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Māori news stories for the week ending 24 August 2012:

Māori news stories for the week ending 24 August 2012:

  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has appointed Arihia Bennett  (Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāti Waewae, Ngāti Porou) to the role of Chief Executive Officer.
  • This week the Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it will investigate matters relating to the Wellington Tenths Trust, following allegations of unlawful payments and transactions.  Sir Ngātata Love has stood down from his role as Chairman of the Trust, and other related entities, why the matter is being investigated.
  • On Monday a statement from Chen Palmer, (a legal firm), was made on behalf of the Chief Executive of Te Taura Whiri, Glenis Phillip-Barbara.  The statement alleged that Ms Phillip-Barbara had been defamed by Māori Television last week. (This was in relation to a news report that allegedly raised questions over the use and reimbursement of public funds.) A public apology was sought, and the statement indicated that ‘further action’ could follow.  In our view, Ms Phillip-Barbara has every right to broach such legal matters, if she has been unfairly defamed, in order to protect her reputation.  Notwithstanding, from another perspective, essentially this situation involves the Chief Executive of one Crown entity threatening legal action against another Crown Entity (very unusually); and both entities are of course within the Māori Affairs portfolio; with Boards that have accountabilities to the Minister of Māori Affairs.   From a public management perspective then, any legal action of this nature would pose some peculiar challenges for the Crown.    
  • The Māori Land Court has appointed Clinton Hemana to be an independent trustee for Tataraakina C Trust in Hawke’s Bay.  In May the Court granted an injunction against the Tataraakina C Trust which prevented the (former) Trustees from appointing an Executive Officer or a Project Manager.  The injunction was sought by another former Trustee, on the grounds that the recruitment and decision-making process had been flawed.  One of the first tasks for Mr Hemana, will be to work out the employment status of the proposed Executive Officer, who is Donna Awatere-Huata.  (Mrs Awatere-Huata is a former member of parliament and has previously been convicted of fraud.)
  • This week two Māori seats were finalised for the Waikato Regional Councils’ 2013 Local Authority elections. 
  • Taranaki iwi have placed a rāhui along the north Taranaki coast, following the drowning of three people off Paritutu rock.
  • The Ministry of Health are seeking nominations for the National Kaitiaki Group.  The role of the National Kaitiaki Group is to consider applications to access Māori womens’ health information held on the National Cervical Screening Register.
  • Koroneihana celebrations at Tūrangawaewae Marae (Ngāruawahia) concluded on Tuesday. 
  • Next week the Te Arawa River Iwi Trust will sign a Joint Management Agreement of the Upper Waikato River with both the Rotorua District Council and the Waikato Regional Council.  The agreement is an outcome from the Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, and Te Arawa River Iwi Waikato River Act 2010, and the purpose is to restore the health of the Upper Waikato River.

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