Whakarewarewa Joint Trust re-election hui overturned

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Three Te Arawa hapū of Ngāti Whakaue have kept their two elected trustees on the Whakarewarewa Joint Trust (WJT). Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Taeotū and Ngāti Te Kahu successfully overturned a re-election hui called at Papaiouru marae's ancestral house of Tamatekapua at Ōhinemutu.

A resolution was moved that the election was invalid. An overwhelming majority show of hands in support deemed the re-election invalid, with only a handful opposed and that elected members Veronica Butterworth and Hoki Kahukiwa remain as the trustees to WJT for the three hapū.

“What it shows is that the hapū have spoken and in terms of their representation, they have validated that,” said trustee Butterworth.

“The people have put a lot of trust in us and hopefully it end's there, said Kahukiwa.

“There's no more raruraru about who are the elected trustees on the Waka Joint Trust.”

The shock election meeting called by elders Pihopa Kingi and Anaru Te Amo was strongly opposed by Ngāti Hurunga Te Rangi, Ngāti Taeotū and Ngāti Te Kahu.

“In the past, we've requested to meet with the Whakarewarewa Joint Trust about this, to no avail,” said Kingi Biddle, spokesperson for the three hapū.

“We took our concerns to court. Now we have returned to our Māori custom. If our elders are opposed to the matter, we went to the marae together to debate the issue.”

Earlier the three sub-tribes of elders through to children, marched en-mass to the election hui at Papaiouru marae, to show their concerns. According to them, they had already elected their two members.

Four Ngāti Whakaue members sit on the WJT formed in 2008. Two from Ngāti Hurunga Te Rangi, Ngāti Taeotū and Ngāti Te Kahu, two from Pukeroa Oruawhata.

“Let's remain united at the end of this gathering today, for those opposed, that's your choice,” said elder Pihopa Kingi.

“It's all good,” said former Ngāti Hurunga Te Rangi, Ngāti Taeotū, Ngāti Te Kahu trustee Bryce Murray.

“From what I've observed and heard the majority of them were seeking clarification. Some of them didn't agree with the election hui.”

Butterworth and Kahukiwa will attend their first Whakarewarewa Joint Trust hui later this month.