Just as I have been predicting there has been a well organised campaign to undermine Tront. Where does this place Runanga leaders invoved in this plot?
Resignations one hopes. The same fate should befall the Tront reps involved.
It would interesting to know whether the Tront reps involved have breeched their duties as Trustees
Note the email referred to is dated 1 Feb 2009 well before the start of start of leaks around 28 Feb. So there has been serious plotting going on for some time.
Should "The Press" really continue to use Potiki as a columnist?
In my view, no. He is a thoroughly discredited individual up to his armpits in this campaign.
The story that "We have to be relatively discreet as whenever anyone in that tribe puts their hand up to make a criticism or generate debate, they are persecuted." is nonsense. I have been a critic of Tront and some of its members for some time on this blog. Tront welcomes healthy debate
News Leaks Were Last Resort – tribal leaders
"The Press" Sat 14th March 2009
"A string of stories about Ngai Tahu unrest have been leaked as part of an orchestrated media campaign led by a former journalist.
Discontented Ngai Tahu leaders say they used the media as a last resort to inform whanau of serious ongoing issues at Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (Tront).
The Press has been told the group's aim was to cause enough concern amongst Ngai Tahu members to support a legal challenge to its charter the document defining how Ngai Tahu's central body interacts with its 18 regional runanga.
Comment:The place to challenge the Charter is at the Tront table
The communication strategy was designed by former New Zealand Herald journalist Jon Stokes.
Members of the group who received a briefing document from Stokes, include former Tront chief executive officer and Otakou runanga chairman Tahu Potiki; Kaikoura runanga chairman Thomas Kahu; Hokonui runanga Tront representative Terry Nicholas and leader Netta Mackintosh; Wairewa runanga chairman Robin Wybrow; Awarua runanga chairwoman Hana Morgan; Ngati Waewae chairman Francois Tumahai and Tront representative Lisa Tumahai.
The briefing document and other emails on the strategy were leaked to The Press, illustrating the extent of the behind-the-scenes power struggle within the tribe.
In a February 1 email, Stokes identified Tront's plan to spend $52 million on a cultural centre and office block called House of Tahu as a "key plank" in the collective's message as it demonstrated Tront's lack of transparency and poor decision-making.
Stokes recommended using the issue to begin "a timeline of public criticism. Perhaps with a fresh and well thought out and supported issue each week".
Comment: The last two paragraphs demonstrate that this group had a covert PR strategy in my view to undermine Tront and NT Shareholders.
The story made front-page news in The Press on February 21.Following those revelations would be the increase in kaiwhakahaere fees, which was highlighted in a New Zealand Herald article on February 28.
In it, Wybrow said he was "angry" at finding out about the increase through the media.
Comment: But Wybrow was a party to PR strategy. And was in my view complicit in the leak about fees.
According to an email, Wybrow and his runanga have committed $10,000 alongside other runanga to "clarify the role of Ngai Tahu Papatipu Runanga as members of Tront and to identify breaches of the charter that have occurred within Tront".
Comment: $10,000 that will not go to shareholders that his Runanga represents
Wybrow said he had heard some conjecture about an increase in fees, but did not know the details until phoned by a Herald journalist.
Runanga leaders were sick of being underfunded and shut out of decision-making and with no tribal elections for six years,
Comment: Wybrow needs to speak to his Runanga rep about this issue. Its clearly documented.
a. Potiki banned elections.
b. Underfunding of Runanga is a balance between Runanga and other commitments Wybrow should know this.
-felt using the mainstream media was the only option, he said. "Legal redress and media aren't the preferred options, but unfortunately we don't feel there's any other mechanism to get these [issues] addressed."We have to be relatively discreet as whenever anyone in that tribe puts their hand up to make a criticism or generate debate, they are persecuted."
In the briefing document, Stokes said any legal avenues taken must be presented as a "last-resort mechanism taken by the collective to protect the interests of All Ngai Tahu Papatipu Runanga and Whanui members"."Perception of misuse of tribal funds, a culture of extravagance and lack of accountability within management are themes that will resonate and cause shared concern among all iwi members, and stimulate the interest of external groups," it said.Stokes said the existence of a concerned group of runanga leaders was no secret.
Comment: Its a little disingenuous of Stokes. After all his clients his clients did not want to know what was going on.
Releasing information to the media was seen as an "expedient mechanism to communicate to other Ngai Tahu whanui", as there were no forums within the tribe's structures to resolve their concerns. Potiki said he had asked Stokes for advice but had no idea about any "negative publicity campaign".
Comment: This defies credibility. Potiki, as the ex CEO should know intimately where concerns can be aired. "No idea about any negative publicity" Yeah right – its so apt.
"We have been majorly concerned about the fact Tront has involved itself in the management of the commercial assets which was never intended," he said.
Comment: Again Potiki, ex CEO, demonstrates:
a. he never knew the role/relationship of Tront vis NTHC which is to monitor the performance of NTHC on behalf of NT shareholders. Tront has never been involved in the management of NTHC.
b. he chooses ignore any knowledge he has
c. it does not suit his purpose as a major player, in view in this subversive group
Potiki said there was no fund being set up to mount the legal challenge despite the email regarding Wybrow's commitment of $10,000.Kahu said his Kaikoura runanga was a non-financial contributor to the collective "at this stage".Mark Solomon said he would not be involved in further media debate on "current tribal issues"."