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Friday, 3 May 2013

Revelations of a chairman

The man in charge of growing Ngati Awa’s $110 million assets was adamant that he has done nothing wrong despite rubberstamping a deal with his mate's company worth $3.8 million.
“I am not prepared to stand down from NAGHL (Ngati Awa Group Holdings Ltd) because firstly I am here to protect the commerciality of NAGHL,” he said.

Called to report to the Te Runanga o Ngati Awa (TRONA) board after revelations that NAGHL had paid $3.8 million to a carbon credit company without prior necessary approvals, Ta Wira Gardiner’s argument was persuasive.
He said that Graham Pryor was not a director of NAGHL at the time the contract with CO2 New Zealand Management Company was instigated. In fact, according to Sir Gardiner in the interest of succession planning, Mr Pryor had only been invited to join the tribe’s investment committee.

“And if there is an area that I should be accountable and disciplined then it is as we got into period of uncertainty I should have been a lot stronger and apologise for that.”
But Sir Gardiner backed his skills as a chairman of a corporate organisation.

“I’m prepared to stack my reputation against anyone in the country except for maybe Fonterra.”
In regards to the latest revelations around the carbon credit investment, Sir Gardiner said there had been no wrong-doing.

Sir Gardiner said Mr Pryor had been part of the Central North Island (CNI) settlement representing Tuwharetoa and was made a director of CO2 New Zealand Management Company as a result.

He said when he became aware of the potential conflict of interest he required Mr Pryor to resign as a director of the company.
It was a compelling argument and rather than facing any further questions Sir Gardiner was commended by board chairman Te Kei Merito.

But let’s recap.
A report to the audit committee outlined the incident. In the report it was stated that Mr Pryor had received legal advice which was addressed to the NAGHL board.

The legal advice raised serious issues concerning the suitability of the investment and contract for Ngati Awa. Mr Pryor did not pass on the advice.
In addition the report also stated that based on advice from Mr Pryor, Sir Gardiner approved the $3.8 million deal with C02 New Zealand Management Company without gaining approval from the NAGHL board or the TRONA one.

“The director (Mr Pryor) advised the chairman that the board had some time approved the contract. There is no documentary evidence (minutes or other record) to evidence apart from a “heads of agreement” with CO2 that had been signed much earlier and pror to due diligence and legal review,” the report noted
It was also discussed that there has been poor documentation in regard to services provided in lieu of repayment of a loan balance. The loan was not disclosed in the report.

Furthermore, it seems attention from this blog and certain media outlets have got the former civil servant a little hot under the collar.
In full swing of his statement to the board Sir Gardiner said he was concerned that information was being leaked because of posts on this blog, stories in the beacon and a news report on Maori Television’s Te Kaea.

Sir Gardiner said the information was coming from the TRONA board and that if the leaks continued he would have to implement restrictions.
“We are legally required to provide you with quarterly reports but if it is going to result in danger then we may not to be so open.”

Sir Gardiner also issued a challenge at the TRONA board meeting, which was held last Friday at Te Manuka Tutahi marae in Whakatane, that he would be willing to sit down and talk with anyone who had the manners to put their inquiries to him.
Additionally, to combat the “negative” media Sir Gardiner said he would like place half page advertisements in the newspapers explaining the failed investments to the “shareholders”- that is the tribal members.

“But not with the Beacon. I do not like the Beacon. I do not want to support any newspaper which always focuses on the negative.”
So here are my problems with Sir Gardiner’s statements at the TRONA board meeting last week.

Firstly if Mr Pryor was not part of NAGHL when the decision to invest $3.8 million with C02 New Zealand Management Company then why did he receive the legal advice? And why has Mr Pryor not been reprimanded for not passing on that crucial advice?
Rather Mr Pryor was made a director of NAGHL and also the chairman of the investment’s committee following the investment.

Secondly, why did Sir Gardiner not check that there had been the necessary approvals before committing the $3.8 million? I mean that is a lot of money, particularly on the back of losing $5.2 million through the failed golf course with Birnie Capital and the internet service provider company, Go Net.

