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Monday, 4 February 2013

Better late than never

Ok first up sorry this post is a bit late but I have been trying to hold out for information.
As indicated in my last post I wanted to talk about the fees paid to the consultants that were engaged to explore the option of building a “gondola” that would take people from behind the Mataatua wharenui up the escarpment to the pa site, Kapu-te-rangi.

The idea was part of research into the commercial development opportunities around the wharenui. In other words, we needed to find some way to make the Mataatua wharenui pay for itself.
First opened in 1875 the Mataatua wharenui was built as a testament to Ngati Awa’s enduring creative spirit following the land wars, confiscation and sickness that had decimated our tribe.

Recognised as a beautiful example of Maori artwork the wharenui was taken overseas in 1879 when the Government needed a carved meeting house for the British Empire Exhibition.
It was shipped back to New Zealand in 1925 but rather than returning to Whakatane it became a permanent exhibit at the Otago Museum.

Finally returned to Ngati Awa in 1996 after years of negotiations, the wharenui was restored over the next 15-years. However along the way it was acknowledged that it was going to need money to maintain the house long-term.
So it was identified that because of its assets the best way to do this was to create a tourism product around the whare.

Consultants were engaged to find the best way of achieving this and they produced a comprehensive report.
According to that report four options were identified: create a complex with the wharenui as the only attraction, add a people-mover to take visitors from the wharenui to the top of the escarpment, build a restaurant and swing bridge so that once visitors were at the top they could eat a meal and access Kohi Point easily or go the whole hog and in addition to everything else they could build an underground experience that would incorporate a light show.

In the end the executive board decided against the people-mover, restaurant, swing-bridge and underground experience. Rather, they decided to build a marae complex and invest close to $1 million into developing a world-class light show that told the stories of our tribe.
Ok, with that explained we can get down to business.

When I first decided to write about this subject for the Tu Mai Te Toki blog, I wanted to be able to confirm the amount that was paid to consultants engaged to explore the option of installing the “gondola”.
The figure was mentioned in a report given at last year’s AGM by the runanga’s accountant Murray Haines.  

Last week I went into the runanga’s offices to get a copy of the minutes from the AGM but I was told that they still hadn’t been typed up.
So I sent an email to Mr Haines asking if he could confirm the amount but he replied that I would have to wait until my hapu hui.

“Our CEO Enid Ratahi-Pryor and I will be attending your hapu hui and will be happy to answer questions there through the hapu representative,” he said in the email.
Now here are my concerns around this situation.

When Mr Haines raised the point about the consultants’ fees he claimed it was to investigate the option of a gondola.
The report clearly states that the option was not a gondola but a people-mover that would take visitors through the undergrowth like a cable car.

While this may seem to be nit-picking it clearly shows that there are some within the runanga who do not have a clear understanding of the report.
Secondly, while I cannot remember the exact amount paid to the consultants and Mr Haines would not confirm it I do recall it was close to $200,000. And although I am glad that this investigation was undertaken so that it could be identified that it was not the right option to take before we spent any more money on it, I am concerned that there was no consultation with the Ngati Hokopu and Wharepaia.

Most would accept that the area around the wharenui, known as Wairaka, would be under the mana whenua of those two hapu and to consider investing in something that would drastically change the landscape like a people-mover without consulting the people of that land is beyond rude.
Finally I would suggest that the fact that it has been two months since the AGM and the minutes are still not available highlights the need for better efficiency within the runanga.

Next time I will explore the subject of the Mataatua wharenui a little further.

Ma te wa.


  1. this is shamful doing stuff with tge proper consent of the people of that area

  2. i am hurt by what the CEO has been doing. they do t care about us

  3. there is going to be a great change this year. I promise you all

    1. change your own marae, and hapu. Support our reo.

  4. when's the hapu hui, place an ad in all the local papers and invite everyone and see how staunch your CEO is then

    1. I hope more turn up to you hui than did you 100 year Wairaka birthday e hoa ma, it was sad. Remember too Enid is a Lawson, Hokopu tuturu.

  5. Kia Ora Karla

    It is with interest, we have found ourselves becoming avid readers of your weekly posts, since the inception of the Tu Mai Te Toki blog, It is a relief to know that many individuals both near and abroad are recognising the incompetency of our Iwi leaders and we as a collective unit, are seeking answers to a number of irrational judgements and decisions which have occurred over recent years.

    If we can take a step back and fully explore the times and reasons as to why the Mataatua Whare was built then perhaps we are able to gain some perspective and strive to seek positive outcomes for a more unified and prosperous Iwi, spiritually, culturally, physically, financially etc.

    Lets begin to break this down where we can form a foundation for us to work upon..and start to look at this issue logically...some common motives or reasons why any person would build a house, is to provide shelter and security for their family unit and loved ones. This house will become a sanctuary, a place of nuture, growth and rest, a physical setting where families can share, laugh, learn, cry, teach, and enjoy one another, a physical safe haven from negative external influences, conflict and hostilities.

    Bearing this in mind, It is truly my belief that these were the exact motives and reasons the Mataatua Wharenui was erected and built by our tipuna, Wepiha. Remembering that during this time, Maori were facing the effects of colonisation, the injustices and cruelty endured by many generations enforced by external parties, tribal warfare where often, loss of life was inevitable and sickness which had horrific consequences as you have stated above. Wepiha, realising without a doubt in his mind that these events would have a severe negative impact on his people, went about to construct this amazingly carved whare to provide a calm setting amongst the chaotic disorder for the people of Mataatua, where amongst the adversity, whakapapa would sumount and bind his people together ensuring unity and strength in troubled times.

