Waikato-Tainui politician voted out of tribal office

By Yvonne Tahana

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

Waikato-Tainui politician Tania Martin has been voted out of tribal office after the iwi's parliament voted in favour of a charge of bringing it into disrepute.

She had been the tribe's chairwoman of Te Kauhanganui or parliament but on Sunday 36 of 57 marae, which have three members each, agreed with the motion that also removed her.

In an extraordinary move last week the tribe's paramount chief King Tuheitia wrote to members asking that they remove Ms Martin, saying years of infighting had destabilised the tribe.

Ms Martin had been fired by the king in 2010 after she raised concerns about wasted tribal funds. The move proved to be outside of tribal rules and Ms Martin resumed her position.

In a statement today Tuheitia congratulated the institution for its decision. He said he hoped the decision would be accepted without recourse to "costly litigation" and "Paakeha courts".

"I recognise that my extraordinary action in deciding to write to tribal members was a cause of concern for some marae, but I felt I had not option but to reach out to all tribal members - my words were not just for Te Kauhanganui representatives they were meant for all."

"These have been difficult and unpleasant times and I still believe I speak for the majority of this tribe when I called for an end to in-fighting and fresh mandates to be sought.

Deputy chairman Bill Takerei resigned at a Poukai, or tribal meeting with the king, separately although his resignation is yet to be filed in written form.

Work has been occurring slowly with a review of the tribe's constitution an issue Ms Martin has pushed.

Tuheitia said: "I am pleased that there now appears to be broad support for constitutional reform. We must not be afraid to change our structures as we grow. We were forced to adopt Paakeha organisational and corporate structures, but the goal has always been to build our own house."

- NZ Herald

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