Thirdly, what did the Beacon get wrong? And more interestingly does Sir Gardiner dispute the latest story to feature in the Beacon about there being an out-clause for the carbon investment?
And lastly, I would like to take Sir Gardiner up on his offer to sit down and explain things. I stand by every factual statement that I have made on this blog and I would like to know if Sir Gardiner can do the same for the assertions he made to the board at last week’s meeting. If anyone can give me a contact number, I would be happy to give him a call and set up a time.

Next time I will return to the subject that I had already said I would discuss in this post and that is the change in directors on the audit committee.
Ma te wa.


  1. Plan. Produce. Proceed.

  2. I have to ask myself why? Wira is not prepared to use the "Beacon" to advertise his explanations for the failed investments, I fear that it is not because of the so called "negative focus" of the Beacon, rather a feeble attempt to once again, dictate to our people using his diminishing mana as his only sanction in his call not to use the local paper as a vehicle for his explanations.
    Ok sooooo, the beacon is ruled out... How about you buy some air time on maori television and take your explanations there and be prepared to answer questions about information given in this forum and cull this beast of a blog now. If the reporting, or information, being given to our people is incorrect and causing a "danger", then surely it must be time to address the issues raised. Show us you are worthy of the mana bestowed upon you.

    1. Wira's remarks about not using our local newspaper, sounds like dictatorship rather than communal, he knows everyone of living in Ngati Awa read the Beacon. The paper has been around longer than him.... What a baby Wira, throwing your toys out of your cot again...

  3. 'I do not like the Beacon' said Sir Wira. Looks like the real reason is, the Beacon is telling the truth. Otherwise Sir Wira, why don't you take legal action against them - sue them? You wouldn't hesitate to do this if their facts were wrong! Again, more honeyed words.

    The history of the continuing serious financial losses incurred by NAGHL hardly stacks up with the comments made at the TRONA board meeting last Friday 'But Sir Gardiner backed his skills as a Chairman of a corporate organisation. "I'm prepared to stack my reputation against anyone in the country except for maybe Fonterra." Really?

  4. I think there is something else at play here. This isn't the first investment that has gone awry. This is a concerted effort to remove Wira Gardiner from the purse strings as the Chair of NAGHL. I'm not saying that some of the facts coming to light are not damning, but I am saying that we need to take a look at the big picture. What is motivating the "leaker"? Could the "leaker" be someone who sees Wira as a threat to their plans? Someone who makes the bullets but doesn't fire them? Someone who is used to pulling strings? Someone who has access to a lot of information? Someone who never gets caught on the wrong side? Why else would they approach and encourage the Beacon to pursue this story? It doesn't sound like a board member to me.

  5. Sir Wira talking of "leaks" and if they continued, curtailing information provided to shareholders, is nothing more than a 'red herring'. A clumsy attempt to divert attention from the questionable actions of himself and other fellow directors of NAGHL.

    Do not allow yourselves to be sidetracked from the important issues.

    He is following a well-known military strategy when coming under attack - attack back.

