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Ngai Te Rangi Change to Tribal Elections


2 September 2014

Ngai Te Rangi has begun a postal vote of beneficiaries to change the way representatives are elected to the two Ngai Te Rangi tribal organisations.

Ngai Te Rangi are in the challenging position of being governed by two independent tribal organisations each with a different way of electing representatives. Te Runanga o Ngai Te Rangi Iwi Trust, which holds the tribe’s fisheries assets, elects its representatives via marae-based electorates whereas Ngai Te Rangi Settlement Trust, which looks after the tribe’s Treaty settlement assets, elects its representatives via hapu-community electorates.

It is proposed to replace the Runanga’s marae-based electorates with the Settlement Trust’s hapu-community electorates one of the practical benefits being that only one election process will be required in future. A single election would elect representatives to both tribal organisations at the same time.

“Having two different tribal election processes creates confusion for our people, is inefficient and can be very expensive”, says Mr Tawhiao who is the current Chair of both Ngai Te Rangi organisations. “When considering costs alone, it could cost up to $45k to hold separate trustee elections for each organisation. Thus the current proposal could save the tribe over $20k every year”.

Postal voting opened on Friday 29 August and closes in 4 weeks on Friday 26 September. To succeed requires a minimum of 75% support of those Ngai Te Rangi adult beneficiaries who actually vote.

Mr Tawhiao acknowledges that an obvious question is why not simply reduce the two tribal organisations into one. While a good idea he says a single tribal organisation is not legally possible at this time due to issues with the Maori Fisheries Act 2014. “We have to make the best of the challenging situation we are in and this proposal is the best way to move forward”, he said.

The proposed changes should not be new to the tribe’s members having been signaled last year during the Treaty settlement ratification process. The need for change is also explicitly recognised in the Settlement Trust’s constitution.

“A significant percentage of our people voted last year in support of our settlement, and in doing so they said they wanted the tribe’s two organisations to work together better. This proposal simply gives effect to those wishes”, says Mr Tawhiao.

The proposed changes are supported by Te Runanga o Ngai Te Rangi Iwi Trust, Ngai Te Rangi Settlement Trust and Nga Potiki a Tamapahore Trust, a hapu organisation that is also part of the proposed changes.

Further information about the postal vote can be found on the tribe’s website: http://www.ngaiterangi.org.nz/


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