This is a report from a Runanga Representative that gives, another perspective on what has been happening at Tront. I have had to paraphrase the report a bit because the report is quite long and some of it not relevant to current issues.
It concerns two Tront meetings. One on the 24/25 Jan 07 and the other on the 22nd of Feb 07 when a decision was made to remove Wally Stone. I have provided comments
Meeting Procedural Issues
The meeting started with the usual procedural motion to confirm Donald Couch as Chair of the meeting. Just to remind our members this arrangement stemmed from a resolution passed at a TRONT meeting held at Hokonui in 2007 during the Tables “difficulties” where the Kaiwhakahaere agreed to vacate the chairing of meetings in favour of the Deputy Kaiwhakahaere as a concession to those who were still vehemently opposing him.
This arrangement regarding the Chairing of meetings would stand until such time as
the TRONT Representative elections had been completed after which the Kaiwhakahaere would stand down and an election for the position of Kaiwhakahaere follow. Following this process a newly returned or newly elected Kaiwhakahaere would then chair future meetings.
As has been the practise since Hokonui a minority number of Representatives voted
against the Deputy Kaiwhakahaere Chairing the meeting.
Comment: How can you run any meeting be it Tront (who are Trustees of assets worth approx $600ml) or say a local golf club, school trustees, even Directors of a public company, when some elected members behave in this manner. This is appalling behaviour from some representatives who claim to represent the interest of NT shareholders. I thinks clear, if you have read posts here, who the people are.
On face value this agreement at Hokonui last year represented an end to hostilities. In my view the underlying problems have always been twofold:
1.A lack of acceptance on the part of some Representatives regarding the outcomes of agreed democratic process within Te Runanga
2. An underlying undermining of the concept of an enduring tribal entity such as Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.
These whakaaro might sound radical or way out but believe I do often hear these themes emerging in korero from some Representatives and overshadowing their contributions. I have always said the hard part in sustaining the success of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu is in getting the balance between the needs of the centre, the regional papatipu runaka and wider Kai Tahu Whanui addressed in the right balance.
Some say it’s been ten years since Settlement and we should have made more progress in addressing the regional development needs. I am aware that some of our members are impatient that this aspiration is not being met fast enough and impeded because of the Centres needs.
Comment: I will write about this issue in a post later.
My hypothesis is that the removal of Wally Stone, who is perceived as a champion against central organisation development in some quarters of Kai Tahu Whanui triggered the latest opening of the hakehake. Now, the criticism and focus has moved to more calls for Mark Solomon to stand aside as Kaiwhakahaere with lots of allegation and statements placed out in our networks and directly into the media. This jump seems a quantum leap from where we started with Wally Stones removal but I don’t believe so. I think that the leaks and other material have been well orchestrated to progress a wider kaupapa.
Existing Position of your Representative.
If all available relevant information I could lay my hands on led me to decide that there was veracity and accuracy within this information that is being bandied about I would likely support such a call for removal.
However, I believe these recent demands for Mark Solomons resignation are a complete crock and largely led by the same group of disaffected Kai Tahu. There’s no doubt that some of our whanauka who have climbed into the e-mail fray have done so with good intent.
In fact it’s probably accurate that all pundits consider they are acting in the best interests of Ngai Tahu Whanui one way or another or at least the interests of their particular papatipu runaka.
Fundamentally though to me it’s about fighting to ensure we have transparency within our processes and that fair play and natural justice prevails within Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.
Unfortunately some of our Representatives and others can’t see the wood for the trees. I have not changed my position regarding the concept of an enduring tribal structure or support for our papatipu runaka as the whatumanawa of our hapu ent.
I believe there are many half truths and selective snippets of information being put out there on the internet and spread by word of mouth which might seem credible on a cursory or first inspection. However, because they are half truths and partial facts, what’s missing of course is the whole assemblage of associated facts which normally allows you to get a full 360degree view.
It is unfair that Mark Solomon has become such a focus for criticism. In his role as Kaiwhakahaere he is fronting the media response on the decisions taken by the TRONT table which I am of course a party to. In casting Mark into the character of bad guy it would seem some of our whanauka think he is completely responsible for decisions taken by the Table which is of course grossly incorrect.
We are following the TRONT way and our own media policy. Part of that policy is that the Kaiwhakahaere will be the only Representative to respond to media enquiries. The intention is that one voice is heard and this minimises the opportunity for conflicting korero to be put in the media.
SPECIAL MEETING HELD SUNDAY 22ND FEBRUARY
During the course of an ordinary Meeting convened on Sunday afternoon to consider the NTHC quarterly report Wally Stone was removed as Chairperson of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation. As the meeting was held in committee I ask your support for my position and intention to abide by the commitment I made when I came to the Table to uphold the mana of the Table and its Standing Orders including confidentiality.