  6. Dion Mahutoto6 May 2013 at 14:44

    Kia ora Kouto,
    My name is Dion Mahutoto and I have no connections to the Runanga or any directors or board members so as such, I can say what I want without any “cautioning or censuring from anyone…except my partner who is of Ngati Awa descendant”.
    I have however dealt with several of them in the past and can only say the dealings were amicable and fair.
    The reason I start my post with an introduction is that we, as Maori always start any conversation by introducing ourselves, except when we don’t want our identity known or we aren’t exactly sure if what we are saying is correct, in which case we shouldn’t say anything. Anonymity is just a tool for cowards to hide behind.
    Now I think that a large part of the problem here is that the some Ngati Awa people, don’t know these things because they don’t want to know these things. I mean human nature as such dictates that people are quite happy to trod along with their lives not knowing a lot of things as they feel that being naïve about certain issues, gives them the right to moan and groan about them, if things go south.
    I note your attacks on the current CEO and have to admit they are becoming a bit naff…(even though I have never met her) I can only assume she is there because a) she is qualified to be there or b) nepotism is ripe within the organization. As I don’t have any intimate knowledge of the processes, I will stay away from the issue.
    In regards to performance of NAGHL, I was under the impression that since 2005, NAGHL has increased the asset base value by 42% which in my mind is not bad at all considering the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and I think you forget to mention this in your blogs. Yes mistakes have been made and I am sure everyone involved feels they could have done better, but in the investment world, you win some and you lose some. As long as you can stay in the green, you’re doing alright. I certainly agree that it would be far easier to make any decisions with the benefit of hindsight.
    I just wish that we as Maori weren’t such an ugly bunch of people, we always look for negatives, we always look for someone to blame, we are basically professional victims and we feel the world owes us something…and as evident in your blogs and comments, we always will be.
    Now back to the issues, let’s say for example Wira, Enid, Graham, Waaka, etc all go…who’s going to take their place? You? Me? I don’t think so, and why not? Because nobody is going to be perfect in these positions and who wants to work for an organization, trying to do what’s best for the beneficiaries (or what nobody else wants to do) only to have them attack you if things don’t go the way they wanted, (and I can guarantee it’s not the way the Directors and Board members wanted it to go either)…certainly not me.
    I suppose what I am trying to get at is, we need to cut them some slack, they make calls that we don’t have to deal with, they do deals that the mere numbers would make the average person’s head spin and sometimes they get it wrong but like I said earlier, overall increases is better than a loss, in any language.
    In regards to any information that is leaked, you as a journalist should know that there is never any accidental leakage, Leaks are always purposeful and more often than not based on hidden agendas and for this reason alone, the sources of any leaks become relatively unreliable as they will always be selective leaks, never the whole picture, just enough of a glimpse to try and get a round of finger pointing going…I am not saying they are false, merely selective.

    1. I have one thing to say to you because I am ngati-awa, butt out, you have no right to comment on things that you know little about, who the hell do you think you are?. Go and look after your own affairs and leave us to try and get to the bottom of ours and the fact that you put your name to your posts ,gives you no more credibility then those who wish to remain anonymous. Cut them some slack you say, what? so they can carry on squandering our money and playing the gambling game with investments, ahhh I don't think so. What we are asking for here is transparency and consultation in affairs that concern us as an iwi and you are not part of that iwi, by your own admission so you take your worthless opinions and shove them where the sun don't shine. Pokokohua Dion Mahutoto, mind yer own business petal.

    2. "Nek Minit"....

      Using this website to promote his business and name... Do you need some business bro? Are you that hard up for clients? Way to go, put your name out there to the world so Wira and Co can notice you..... one way to attract some business without having to spend a dime...

      Thank goodness you are not Ngati Awa, here I thought we had another Wira in the making, surely the natural laws of mankind can't be that cruel to Ngati Awa....

      You are disgusting...... and that is the only reason you stated your name... to make some business... Shame on you...

  7. Dion Mahutoto7 May 2013 at 13:27

    Nice reply Mr/Mrs Anonymous, very well worded too I must add. I have no problems with you telling me to mind my own business, I would rather you were able tell me that I am wrong...All I am saying is being on the right side of the ledger (especially to the tune of 43%)is always a good thing and regardless of who (apparently)did what and to whom, you cannot deny this. I can almost guarantee that even with a world load of consultation with Iwi, the results would have been the same. If your looking for a good ole fashioned, fowl mouthed argument, you won't get it from me as I have said what I want to say and even though I am not Ngati Awa, I have common sense and this tells me that these blogs are just a forum for uglyness to shine. In regards to putting your name to your posts, that would have to be the dumbest comment I have ever seen, of course it adds credibilty if the readers know who you are, they can tell you have no agendas, have no real interests in the results, so have no reason to either a) gloss over stuff or b) hide stuff.

  8. You silly little hypocrite Mahutoto, I see you are in the business of making money from people already struggling in life. I would dearly like to see just how much commission you take from the people you snag in to your company. You are a low life dirt bag and if anyone has ugliness it's you. You have no sense at all, least of all "common sense" You are a fly by nighter who has come in to our town and set up your shifty business. Get a real job you loser.

