February 06, 2013
Tainui looks at investments for future growth
Debate on what should happen to the $70 million cash top-up of the Waikato Tainui Raupatu settlement is underlying much of the debate over the tribe’s future structure.
A hui a tau called by King Tuheitia at Turangawaewae Marae for Waitangi day and its eve is seen as an attempt to get around the factional fighting that has wracked the tribal parliament, Te Kauhanganui, and its executive committee, Tearataura.
Hui convenor Tukoroirangi Morgan, who made his way back onto the executive in December by being appointed by the king as his representative, is adamant change is needed across the board.
He put four questions to the hui:
How do we achieve social cultural and economic prosperity for our iwi, marae, hapuu and our people?
How do we protect our tikanga our values and our beliefs?
How do we protect King Tuheitia and strengthen Kingitanga?
How do we ensure our social and economic aspirations, tribal tikanga and commitment to Kingitangaare reflected in tribal priorities and governance structures?
While the hui attracted about 500 people, mainly Kingitanga stalwarts, many members of Te Kauhanganui and Tearataura were absent.
That underlines the division in the tribe and indicates it could take a year or three to make changes.
The transition from the generation that achieves settlements to those that must manage them has been a challenge in many tribes.
In Tainui, the health of lead negotiator Sir Robert Mahuta failed very soon after the settlement was signed, and his death a couple of years later created a vacuum which has still not been filled by one of his stature.
Part of the cost of getting widespread support for the settlement was a new governance structure was a parliament with three members from each marae – an unwieldy total of almost 200 people.
Some of the other options available at the time, ranging from a hapu franchise, a smaller marae-based parliament to an incorporation-style model could be revisited.
What will remain is a commitment to the Kingitanga, with the hui being told there would have been no settlement without it.
League star turned entrepreneur Tawera Nikau highlighted a lack of communication within the tribe as a constraint to its development, as well as a shortage of commercial experience and leadership as well as people not believing they were capable.
He asked whether the relativity fund, the top-up the Crown will pay every five years to ensure Tainui gets 17 percent of the total settlement pool, should be shared among marae to build capacity of tribal members.
New Tainui Group Holdings chair Sir Henry van der Heyden argued it was better to put all settlement moneys to work in TGH.
He compared the tribe’s current situation to that of the dairy industry 20 years ago, when there were three farmer cooperatives all scrapping with each other, and said a better situation would be a merged Te Kauhanganui and Tearataura having a commercial contract with TGH outlining what dividend and social expectations it had.
Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta pleaded for the relativity to be seen as a generational investment rather than a ticket to be clipped every few years.
“Everyone knows how to spend a dollar but few know how to make a dollar and how to invest a dollar. Prosperity is cultural, social, economic, environmental and spiritual,” she said.