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Monday 14 October 2013

Things do not change, we do

It’s official – there are ten new faces on the Te Runanga o Ngati Awa board including a stalwart of Maori politics and a former staff member.
Results for the TRONA board elections were released last week however chief executive Enid Ratahi-Pryor ruled the results to be confidential until published in the Beacon today.

I can, now, confirm that the results are as follows:
Hakahaka Hona beat incumbent Hone Stipich by ten votes for the Tamaki Makaurau. At Ngati Hokopu ki Te Hokowhitua A Tu Te Rahui Maanu Paul took the seat held by Tani Wharewera by 25 votes.  Dayle Hunia (nee Fenton) won over Charles Bluett at Ngati Hokopu ki Wairaka by 49 votes. Keld Hunia beat off stiff competition from Cheryl Wilson, Tamaku Paul and incumbent Patrick Salmon for the Ngai Tamaoki seat, with a total of 119 votes lodged. And at Taiwhakaea Manu Tarau beat Jo Harawira and Georgina Maxwell.

According to Returning Officer Warwick Lampp the voter return was 27.49%, being 641 votes cast from 2,332 eligible electors of which 16.22% voted by internet and 83.78% voted by post.
Previously five seats had already changed with Serenah Nicholson now representing Ngati Awa ki Poneke, Tuwhakairiora (Conn) O’Brien at Te Pahipoto, Marcia Wahopango at Te Patuwai, Paul Quinn at Ngai Tamapare and Alfred Morrison at Ngai Tamawera.

So that makes ten changes to the 22-person board. The only unknown factor at the moment is whether Steffan Haua will be able to reclaim his seat for Maumoana.
Mr Haua failed to get his registration form in on time and legal advice is being sought about the situation. It is understood that a precedent has been set in the past when John Simpson failed to submit his registration papers on time and was not able to reclaim his seat.

Meanwhile, the new board will meet after it is ratified at the annual general meeting later this year and there are some who are eager to get to work.
Mr Quinn, who was the only person to stand at Ngai Tamapare , said he believed he had the necessary business experience.

“My main reason for standing was because the whanua wanted me to – the view was that given my extensive business and governance background coupled with the institutional knowledge I have on the establishment of the current Runanga and its various associated organisations, including Ngati Awa Group Holdings Limited and Ngati Awa Asset Holdings Limited, I had the necessary skills to contribute to the proper role the Runanga board should play.
“Given the fact that I am now spending more time in Whakatane I am available to contribute. I look forward to contributing to advancing the mana of Ngati Awa.”

Last year, Mr Quinn was set to take a position on the tribe’s financial arm, Ngati Awa Group Holdings Limited (NAGHL). Directors on NAGHL are required to stand down every three years and a rotating system is employed.

Two positions were advertised and Mr Quinn applied for one. At a TRONA board meeting last year, Mr Quinn’s application was deemed successful however at the Annual General Meeting held less than a month later it was announced that Joe Mason and Brian Tunui were the new directors.
Mr Quinn’s presence is likely to cause a bit of stir when the new board meets as is Maori Council chairman Maanu Paul.

I had organised to talk to Mr Paul about why he stood and what he hopes to achieve over the next year, however he has had to attend a tangi and has been unavailable.
And then there is my own hapu, Ngati Hokopu ki Wairaka.

I asked new member Dayle Fenton why she stood.
“I stood for the position because I believe that a collective, rather than individual leadership approach is key to the successful governance of the Runanga.  This collective approach is based on the principle that the primary role of the Rūnanga is to support the aspirations of our hapū. I see my delegate role as being a Kaitiaki of those aspirations.”

And she was very clear, when asked what she hoped to achieve in the next year.
“The Board must be able to clearly articulate the strategic direction so that management can follow.   As the Ngati Hokopu delegate, I intend to focus on exploring and capturing opportunities while maintaining alignment with the key areas of strategy, finance and risk.

“I think that the Board needs to review our structures - are they working for us or against us?”

And the most interestingly was when I asked her about voter turn-out.
“The voter turn-out was, and has always been, disappointing but I think that voter apathy is only part of the picture. I suspect that the majority of our people are disengaged from the Runanga and so better communication strategies are required including the use of IT (website and facebook) especially for those that live outside of the rohe.

“One way of ensuring better engagement would be to host alternative Runanga hui between Whakatane and Rangitaiki marae – this is not a new idea and is worthy of consideration by the Board.  I think that the Board needs to provide the platform for “korero that matters”.  Our marae are central to hapū well-being and should be utilised at every possible opportunity by the Runanga.”
I think she has got a point and that is why I will continue to write this blog.

There are plenty of naysayers out there but I think ten changes to the board and more than 25,000 hits since the inception of Tu Mai Te Toki are indications that people are reading this blog.  
I have always said it – my role is not to make decisions but to provide the information that I acquire so that you are able to form your own opinions, what you choose to do with it is up to you.

Incidentally, a position on NAGHL is up for grabs this year. Waaka Vercoe will reapply for it but if you think you have got the skills then get your application in because we need you.