    A whare built to create unity and strength for the people of Mataatua who had suffered immensely due to external forces.

    So observing the progressive journey of the Mataatua Whare, the history the story, the tears, the hurt, the betrayal, the battle endured to ensure this whare was returned to the people of Mataatua, and how it is valued and treated today, I cannot seem to comprehend the justification and the absolute abysmal exploitation our Iwi leaders have elected to utilise and treat this whare. Unconsciously it seems our Iwi leaders have failed to remember the very reasons and motives why this whare was built in the beginning, instead opting for financial opportunities at the expense of the fundamental aspects to which the whare was constructed.

    I fail to see unity, I fail to see strength, I fail to see equality as an Iwi.....but what I can see is

    The oppressor and the dictator now has a brown face

    1. To give some balance here please remember that Wepiha also gave evidence in 1865 against our own Ngati Awa people that resulted in their incarceration and execution. He also agreed for the wharenui to leave Whakatane and had a role in the sale of valuable lands out of the hands of hapu. His role in the building of Mataatua while important was not as central as has been suggested, and how could it have been with his father still alive under tikanga Maori? Remember they both died in the same year 1880 and Apanui had not relinquished his mana to his son in his lifetime. Apanui still signed all important letters of the era ie the letter to the governor about Putauaki along with Rangitukehu, Paora Patu and Hoani Tuhimata in 1879 a year before his death. The building of the wharenui was an iwi project . This was a Ngati Awa tribal effort with all parts of the iwi involved at every level of construction and design. Rangitukehu and the Rangitaiki chiefs were first of the mark in terms of fundraising for this and other wharenui projects of the time. The inclusion of all parts of the iwi in terms of carving and tipuna also makes this plain.

  6. Do they provide audited financial accounts, with the notes to or before the AGM?

    1. Kia ora, at last year's AGM the annual report was given out on the day. Some lucky people were able to get it two days before but even then I don't believe that is enough time to digest the information included in the report and as the AGM seems to be the only forum in which tribal members can openly ask questions then I don't believe this is fair.
      In addition when I did ask questions that were uncomfortable for the decision-makers the chairman of the tribe's financial arm, Wira Gardiner, stood up and had a go at me. He was told off by a kuia from the crowd but what is the point of having the AGM if you do not have the information to be informed or if you aren't even allowed to ask questions.

      Nga mihi

    2. I agree with your right to question. We all have that right and need to exercise it when we feel it is appropriate to bring accountability. To be blunt part of the problem is that we have people in high places who do not have the time to devote to this mahi and so they make mistakes that we the hapu then pay for. That is totally wrong. But look at our NAGHL Board, Joe is too old but the Runanga including all our Hokopu-Wharepaia delegates, like a majority of the board, voted him back on. Ridiculous. Waaka Vercoe falls asleep in board meetings and wastes time with poor jokes. The independents were dumped when they began to question or if they were like Tari Nicholas were after deals for themselves. Graham Pryor was in a recent conflict of interest, concealed legal advice from the board when it questioned a deal he was party to, and got the chair to sign a resolution saying the board has endorsed it when it was untrue. And yet that Rangitihi is STILL involved? He should be sacked. This was all told to the Board at a hui last year and it is in the audit report. Now THAT should be out there. Good news that Brian Tunui was voted on though. We need more people of competency and integrity on that NAGHL board. People like Jim Mather who has been putting himself forward for sometime but gets knocked back. I wonder why?

    3. The whole NAGHL board needs to be sacked after McBurnie and Gonet

  7. So I did the figures!.... Counted myself, 1st cousins, nieces and nephews. The sum i've come up with is $45193.00 (around the same ammount of annual wage that goes to the chair of the Hapu rep) or there abouts, dividing our numbers by 110 million (understanding much of this is assett based). We want our cut!!!...We could do a lot for our Tamariki with this small ammount than Ngati-Awa is ever going to do for us!!!...Why should we allow our numbers and those of our Tamariki to line pockets of oppressors?. Land grabbed from under Whanau using such acts as the public works?. The best of all was using Our Koros to clear the Ngati-Awa farm when they arrived home from the War...TRONA...YOU'VE BEEN USING US TOO LONG!!The sooner the Iwi wake-up and disband "THE BETTER"!!...

    1. Ask yourself, what are you going to do for the iwi or your hapu. That's why tauiwi rule us e hoa ma, always with our hands out. Always someone else's fault. And what would you do? And once it's blown what then? Being tribal and hapu is not just about what can I get? What are YOU doing to preserve our tikanga, our history, our whakapapa and our culture and that of your own hapu. How many Ngati Awa tuturu waiata do you an your whanau know or are you like too many still doing Tuhoe numbers or generic waiata? Or don't you know any? What are you doing about it? We're all surviving and many of us don't have the luxury of doing all we woudl like to do. But looking for an iwi payout is ridiculous. We want out kids to be staunch Ngati Awa and proud. Challenge yourself. Waiting for the iwi to save the day you'll be waiting until doomsday.

  8. Get rid of the Hapu rep. He makes his own decisions. He is a puppet, she is the master of puppets. Yanking strings.....