they do go down they’ll bring the whole house crashing down too. I’m not seeing a clean solution to this. Last year I simplified Tainui's problems 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.

I think that still stands. 


  1. Welcome back. Kicking Tikoroirangi Morgan out is a good move - and probably the only good move the Tainui king has ever done.

  2. We had trouble with a King at one time, we cut his head off (after proper due process of course) and all those that followed probably kept that firmly in their minds if they were tempted to meddle
    That is not to say that nothing should be done in this case just that the people have to want it and be prepared to act

  3. Nga mihi o te tau hou Morgan... tena nga mihi ano mo nga kupu whakamarama... yes very hard to understand the roles and direction of the main players... too many... too complicated...

  4. @ Francis, I agree, people have to want it and be prepared to act. It is apparent that all efforts by Tainui, rather, those that want it and acting accordingly, are being subjected to a pattern of corrupted and offensive behaviour that would send Tuku Morgan and most of his board to jail, particularly Tuku Morgan. I have observed this man in the media and he is a compulsive liar. I am not Tainui, nor am I Maori, but if I can see how this man is denigrating the integrity of his own people, it is beyond comprehension how the people on the Tainui council are blind to it and continue to support this man. Perhaps, now that their king can see this man for what he is, the blindly loyal subjects may follow. Their king has no power according to the law and Tainui must rethink their loyalty for a man that swears at them and demands over $1m a year. I suspect that by detaching himself from Tuku Morgan their king has woken up to the fact that the people put him there and the people can take him away.

  5. Morgan, let me make this simple, Tainui has a tail use to wagging the dog and the dog has woken up, finally, with the head of the dog leading the way. Martin is not dum. She knows where her people are at and where they need to be. Every time Morgan and his tails goes on television you just know that Martin has made a move and Morgan is panicking. Unlike Morgan, she doesn't play public political poker with the mana of her people. In contrast, Morgan would sell his people off in a second for the right price.

    Maelene Morgan and no, I am not related to that man. Thank God.

  6. Tena koe Morgan

    I wholeheartedly agree with your conclusion on this matter. Serving the people is the purpose of Iwi post-settlement establishments. Reality is, too many of our own in governance see it as a job and an investment in their future, rather than the future of our people. That egotistical belief leads to arbitrary remuneration decisions that puts high costs of governance above the needs of our people, and those decisions have an adverse impact on distributions. Any establishment responsible for doing this should revisit the purpose of its existence.

    Tainui has a history of loyalty to the kaupapa o te Kingitanga. Whether that should commit the establishment to paying millions of dollars to one man above the needs of the people, conflicts again with the purpose of these establishments.

    Perhaps Tainui should revisit the purpose of their establishment. Morgan oversells the values of our assets in my view. As an ageing beneficiary of Tainui with mokopuna, I am yet to see that so-called value reflected in the development of our people. Sad but true.

  7. It's all about the money and one fool after another steps up to try and make it all his own!



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