Land Court appoints sole trustee to Lake Horowhenua Trust
Horowhenua Online Channel
Maori Land Court appoints sole trustee to Lake Horowhenua Trust
by Veronica Harrod
The Maori Land Court has appointed Clinton Hemana of Rotorua sole trustee of the Lake Horowhenua Trust and the former trustees as "advisory trustees" until another election is held.
On the basis that, "...this Court should never leave a trust without trustees where incumbents are removed" Judge Harvey said in an interim judgement on October 25, "an election needs to be held as soon as possible to ensure trustees are appointed at the earliest opportunity."
The Maori Appellate Court quashed the appointment of 11 trustees after three judges said Judge Doogan had a conflict of interest in two court cases concerning Lake Horowhenua including the appointment of 11 former Lake Horowhenua trustees.
Judge Harvey said, "Mr Hemana is an experienced professional trustee who has had the opportunity to oversee complex and challenging governance arrangements over Maori land in recent years."
Mr Hemana is the managing director of Hemana Consulting Ltd and has experience in the Maori resource and agri-business sectors.
The court will oversee the election of trustees whose term of three years would have expired in November 2018, "regardless of the Appellate Court judgement," said Judge Harvey.
This is Judge Harvey's third interim judgement in response to an existing application Lake Horowhenua owners Philip Taueki and Charles Rudd filed in June 2018 that trustees be removed for breaches of the trust order which was submitted before the Maori Appellate Court decision.
The application was filed with the court after Mr Taueki and Mr Rudd said earthworks and construction of walkway, including excavation of ponds, was carried out at Lake Horowhenua without consultation with owners or required resource consents.
Judge Harvey said it will "assist" in the completion of Mr Taueki and Mr Rudd's application if, "former trustees were able to confirm at their earliest convenience whether any of them intend to stand for election. This will have consequences for the Rudd and Taueki proceedings."
"While I acknowledge counsels' concerns over the prospect of their clients' allegations over potential nominees' past performance being untested before an election has concluded, I am unconvinced that an election must await the outcome of the present proceedings."
A tentative date for the continuation of proceedings has been set down for November 21-23 in the Maori Land Court at Levin.
A public notice in the newspaper said a meeting for the election of Lake Horowhenua trustees is tentatively set for February 2019; nominations are by post only and have been mailed to "known addresses of trust beneficiaries."
Nominations need to be received by the Maori Land Court by 4pm 28 November and must be signed by at least two owners in Lake Horowhenua, who are also of the MuaUpoko tribe and are entitled to vote at the election.