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Open Letter to All Tribal Members of Waikato Tainui

[Original letter - PDF]



19th November 2012

He kororia, he maungaarongo, he whakaaro pai ki ngaa taangata katoa

Arohaina ngaa teina me ngaa tuakana

E kore e mutu te tangi ki oo taatou mate huhua o te waa no reira moe mai, okioki

Taatou ngaa kanohi ora ko te tumanako e noho ora mai ana koutou i oo koutou kainga takitahi huri noa i te rohe.

I have asked my Office to ensure this letter gets to as many Waikato Tainui tribal members as possible, knowing the limitations of time and contact information available to them many of you may not get a copy, therefore I apologize. To those of you who wish to, please make contact with my office and we can then get one sent to you. My aim for this letter is to communicate to as many of you as I can my recent decisions in relation to the upcoming Kauhanganui & Te Arataura meetings scheduled for the 25th November and December 2012. My wish is that you will all gain an understanding of what is happening based on what I have been exposed to and engaged in regarding these long drawn out issues. Let me start with “My Review” which I present to you point by point.

Point A

It has been nearly three (3) years for me, when the leadership struggles started within the tribal organizations. I say “for me” purposefully as it started on the day I granted an audience to both Tukoroirangi Morgan and Tania Martin, which was the day after the elections that brought both of these people together again on the Kauhanganui. We discussed several issues including the road and tasks ahead. Toward the end of the Hui, I was finally able to put two of the most pressing questions on my mind at that time, to both Tuku and Tania, (1) could they both work together for the good of this tribe and its people? And (2) what would either of them do, if a dispute or conflict ensued between them?

I got involved in trying to resolve the disputes very early and yes, I made a decision based on evidence that was brought to me to consider and I made a choice to weigh in on an argument that put me at odds with a lot of people and Marae. I do not regret those decisions only to say, I wish today that I had of been more thorough and stronger in so much as I have watched from a distance, I have measured progress and I have taken advice from both inside and outside our tribe.


Most of what has been achieved is small when you consider the opportunities that we as a tribe have missed. We have suffered huge losses in the form of wasted resources and confusion is rampant around the tribe and amongst our whanau.

I had a deep sense of despair at that initial Hui as it was clear that the personalities were going to collide and in my mind there appeared to be no greater purpose that would carry these two above the obvious clashes that I sensed would happen in the future. Some time later, Tuku was subsequently removed as the Chairman of Te Arataura and from the conflict.

It is however obvious that Tuku was not the centre of the problem as some promoted and still promote. With the benefit of hindsight, Tuku was basically in the way of a deliberate and organized power grab, and he was quickly replaced with the present leadership of Te Arataura who are now spending more tribal funds to fight with Tania Martin and others. Te Arataura and Te Kauhanganui executive members are talking past each other and are refusing to meet and reconcile their differences. Both sides continue to consult their lawyers and the promises of responsible and sound leadership by both parties are both empty and meaningless. Waikato Tainui deserves better leadership and we are certainly not getting what we expected.

When will the in-fighting stop and when will we stop trying to sort out our issues in the Courts?

Point B.

From that day to this, so much has happened, regardless of the factions and groups who have emerged as parties to the struggles and fights and their respective opinions and interpretations that they claim are justification for the fights, they have continued on in the name of the people and members of the Tribe who don’t have a voice and/or voted them onto the tribe.

Because I have been updated and informed regularly from day one, I have some degree of understanding and knowledge of this entire saga. I assert that the remaining 90% of the 62,000 tribal beneficiaries know absolutely nothing of what has and continues to happen within the two organizations and amongst its leadership.

When are both parties going to include our tribal members and give them a real voice through either a referendum or a Hui a Iwi that they fund to help our people to attend.

As leader of Kiingitanga, I will spend the next 12 months working with our people on Kiingitanga & the Tribes Kaupapa. We must not pick and choose who we work with; our duty is to work for the good of all our people. I recently called a Hui to Nationalize the Water debate and 1300 plus people turned up. Te Kauhanganui and Te Arataura called a Hui a Iwi and you barely got 100 people.

What is deeply disappointing is that some of the Te Arataura leadership didn’t even turn up at the last Hui a Iwi. Holding positions on Te Arataura is not a right, it is a duty to serve our people and given they are well paid they should work for the privilege.

Point C.

My Late Mother the Queen and I stood together in 1995 on the Marae at Turangawaewae when the Raupatu Settlement was ushered into being. We were in Government House when the Land Settlement was assented into Law by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll. I done the same thing 2 years ago with the River Settlement and I sat with the Governor General in Government House Vogel in Wellington as he signed it into Law. The responsibility was my Mothers in her time and mine in my time, to guard and watch over these two very historical Settlements. I understood what was asked of her at that time and me today.

She discharged her duty her way and I witnessed her demise when she suffered the indignity of being a named defendant in a full High Court case. This case must never be forgotten because it was led by several people who currently hold leadership roles within Waikato Tainui. They include people like Kiingi Porima, Hemi Rau and Tom Roa.

Point D.

I made a concerted decision back then that I would never allow myself to be treated that way if I ever got put in the same position as Te Arikinui. I did however temper my decision and those thoughts two or so years into my reign by adding the following – “If the needs of the majority of the people are ignored, dismissed and over-ruled without significant justification, then I will dedicate my time, resources and effort to correcting it.” In other words “if people building is replaced with empire building, then I will use all my energy and skill to make the necessary changes.”

The case brought against my Mother the Queen solved nothing for Waikato Tainui. Look at it today. The fallout gave a handful of people a false sense of skill, ability, and mana as they moved to lead the people. More damaging to us as a tribe, was the misconception that they done it for and were mandated by the people. This is still happening today, in the name of our Iwi.

