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Ngati Paoa Trust Board Retains Its Mandate Of Ngati Paoa

Recently, an incorrect news article has stated Ngati Paoa Trust Board has lost its mandate. The article follows several Ngati Paoa members who were led by Morehu Wilson, to take over the mandate of the Ngati Paoa Trust Board which failed. The Trust Board still holds its mandate to represent Ngati Paoa, which it has been doing since 2007.

The proposed unauthorised vote and meeting was called by Mr Wilson and first advertised in the media to take place on Friday 19 October 2018. In what appears to be an attempt to mislead the Trust Board and the Iwi, a separate email was sent to the Trust Board wrongly indicating that the vote and meeting would take place on Thursday 18 October 2018. To add to the confusion, a further notice was later published in the media by Mr Wilson notifying the date of the proposed vote and meeting as Thursday 25 October 2018.

Trust Board Principal Officer, Dave Roebeck says, “It seems that Mr Wilson and his supporters were purposely trying to ensure that the Trust Board and many of our Iwi were unable to attend any meeting so we couldn’t register our objection to the meeting in person or register our vote in support of the Board. It really is against Tikanga principles and a sad abuse of process for them to stoop to those type of tactics. In the end, the Trust Board was left with no choice but to exercise its mandate and publish a notice in the NZ Herald to cancel the unauthorised meeting."

Harry Williams, Trust Board Chairperson says, “the Board could not sit down and allow a few self-interested people get away with stepping on the mana of Ngati Paoa and the iwi. As the mandated representative, the Trust Board believes if you are going to consult with the iwi that all Iwi are invited and able to attend. The Iwi and our people must come first, and the Trust Board are here to stand up for their rights, which we did by cancelling the meeting.”

“While a meeting still went ahead, it was an unauthorised and invalid meeting. Importantly the Crown and Te Puni Korkiri did not attend possibly because they also recognised that the meeting was invalid and an abuse of process. Any vote that took place at the meeting was invalid and so the mandate of the Trust Board stands strong,” says Mr Williams.

A key concern of the Trust Board relates to a separate entity, the Ngati Paoa Iwi Trust, who are a Post Settlement Governance Entity (the “PSGE”) for Ngati Paoa and are not suppose to come in to full effect until the Trust Board has finalised treaty settlements for Ngati Paoa with the Crown. Despite this, for the past 5 years the PSGE has been trying to usurp the Trust Board’s mandate, and has also received millions of dollars of on account treaty settlement payments. To date, the PSGE has failed to account for the millions of dollars it has received on behalf of Ngati Paoa, and have refused to provide any audited accounts to the Iwi or the Trust Board.

“An audit is absolutely necessary for transparency” asks Mr Wiliams. “If the PSGE isn’t able to account for all of the money they have received on behalf of the people of Ngati Paoa, and show that it has all been spent in the interest of the whole iwi and not just a few self interested people, then the Trust Board will be there to hold them to account. That is the Trust Board’s role as mandated representative for Ngati Paoa,” says Mr Williams.

The Trust Board has now written to the Crown to ask the Crown to demand copies of audited accounts from 2013 of the PSGE. The Trust Board is also preparing to file an application with the High Court for audited accounts of the PSGE from 2013.

A full Ngati Paoa hui is planned for November for the whole iwi to meet and discuss these issues. In the meantime the Trust Board is focussed at ensuring Ngati Paoa’s cultural and other interests are proudly represented and preserved for future generations to come.

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