I am unable to give you detailed information on the issue. However I can express my view that for me the issue was about the style of leadership that I believed was apparent (a confidence issue) with Wally Stone and which I did not believe was in sync with the proposed governance instruments that have emerged from the Governance Review process which I hope will be passed at the March meeting.
I also had considerable concern about the impact of some particular decisions taken which I did not believe were in the best interests of the organisation. I seek your support for the decision taken which I consider is in the best interests of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and moving into the future.
Following is the press release made on Monday by Mark Solomon.
“Kia ora koutou, I am emailing to inform you that Te RÅ«nanga o NgÄi Tahu decided on Sunday afternoon to appoint Linda Constable as Interim Chair of NgÄi Tahu Holdings Corporation, replacing Wally Stone.Wally Stone has held the role of Chair for two years, during which he has contributed to the stabilisation and consolidation of our commercial portfolio. Te RÅ«nanga o NgÄi Tahu are grateful for his stewardship of the tribal assets and consider that NgÄi Tahu has benefited from his clear focus and standard of care.As we move into a new economic climate, Te RÅ«nanga o NgÄi Tahu decided it was appropriate to appoint a new Chair with a skill set fitting the current climate. NgÄi Tahu Holdings Corporation Ltd is in a strong and healthy financial position and I am confident that we are well placed to tackle any challenges that arise from the recession.Linda Constable, appointed Interim Chair, has a long history with NgÄi Tahu, as the Manager of Kaupapa Taiao for a number of years and has been on the Board of NgÄi Tahu Holdings Corporation since 2005. Te RÅ«nanga o NgÄi Tahu has every confidence in her ability to lead NgÄi Tahu Holdings Corporation as we implement the streamlining of the Te RÅ«nanga Group (all companies owned by TRoNT). Te RÅ«nanga has been reviewing our governance arrangements over the last 12 months and Linda will oversee the implementation of the NgÄi Tahu Holdings Corporation aspects of this review. This work will further strengthen the commercial position and operations of NgÄi Tahu Holdings Corporation.
These decisions are already attracting media interest. I have attached the media release that was distributed by Te RÅ«nanga o NgÄi Tahu a short time ago. I have also asked each Te RÅ«nanga Representative to make contact with their RÅ«nanga Chair or Upoko."
More Media Leakage
The media have focused on a confidential report written by Tony Gray (one of Anake’s General Managers) last November. It was correspondence between the two and was never intended for distribution to the Table. I believe this confidential report was given to the media as supposed evidence of a politicised Office actively plotting to remove the Chair of NTHC. I can say the report was not relevant information pertaining to the decision taken to remove Wally Stone. The report is available should you want to read it for yourself.
Not long following the January TRONT meeting it does seem clear that a person/persons with full access to the confidential information of the Table provided the in committee minutes to the press. I have confidence in saying that I do not consider the culprit is a staff person. This sort of action is not an unknown phenomena to us unfortunately and learning’s from governance training I have received informs me that the person responsible will be someone who feels alienated and does not have ownership of decisions taken.
House Of Tahu.
The Christchurch Press and other daily papers on 21 February ran stories that TRONT had agreed to spend $52million building a cultural centre and Office block on the King Edward Barracks site and citing quotes from a Runaka Chairperson who wished to remain anonymous. I give no credibility to anything if a person isn’t willing to say who they are. On face value one might think this report must be true and accurate as reported but no…this is again not the full story. It has caused much disquiet amongst many of our people and some have been moved to write publicly to express their displeasure.
* It is a fact that a revised business case was presented to TRONT by the House of Tahu committee who are made of up TRONT Representatives and Ngai Tahu Property advisors.
* It is a fact that TRONT has agreed in principle to take the project which covers the whole footprint of the King Edward Barracks site to the next stage which involves consultation with Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation.
* It is a fact that the Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation Board has not yet considered the full business case.
Further progress is contingent on cornerstone tenants being confirmed which underpins the commercial aspect of the project and which will essentially balance the cost of a corporate Headquarters which is estimated to cost $10 million. Other options can still be considered e.g. leasing another building.
It is clear that we have to vacate our current premises at 158 Hereford St by 2013 as the building owner wants to do other things with the building.
Interestingly enough Wally Stone is reported on 26 February in the Christchurch Press as saying he considers his advice against proceeding with the House of Tahu project was something runanga board members did not necessarily want to hear. However, as I have earlier reported the Ngai Tahu Holdings Corp Board have not yet considered the proposal so this assertion is quite misleading.
Undoubtedly more will unfold over the coming weeks. I am resolute in my determination in holding to the whakaaro which I have detailed to you in this report and seek your tautoko for the positions I am taking.