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High Court Judgment on Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust

High Court Judgment on
Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust

Kia ora,

Last week, the High Court deliveredits judgment in the case taken by the National Urban Māori Authority (NUMA) and Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust.

The legal action followed the Special General Meeting held in June last year where iwi made decisions relating to governance arrangements for Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust, among other matters concerning the Fisheries Settlement entities.

At the meeting, iwi voted to increase the number of directors on Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trustee Limited from three to a maximum of five. You will also recall that representatives of NUMA and Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust (Willie Jackson and John Tamihere) addressed the meeting.

The High Court judgment centres on the interpretation of s 88(2) of the Māori Fisheries Act, related to the criteria for appointment of directors to Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trustee Limited. The court’s decision clarifies legislative ambiguity in this area.

The Court also found that urban Māori organisations were not provided adequate opportunity to present their views on proposed changes through the process of the Iwi Working Group, which was established under the review to provide information and advice to iwi prior to the Special General Meeting.

Notwithstanding this, the court said the decisions iwi made at the SGM could be reported to the Minister for Primary Industries, who will also have the benefit of considering the court’s decision.

Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust was established to administer a $20 million fund to promote education, training and research in fisheries, fishing and fisheries-related activities for Māori. Over a number of years it has implemented various training programmes and handed out scholarships targeted to improve Māori educational achievement and lift workforce participation by Māori.

Te Ohu will look to re-engage with urban Māori groups in the coming weeks. We will provide further analysis of the court’s judgment at a later time and place it on our website. In the meantime, Te Ohu has issued a statement to media. Mr Tamihere has also given interviews to Radio Waatea and Radio New Zealand on the matter.

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