By VANESSA BIDOIS Maori issues reporter

The Tainui royal family is being accused of emotional blackmail in pressuring tribal marae to support moves to oust the ruling iwi executive, Tekaumarua.

A hui held on Saturday at Huntly's Waahi Marae - a stronghold of the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu - called for a special emergency meeting to roll the newly elected Tekaumarua.

The executive has dumped the Maori Queen's step-brother, Sir Robert Mahuta, as head of the tribe's corporate arms.


The chairman of the Waahi Marae Committee, Rick Muru, a nephew of Sir Robert, said yesterday that his demotion was a direct challenge to Dame Te Ata and the Maori king movement, the Kingitanga.

Mr Muru, who has accused the Tekaumarua of acting against tribal interests, said the resolution was supported by more than 20 marae representatives, with seven abstaining until they had consulted their people.

The request for the emergency meeting was made to the executive on Monday but there had been no response.

"We didn't think it was their right to challenge her appointments to whatever position this person sits on," Mr Muru said.

Tukoroirangi Morgan, a former Mauri Pacific MP and Tainui beneficiary, said an invitation to the hui, signed by Mr Muru, was emotional blackmail.

He said it placed a gun to the heads of every marae under the pretext of disloyalty to the Kingitanga.

Mr Morgan said a small but vocal minority representing the royal family - including Sir Robert's daughter, Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta - were abusing their positions in attempting to sideline what represents the democratic process.

"What you have is the elite who are looking after their own interests because they are trying to give back the licence to Bob to do what he wants to do," Mr Morgan said.

Nanaia Mahuta did not respond to inquiries from the Herald yesterday.

Kingi Porima, the acting chairman of the Tekaumarua, refused to comment.

"It's a waste of time going backward and forwards in the press," Mr Porima said.

"It's too far down the track."