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Jodi Ihaka interviews Tukoroirangi Morgan

December, 2010
Marae INVESTIGATES Jodi Ihaka interviews Tukoroirangi Morgan

Point of interest – PANEL DISCUSSION:

- IHAKA: What might those obstacles be right now do you think?

- MORGAN: Well clearly and to put it succinctly I can’t talk about the report or anything to do with Tania Martin because Tania Martin has dragged us into the court.

The interview has been transcribed below. The full length panel discussion and stories from this morning’s Marae Investigates can also be seen on tvnz.co.nz at, http://tvnz.co.nz/marae

Marae Investigates is repeated on TVNZ 7 at 6.10pm and 10.35pm on Sunday nights, 12.35pm on Mondays, and Saturday at 7.35am .


IHAKA: Kia ora tuku thank you for coming, when you hear the comments in that story how does that make you feel?

MORGAN: look its hugely disappointing that the attacks not only on the king but also on the integrity of the tribe comes from within so I guess for us we’re no strangers to controversy we had 1.2 mill acres taken from us in 1864 we’ve and the road to redemption to restoring economic power and our influence in our rohe has been a long journey and that journey has been at tie difficult and what’s clear is that even in the future when we celebrate new successes we made considerable progress going forward there’s gonna be some impediments and some obstacles but those are that galvanise us those are things that make us determined to continue

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IHAKA: What might those obstacles be right now do you think?

MORGAN: well clearly and to put it succinctly I can’t talk about the report or anything to do with Tania Martin because Tania martin has dragged us into the court

IHAKA: can you confirm

MORGAN: and the tribes been injuncted so the tribes been injuncted

IHAKA: when did that happen?

MORGAN: that happened today

IHAKA: Friday, and Tues we go tot the high court I so what can you tell me about how Tainui will react

MORGAN: look it’s a, you know we’ve tried as hard as possible to keep it out of the courts coz we have a process within our own rules and that process is better described as a disputes resolution process we tried to go there but today we’re injuncted and that’s the only comment I’m prepared to make right now everything that rises out of this issue will arise in that high court case

IHAKA: exactly how does this dispute process work can you talk me through it

MORGAN: yeah look under the parliament rule 22.1 a disputes resolution process can be triggered by a member of the parliament or a member of the executive which I am both and I triggered that with a letter last week that ran out today and after that it becomes a mediation process o that mediation process gonna happen beginning next Monday, so we’ve got a bit of a problem and the problem we tried to remain aloof from the courts we’re now being taken to the high court taken from Tania martin so we have no gumption but to be there I

IHAKA: Are you saying you would rather follow the Tainui Maori process and sort it out that way if that’s the case what would you do

MORGAN: we always favoured an avenue that would keep us out of the courts and there’s a good reason why the disputes resolution process is in the rule of the tribal parliament and that is our history has told us in as recent as 2000 when our ariki was taken to court the late maori queen was taken to court and those memories are still raw and it was always our view that we stay away from the court and as a result of our commitment to do that a disputes resolution process was triggered I

IHAKA: why cant you talk about the public perception of Kingi Tuheitia and him swearing?

MORGAN: Because everything goes back to the high court so I’m unable to comment I

IHAKA: is that why there’s been no initial denial that he swore from the iwi

MORGAN: no im not prepared to even have an obtuse conversation with you in relation to the matter because it goes back to the, and that’s the Tania martin case which we’ll hear and we’ll have plenty of time for that in the high court I

IHAKA: ok I was gonna ask in what circumstances is the f word appropriate?

MORGAN: As I said in the relation to the utterances of the king and im not gonna go there so there m
IHAKA: Lets talk about you and the responsibility that you have in what going on right now they talk about you being in the hot seat and you’re used to it, is it fair?

MORGAN: its part of the job

IHAKA: are you doing it well do you think?

