The Minister of Treaty Negotiations is considering advice from officials before making any decisions on what a former Tuhoronuku board member describes as a mandate that is "shakier" than ever.
The future of Tuhoronuku's mandate to negotiate Treaty claims on behalf of Ngapuhi is still up in the air following the board's meeting on Friday which saw four board members hand in resignation letters.
The meeting was called to discuss the Maranga Mai report which recommends a way forward for Ngapuhi and was established by a tripartite engagement group comprising the Crown, Te Kotahitanga and Tuhoronuku.
The report has been the subject of debate and Minister of Treaty Negotiations Chris Finlayson warned he would "reassess" the mandate if the report's recommendations were not accepted in full.
After Friday's meeting Tuhoronuku chairman Hone Sadler wrote to Mr Finlayson saying the board had voted 15-6 to accept Maranga Mai and allow a transition of its mandate to a new group to take place.
However, he said this decision was contingent on the new group meeting accountability standards, continuing with a unified Ngapuhi settlement and allowing for representation of kuia, kaumatua and urban Maori.
Mr Sadler said he believed Tuhoronuku had met all of Mr Finlayson's demands and the Minister had no reason not to accept Tuhoronuku's ongoing role.
A spokeswoman for Mr Finlayson said the Minister "is considering advice from officials and will communicate with Tuhoronuku directly before making any comment."
Moana Tuwhare, who resigned from her position as a trustee of the Kaikohe Te Waimate Taiamai region on Tuhoronuku on Friday, said she believed the right decision for the Crown to make would be to remove the recognition of Tuhoronuku's mandate.
"Tuhoronuku from this point on is going to have an even shakier mandate than they've ever had because of their decisions. In my view they are not capable of leading negotiations on behalf of Ngapuhi and I think that has been proven time and time again," she said.
Sam Napia, Sheryl Turner and Helene Leaf were the other members who resigned.
The Advocate tried to reach Mr Sadler for further comment but he did not respond.
Following Friday's meeting Mr Sadler also sent Mr Finlayson a Draft Terms of Reference for the Transition Oversight Group which would oversee any steps needed to be taken to transition to a new structure.
The Maranga Mai report recommends the group comprise three representatives each from Tuhoronuku and Te Kotahitanga. However, the draft terms indicate the group wants four representatives from Tuhoronuku and three from Te Kotahitanga with decisions being made by majority.
Te Kotahitanga co-chair Pita Tipene said the Crown needed to remove its recognition of Tuhoronuku's mandate.
"My take is that Tuhoronuku is in total chaos and that has manifested in the resignation from board members. Minister Finlayson needs to make a decision and withdraw the mandate," Mr Tipene said.
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