All of you who proclaim leadership by mandate, I challenge you to come out from behind your pens and stand on the Marae where you can face our people and put your case. Do this for no fees or costs and do it on your own instead of with Lawyers and QC’s.

The people give you the mandate and they expect you to be accountable for all your actions

Point E.

Mandate and the Right to Lead has to be taken seriously, not be used as a tool to advance false goals and aims that are pitched at being for the “Good of the People”. The ‘rule book ‘ has been the almighty bible for the Kauhanganui and Te Arataura and has become the mechanism to separate and divide our people. It has polarized views and has impeded this tribe.

Point F.

The rulebook has taken the place of Mana and has been handed to the Courts to mediate and decide on. This has to stop as it has caused irreparable damage to the tribe, the people and the Kiingitanga. When will it stop and who will stop it. How do we maintain our Charitable Status?

What is Charitable about the fighting that has been going on in the tribe for three (3) plus years, how has Te Kauhanganui reconciled the expense of Lawyers, QC’s, Fees and costs alongside the charitable objectives of the Trust Deeds that govern this tribe. Has the Charities Commission commented on the risks to our Charitable Status? Has Inland Revenue commented?

All of you who perpetuate this kind of irresponsible and cavalier behavior with Raupatu money must stop. If it was your money, WOULD YOU SPEND IT THE SAME WAY? Yeah right!

As the Paramount Chief of this tribe and Leader of the Kiingitanga, I refresh my mandate each year at Koroneihana, giving all of you the opportunity to challenge or dispute my role and position. Of all leaders in Maoridom, I am the one only person in the one only institution that has to do this and it has been done for 157 years. I challenge those of you in leadership positions in Te Kauhanganui and Te Arataura, to refresh your mandate and go back to your people.

For those of you who are perpetuating ongoing fights and imposing costs on us that go with the fights, I demand you step down immediately and cease imposing your will over the majority of this tribe and its people.

I have spoken openly about the fact that if I had the authority and power to dissolve Te Kauhanganui and conversely Te Arataura, I would have three (3) years ago. I am looking three (3) years ahead now and there is no way that I am going to remain silent and stand aside to allow dysfunctionality to continue. I will not be judged by my people for my in-action, when I am capable of acting even though my actions may be seen as intrusive, I want to know in my heart that I tried. The leadership of Te Kauhanganui and Te Arataura has been reckless and shameful.

Many of you inside and outside of Te Kauhanganui and Te Arataura have all made judgments of me, my decisions, my behavior, my words, my appearance, my children, my wife, my office and my staff.

I have continued to try to correct and improve myself regardless of your criticisms. These are challenging times and I too must up skill and be vigilant about how to prepare for the future.

I now challenge those in leadership positions, executive board members and tribal staff to deliver for the tribe, our people and Kiingitanga. Show us by actions not empty promises that you are deserving of your job with the tribe.

Point G.

I called into the Offices at Hopuhopu last week to collect a copy of the recent Annual report of the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust and spent that night reading it through and understanding its contents. I attended the Tangi of Onehau Manuera at Te Teko. I met with the Chairman of Tainui Group Holdings, Sir Henry Van der Heyden in my office regarding his progress and direction. I met with the three (3) Tainui Iwi Chairs on their updates and progress. I had an update on the Water High Court Case from Sir Eddie Drury. I met with Dame Catherine Tizard and Owen Glenn in my Office regarding the Glenn Inquiry into Child Abuse, I attended the Rangatahi Hui at Te Ohaaki Marae as they worked through my Charter. I asked Hukiterangi and Tom Moana to present my Charter to the Kahui Kaumatua. I met with the Spring Hill Prison Management in my office. I attended a Powhiri to welcome a visiting authority from Hawaii on Charter Schools. I received a delegation of Ngati Koroki o Kahukura Kaumatua and claims team to brief me on their upcoming Settlement. I had lunch with Te Arawa Group Holdings CEO in Rotorua and was briefed on progress as a courtesy. I attended the unveiling for Joyce Paekau and I received Tuku Morgan as he came to seek my permission to contest the Chairmanship of the Te Kauhanganui at the upcoming Hui on the 25th Nov or the AGM in December. This was my last three (3) days as I prepare to depart for Fiji today. In between all of the above, my Secretary and I put this letter together, which I hoped would be ready last week but I ran out of time.

Point H.

My point is that over and above my typical appointments, some things will drop out from my week that push buttons for me and make me think again or re-visit an issue that was lying dormant. When this happens, it is my obligation to work it through and make a decision, especially if it affects the Kiingitanga and my tribe. From that perspective, I have concluded the following issues which I have noted as highlights in this letter and I ask you to consider and respect my conclusions. You don’t have to agree as some normally don’t but consider the prospects before writing these issues off. You have the choice to do what you think best like I do. My role is to seek harmony, peace, whanaungatanga, progress, prosperity for all and Wairua sustenance through Paimarire. This is what I am committed to in my Charter and this is what my vision for the next 20 years is based on. I have sent the Charter out among you; I have assigned the job of promoting and speaking to my Charter to various people. Seek it out and make a point of reading it.

No reirara e Te Iwi,


I have given approval and support to Tuku Morgan to contest the position of Chairman of Te Kauhanganui. He has the full support of the Whare Ariki and Office of the Kiingitanga.

I have asked once again, for Tania Martin and her Officers to stand down from their positions. I am also asking Te Arataura members to do the same.

I have asked that both Te Kauhanganui and Te Arataura refresh their mandates with their people and Marae at a new election.

I have asked for a referendum across all tribal Beneficiaries regarding the future of this tribe and its organizations.

I have asked that the fighting stop, the wasting of resources cease immediately, and a sense of normal be reinstated back into the organizations.


[Original letter - PDF]

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