  9. Its actually Mrs Anonymous Mahutoto and if you are going to greet people before your wahanui runs off with you, then please have the common sense to at least get it right because us dumb folks have the intelligence to proofread our comments before sending them for approval. Kia ora Kouto WTF is that.
    I have no desire to enter into a fowl mouthed argument with you or anyone else here, my time is much too precious. I was merely responding to your comments as I found your wording to be quite offensive, i.e maoris are an ugly bunch of people, These are your opinions and if you are prepared to use these sorts of phrases, then be prepared for negative responses.

    In relation to my "dumbëst" comment about putting a name to comments posted in here having no more credibility than those who choose( choose being the operative word because we are all entitled to choices) I do this to protect my extended whanau from the backlash that may come from my posts because, these are my opinions and mine alone. In terms of people who wish to remain anonymous having no agenda, again that is your opinion, just as I have an opinion about what your agenda is and the post above gave me the answer to that. Of course you are setting up a business in a small, predominantly maori town and want to get the backing of the iwi dictators, so you come to this space with your half cocked information and proceed to tell my people what they should be doing in relation to our affairs with our mana munching leaders, again I would urge you to mind your own business because it is obvious that you know very little about the issues that have been raised here. Perhaps you should redirect your focus to Virus Finance(oops I mean Verus Finance)I did take the time to visit your website and had a wee giggle at your mission statement(if it can be called that) Just another Joe Blow wanting to take advantage of people already at the bottom of the heap. Aue kare, shame on you is right.

  10. Important points to question are:

    A. Do NAGHL Directors follow a carefully prescribed (recognised) path and check list before proceeding with any investment?

    B. Was this followed by the Directors of NAGHL before proceeding with investment in both GO NET and CO2 MANAGEMENT NZ LTD?

    To put it more simply,

    1. Do they seek and act on expert advice provided in regard to any investment. (In this most recent case, before proceeding, Price Waterhouse Coopers was quite correctly asked to review the CO2 contract. Their report, raising serious issues, was in due course received by Graham Pryor - at that time a Director, AND STILL REMAINING AS A SHAREHOLDER OF CO2 NZ - and not passed on or acted on!) This in itself must raise extremely serious concerns.

    2. TRONA employs a professionally qualified (in-house) financial adviser and accountant, who I believe is independent of any ties with NA.

    An analysis of these last two losses made (Go Net and CO2 Management NZ Ltd), by NAGHL cannot be put down to "a period of uncertainty" as explained by Sir Wira. The facts alone provide us with the reasons.

    ** Conflict of interest and bad stewardship by the Directors of NAGHL.

  11. The audit committee said lawyers advised against the carbon contract. NAGHL should release this legal advice. And an audit showed the deal was so bad payments should be impairment tested to zero. They should release that docco as well. We paid the lawyer and Price Waterhouse Cooper. Those reports are ours.

  12. The explanation of events given by Sir Wira, and assurances to the TRONA Board of no wrong-doing on the part of NAGHL seem rather at odds with the facts supplied so far:

    1. JULY 12, 2012 - NAGHL Directors Sir Wira Gardiner and Graham Pryor sign a $3.8 million, 50-year carbon farming contract with CO2 New Zealand (despite them receiving and concealing expert advice strongly advising against this move).

    2. AUGUST 27, 2012 - GRAHAM PRYOR ceased as a Director of CO2 New Zealand Management Company Limited. (Source: Extract taken from the NZ Companies Register).

    Therefore, it does appear that Graham Pryor WAS a Director of CO2 NZ Management Company at the time he and Sir Wira signed the 50-year contract on behalf of Ngati Awa.

    1. It appears that Sir Wira has some further explaining to do, to put straight his version of this episode given to the TRONA board.

    2. Graham Pryor also has questions to answer:
    a. re his apparent conflict of interest
    b. why he concealed important expert information relating to the carbon farming investment by NAGHL.

    1. Graham pryor is still director of the major share holder of co2 management

  13. "I am here to protect the commerciality of NAGHL" said Sir Wira to TRONA Board recently.

