January 16, 2020
Tenancy Tribunal rules on Te Unga Waka
A bitter battle over control of a church-based marae has cost an Auckland man more than $13,000 and his home.
The Tenancy Tribunal has ordered Joyal Tainui Pene to pay Te Unga Waka Marae $11,165 for 29 weeks of unpaid rent and $2,541.50 for the cost of removing three large vehicles from a property attached to the marae in Epsom.
Mr Pene had asked the tribunal to stop him being evicted and to uphold his tenancy agreement.
That agreement was signed in May by Annette Hakaraia, a former chair of the marae who had been ousted by a special meeting in January after it emerged the marae, set up to support Māori Catholics living in Tāmaki Makaurau, had lost its charitable status because no accounts had been filed for several years.
Mr Pene claimed Ms Hakaraia had been restored to the chair four days before the tenancy was signed by a special general meeting attended by 115 registered members.
Tenancy adjudicator R Kee said while the minutes of that meeting claimed it was attended by 115 registered members, those in attendance were not named and there was no other evidence the meeting happened.
At the marae’s annual general meeting two weeks later Ms Hakaraia was not able to summon up support from more than a few of the 38 named members attending.
The current board led by Dr Lance O’Sullivan exercises effective day-to-day control of Te Unga Waka and controls the marae’s bank account.
Mr Pene asked to present more evidence about the supposed special general meeting, but the adjudicator said it could not plausibly have been a meeting of Te Unga Waka Marae.
“I have an apprehension that further evidence given under promise on this matter will be false. That is a train wreck that Mr Pene, Ms Hakaraia, and her supporters may wish to avoid.” Mr Kee said.
He said Mr Pene was not just any ‘tenant’ but in truth Ms Hakaraia’s fierce ally.
He ordered Mr Pene to vacate the property and said Te Unga Waka is entitled to immediate possession.
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