MORGAN: well look I have to do it 1 step at a time, its an onerous responsibility when you have the full weight of 60000 tribal members on your shoulders and you’re trying to work through a process that ensures stability and confidence in the tribe with the things that we do so we’re a fantastic tribe we’ve had huge successes and even though the backgrounder showed a few people coming and going we’re a fantastic tribe and just this year in the face of the recession we’ve made a net profit of a million dollars and our new airport hotel is under budget and on time the new retail centre we recently opened, these are the successes we celebrate for our people, here’s the disappointing thing, more often than not we get blind hit or knee capped from within and that in itself a major concern for us no one likes to walk when you get tackled from behind from your own

IHAKA: Isn’t that just all part and parcel of iwi politics two steps forward half a step back?

MORGAN: iwi politics is always a difficult mine field to walk, it’s a cauldron its tough but actually you just got to be there to do the hard yards and im there to do the hard yards hat is your current position on Takutaimoana bill M so we have there’s some core elements, we think the issue of being able to go to court and to go head to head with the minister is a very good approach in relation to our concerns with FSSB bill we do have some concerns that determine the rights for our people because we think the tests are an issue
IHAKA: why are you happy to go to court for that issue but not for employment issues within the tribe

MORGAN: well this isn’t an employment issues

IHAKA: no Tania martin

MORGAN: no Tania martin is not an employment issue because she was an elect officer she’s not employed by the tribe she’s an elected officer which is completely different I right m so as I say our position in relation to FSSB is quite clear there are good ingredients and good elements in that bill it’s a million miles from where the 2004 act is its an improvement there’s still a long way to go but we trust our negotiation skills to get us there and to get us a level of confidence in terms of where we stand on the Takutaimoana bill

IHAKA: are those issues because not all people of Waikato are not supporting you and they’re saying you don’t have their mandate?

MORGAN: well let me be quite clear in 2004 Lady Raiha Mahuta and I were given the mandate by the tribal parliament to resolve settlements including the outstanding settlements including the west coast harbour that’s in the 1995 section 8 clause 2.2 of the act now I reminded the minister of treaty negotiations last week now you’re not about to break your own law because you cant be talking to our hapu the only mandated organisation is the iwi organisation Waikato Tainui so even despite the rumblings on the coast actually there’s only but 1 mandated organisation that’s the tribe and im the principle negotiator and that’s confirmed and people should avail themselves to the facts coz it was confirmed and minuted in 2004 signed off in front of the parliament and endorsed by the parliament I

IHAKA: how do you handle the accusations that you’ve been having closed door deals with the prime minister and the treaty minister?

MORGAN: look my job is to get to way of opportunity using my influence whether it’s with the prime minister or any other minister in this country to position my tribe in the strongest place possible and if that amounts to going to have a cuppa tea with the prime minister or wherever im there because my responsibility is to look after my people and position them in the gateways of opportunity and I make no, I don’t apologise about that

IHAKA: the iwi leaders they’ve been coming under a bit of flack being too powerful and having instant access to all the right people, how much pressure do you feel having to balance out all that?

MORGAN: We as a kingitanga iwi our job is as custodian of the kingitanga movement so my job is to in a significant way build relations with iwi throughout the country it is interesting that the koroneihana we had 52 iwi reps hosted by us celebrating maori king now sure its going to be tough because there are people jumping up and down on the outside but the people that turn up to the hui are mandated people in their own right so the job of the iwi leaders forum is to take issues like water the ownership of water to the certain place, and its up to individual iwi to do their own , now we’ve never ever said that we speak on behalf of iwi what we do is we get to a certain place and the doors open for them to work out their issues individually, that’s the kaupapa.

IHAKA: tuku are you confident you can fix all these problems within Tainui

MORGAN: its always gonna be tough and Rome wasn’t built in a day our old people lost their lives for their lands, these are just words so in sorting out the differences amongst our iwi we have to trust ourselves people are sensible people are pragmatic and all we wanna do is go from here to here because in 1995 when Sir Robert cut the deal the fact that we lost 1.2 million acres and was only given 170 mill dollars the tribe is now worth 700mill dollars so we’ve come along way and we’re doing some fantastic things and our people are actually very happy but the incident that’s happened over the last couple of 2 weeks have been totally unnecessary because the report was an inaccurate report so in the end what were saying here is this despite those set backs we’re gonna carry on for the ones that come before us and the unborn generations that we represent.

IHAKA: Kia ora thank you very much.

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