    Hardly, there have been 3 major investment losses totalling many millions in a row, under your NAGHL Chairmanship.

    It would have been better to give each member of the tribe a cheque for $500 than squander those NA millions on risky investments.

    When it was pointed out to you that there was an opt-out clause (because of conflict of interest) in the signed contract with the CO2 Management company, why didn't you take it?

    You have been tried and found sadly wanting.

    1. No, it wouldn't have been better to give everyone $500. What for? The vast bulk of the registered members have NOTHING to do with their hapu let alone the iwi. Why would we want to pay more Brown Pakeha to signing a form and giving NOTHING to their own marae? We do that too much now already. By giving out $500 to strangers it's the same result - all down the toilet. Why should they benefit? A handout mentality is the sure guarantee to perpetual slavery. Been to an isolated rural community recently? An urban decile 1 ghetto? A hive of abuse, drug dealing, violence and mayhem. A haven for criminals trading in misery. Why would you ever give out money for more drugs, alcohol, gambling and misery? Oh don't tell me, to put food on the table, pay the rent - pay the Sky bill, pay my TAB account, a little in the pokies, KFC, a tray of Waikato to wash it down. Sounds like a normal day for half my relations. Yawn. Try working. Try birth control. Try getting educated. Try some personal responsibility. Try to get past being a victim in perpetuity. Waiting for settlements and iwi, handouts? Doomsday will arrive first. Don't let people keep telling you we're victims and tauiwi owe us. if they do, you'll never make them pay. Crumbs is all they have on the menu for Maoris.I am enjoying my wananga o Raukawa decolonisation course, as you can tell. Very liberating.

  14. If you lose significant amounts of money you should be held accountable, your position/employment terminated, at least disciplined.
    If you undertake fraudulent financial activities you should be reported to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and investigated, even prosecuted.
    Why has the Runanga not called for their resignations or instigated an investigation or made a complaint to the SFO?
    These issues have not been dealt with satisfactorily, and this means that we have serious leadership issues.
    I don't see any duty of care being applied by the Runanga reps, the NAGHL board members or the CEO with our assets, our future or our resources.
    We need change, we need a new board and a management team that does what the iwi wants, not a board or management team that hides things from the iwi, lies, and ducks and dives from their responsibility to us.

  15. Well that didn't take long, selling out already.

    As for the rest of you dreamers this site, apart from some footling mild entertainment and making the ignorant even more confused, has achieved nothing.

    Graham Pryor is laughing all the way to the Shanghai Bank.

  16. Call me a coward but I would like to hide behind anomyinity for the time being.I tautoko a lot of what Dion Mahutoto has written from his position of a observer looking in,but I also feel the pain and see the frustration that you Mrs Anonomous are feeling as more money goes down the drain.I do not see this as a time to draw guns at forty paces,but as a time to listen and to respect each others views and maybe to agree to disagree.If Dion is correct and the asset base of Ngati Awa has increased by 42%,than we must give credit were credits due,but like you Mrs Annonomous I share your concerns over the credibility of certain peoples(although I myself don't put the CEO into that area)and the personel agendas they adhere too.What I do have a problem with is the new kind of leaders we are developing,with their arrogance and their we know best attitude,which is just a spinoff of the European colonisers and the beliefs they carried in knowing what was best for the natives.If reports are true then it's arrogance that saw our leaders invest in carbon credits especially when professional advise,advised to the contrary.Being of Ngati Rangitihi and Ngati Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau as will as Ngati Awa descent like a lot of us of the rohe,the concerns that Mrs Annonomus has regarding credibility etc are the same concerns that alot hold from the two before mentioned hapu/Iwi.It must be remembered that Ngati Rangitihi invested over $200.000 on the same carbon credit deal and that the chairman was also a partner in the carbon credit company as will as a member of NAGHAL,then we get over to Kawerau and then we get to the Bev Adlam dealings etc.What I do believe we should be dealing with at the moment is the amounts of money being paid to trusties and board members throughout Aotearoa and that they get paid on the skills they poccess in regards to the nature of the trust because as a observer we seem to regard the major asset of a trustie as being a minister of religion, over a business degree!