Kingitanga monarch Tuheitia Paki lost an embarrassing battle to oust a crusading tribal leader yesterday.

In a landmark vote, the Waikato-Tainui Parliament Te Kauhanganui voted to keep Tania Martin as its chairwoman.

Martin's leadership was reaffirmed in an extraordinary meeting where 32 marae delegates supported her. Twenty-one voted against her and seven were invalid.

The vote followed the King using his status as paramount chief to fire Martin from her post.

Martin took High Court action which forced the issue back to the parliament so members could decide her fate. It followed a row sparked by the release of a report by Martin that criticised levels of spending by Te Arataura, the parliament's executive board.

Before the meeting, sources said Tuheitia was confident he had at least half the votes from 66 marae representatives. Tuheitia was not at the meeting.