Iwi has the opportunity to reach a new milestone
Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated
Thursday 14th July 2006
Ngati Kahungunu has the opportunity to reach a new milestone on July 22nd as members vote on constitutional changes that could result in an estimated $25 million worth of fish quota and $25 million of shares in Aotearoa Fisheries Limited returning to the iwi.
Constitutional changes include Board downsizing from 21 to 10 members, a new election process for Board members and a withdrawal mechanism for Rongomaiwahine.
About 30,000 Ngati Kahungunu members from 18 years of age are eligible to vote. Ballot papers have been posted to 7,500 members who are already on the register. Others are able to register to vote at the Hui-a-Iwi to be held on 22 July 2006 at Kahuranaki Marae or can register to receive a postal ballot. Ngati Kahungunu needs 75% agreement of those voting to proceed to the settlement stage.
Ngahiwi Tomoana says that ‘if this threshold is achieved, it will bring to an end a long and winding road, that has been travelled from marae to marae, High Court to Court of Appeal, to the Privy Council twice and to Parliament which introduced the Maori Fisheries Act in September last year.
It has been one of the most hotly contested debates ever amongst Maori to determine who should be the recipient and manager of this Treaty Settlement: whanau, hapu, iwi, urban groups or individuals. The view that iwi is the rightful recipient has prevailed.’
Ngati Kahungunu has established an Asset Holding Company to manage these resources on behalf of the iwi.
One of the principle advocates for Ngati Kahungunu was Eru Smith on behalf of the Takitimu District Council. He was followed by Billy Gemmell, Ben Couch, Tohara Mohi, John Scott, Albert Walker, Murray Hemopo and Monti Paku, all who have long passed on.
‘It is a relief that Ngati Kahungunu is nearing the end of this long road and can move on in pursuit of new goals and broader horizons.’ Ngahiwi Tomoana said.