Waikato-Tainui politician accepts removal vote

By Yvonne Tahana

Tania Martin. Photo / Maori Television.
Tania Martin. Photo / Maori Television.

The woman who King Tuheitia wanted removed from tribal office says she accepts the iwi's vote against her and won't contest it in the courts.

But the removal sets up a scenario which could see Tuku Morgan voted in as the tribal chairman of Te Kauhanganui, or parliament, in the same year the institution failed to support his bid to re-election to the tribe's executive board Te Arataura.

Ms Martin faced a motion that she'd bought the house into disrepute on Sunday, with 36 of 57 marae voting in in favour. It meant she was removed as chairwoman and also as a member of Te Kauhanganui.

Tuheitia had taken the unprecedented step of writing to the wider tribe asking for officers to stand down after years of infighting. The weekend's vote successfully accomplished what the king could not in 2010 when he fired her after she'd raised concerns about spending.

That earlier dumping proved to be outside of the rules but Ms Martin, 50, said she accepted this outcome.

She said the letter has an impact on how the vote went.

"I just think in terms of fairness and unfair advantages ...I [am] disappointed at the way it was done. There's some good, honest people in the house. I think I've had an impact - some of our iwi have woken up to what was happening."

If Mr Morgan was returned to a leadership role she "didn't have much confidence" that infighting would stop.

The instability looks set to continue. Te Arataura chairman Tom Roa said the parliament is to vote on whether his board should be removed next month.

"There is a power struggle and that resolution to remove the Arataura is on December the 8th."

In his letter last week Tuheitia criticised Mr Roa and other board members including Kingi Porima and Hemi Rau for previous court action against his late mother years ago and called for board members to retest their mandate.

Mr Roa said he could understand the king's position. "I know he's still hurting over that. I know that he's frustrated with the apparent inability of the Arataura and the officers of the Kauhanganui to get on, so in that hurt, I respect that within his letter to the tribe led him to express that hurt."

The king also called for a referendum on the tribe's institutions but Mr Roa said work on the constitutional reform was already being undertaken and there was still a huge amount of enthusiasm or "hikaka" for that to continue, he said. Consultation would have to occur before a referendum.

It is not clear if the tribe's new parliamentary chair will be voted in at the upcoming meeting. Mr Roa said of Mr Morgan's bid: "I think Tuku has a magic. He is a political animal, he's a survivor and he will pull out all the stops to become the chair of the Kauhanganui."

Mr Morgan did not respond to Herald calls.

- NZ Herald

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