Friday, 13 March 2009


Ngai Tahu would never be able to field a good rugby team. They are too busy playing the man and not the ball.

The Herald reports this morning about a letter circulating that attacks all the iwi members the writer believed are trying to get rid of Mark Solomon. It is nasty - we are aware of its contents.

our comments are in red

Internal revolt within Ngai Tahu is continuing, with seven tribal leaders banding together to push for change from within their governing body, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (Tront).

Yes that is correct.

Some of them say that because they've spoken out, a "nasty" campaign has started, which includes an anonymous letter being sent to media naming 10 iwi members and alleging, among other things, that some associate with rapists and murderers.

The typewritten note was sent to the Otago Daily Times this week. The author identifies the 10 as anti-Tront iwi members.

If they are ten then Solomon is in real trouble. He has lost the numbers.

Otakou Runanga chairman Tahu Potiki said the letter amounted to "threatening, bully-boy tactics".

He also alleged that his emails to other iwi leaders had been hacked.

For three weeks, the tribe has been in turmoil, a situation started by revelations it would be spending $52 million over four years on a cultural centre. Last month, Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chairman Wally Stone, who advised against that spending in the current market, was dismissed.

Mr Potiki said asking for "transparency" had seen all sorts of "hell" break loose.

Yip, both sides are claiming to want more transparency and accountability. Its a bit fo a worry for people like us who expected that by now the Tribe would have developed into a mature corporate citizen.

"This is because we want to have a debate about how much a building costs, how much senior management get paid and why they got rid of Wally Stone. In [a Ngai Tahu] election year, these are reasonable questions to ask, yet these nutbars think they can shut down all discussion because they want to hold on to power.

"And they think they're going to intimidate us with this sort of crap."

There is no way you can intimidate Tahu, big boy, big brain and probably a biggish ego. Unlike Solomon though, we think he displays more humility.

Chairmen from seven of 18 papatipu runanga - the constituents that make up Tront - yesterday publicly called for radical change in the way Te Runanga interacts with their members. They represent Hokonui, Otakou, Arowhenua, Awarua, Wairewa, Kaikoura and Ngati Waewae.

Yes this is the core of the dissent but other runanga are also split on support for Solomon.

The Herald requested an interview with Tront chairman Mark Solomon. But a spokeswoman said he was unavailable. In a written statement, he said he would not be involved in any further media debate.

We actually agree with this, not unitl he has met with his people first.

Awarua runanga chairwoman Hana Morgan said too many important decisions were being made in committee, without any accountability to members, eroding papatipu rights.

"We've tried going through our representative," she said. "They [Tront] ignore us. We've said, 'Come to the marae, listen to what we're saying'. They don't do that. It's like we're becoming invisible."

We don't do invisible in Awarua ( Bluff). We don't like being railroaded. The women of Awarua are known for their fearlessness and it is that strength that will carry them through. They have over the years garnered considerable support within their community.

Kia Kaha girls, Kia Kaha.

And this is from the ODT

Conspiracy against open speech is causing difficulties inside one of the country's wealthiest iwi, a prominent Ngai Tahu member says.

Otakou Runanga chairman and former Ngai Tahu chief executive Tahu Potiki said he is no longer prepared to be intimidated by "dirty tactics", following allegations of private emails being hacked, and an anonymous letter delivered to the Otago Daily Times.

Iwi members who have spoken out against recent decisions, including the sacking of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation chairman Wally Stone and the proposed $52 million cultural centre, have been attacked for airing their opinions, Mr Potiki said.

"There seems to be a conspiracy against open speech."

In other developments, Mr Potiki said he was aware of private emails circulating that appear to have been hacked and released to other recipients without their consent.

"This is not how people envisaged Ngai Tahu democracy should unfold."

That has to be the understatement of this whole saga.

This week, an anonymous typewritten letter was delivered to the Otago Daily Times concerning iwi members - viewed as being against Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere (chairman) Mark Solomon.

The letter alleges "there has been and continues to be a carefully managed and orchestrated effort to pull down the walls of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (Tront)", and names 10 iwi members, including Mr Potiki.

It appeared anyone who questioned the direction of Tront became the subject of a smear campaign, he said.

"It has become like a socialist government."

Tension between the commercial and political bodies of Ngai Tahu, which has an asset base of more than $600 million, spilled over last month following the surprise dumping of Mr Stone.

In a statement Mr Solomon refused to comment on the "current tribal issues Ngai Tahu is experiencing".

"I have taken this stance because the path forward for Ngai Tahu is to return to our values as a tribe and I am confident that we will resolve these matters through open and honest discussions on the marae.

"Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu is obligated to act in the best interests of Ngai Tahu Whanui, and it is for this reason that I have called a meeting of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu for us to address these matters as a responsible board."

There is no trust in the current administration, and if one of Marks supporters can name 10 who are not happy with his leadership, then his days are numbered.

Last month, Kaikoura runanga kaumatua requested Mr Solomon resign as their representative, calling for another person to stand in the June elections.

Mr Solomon has refused to comment on the future of his position, saying "the place to debate tribal politics is the marae".

A special closed door meeting between Tront representatives was held in Christchurch today, with an open hui scheduled for March 20.

A request by the ODT to attend the open hui was turned down by Ngai Tahu.

We wonder if Rehua is going to be big enough to handle the number of people who will be attending.


Anonymous said...

It is one thing to ask questions, especially when a person is prepared to put their name and personal credibility with it. That is a democratic right that any intelligent, thinking and honest person should welcome and endorse.

It is quite another thing to descend to 'gutter' tactics especially when clothed in anonymity.

If we are honest, most of us have made decisions in our past that do not reflect well on us nor represent the people we have become over our lifetimes. Likewise, most of us have relatives, close or distant, who have criminal records. Whether ours or theirs, it is something to regret and sometimes even difficult to accept but that is life.

To use such matters against people in a debate such as this is not appropriate, in my opinion. Further, I do not believe it to be founded in tikanga.

It can be no secret that I no longer support Mr Solomon as the Kaiwhakahaere. I reserve the right to say so but, I hope, I have focussed on the issues surrounding his role as one of the 18 Te Rūnanga members not anything else. I feel the same about all the eighteen. Their personal lives, relationships and friendships as well as their personal failings and vices are none of my concern as long as they do not affect the way they perform their roles at the Table.

Finally, I would say to those who crafted the letter to the various papers: Be very careful. The saying about glasshouses and stones comes to mind.

I hope that noone else will go down this path but it would be a brave person or a fool who thought that doing so might not rebound in their direction.

Anonymous said...

Well that post by Evelyn was revealing. She obviously knows something of what was in the paper that went to the ODT that I don't know. Perhaps as a non supporter of the Kaiwhakahaere she is on a different e-mail list to me.

Also it seems, whatever the information is Evelyn does not deny its veracity, she just says that not everyone else is so squeaky clean.

On this I agree with Evelyn, I don't care what people did in the past lives. If people get over a bad start or have a minor indiscretion along the way then I can live with that. But there has been a fair amount of misinformation out there recently and Tahu and the others know it is being deliberately skewed and presented so as to taint the good representatives at the table then that is a new bad deed.

If Tahu wants free speech then let us all open some of the closed files from his regime in the big house.

And maybe there is some more recent ones to be opened as well.

If Tahu and his cohorts want the tribe to know the truth then stop moaning that someone discovered that there is an orchestrated plan to create mayhem and mischief and come out and debate the issues based on the real facts and not the contrived version

I applaud Evelyn for coming out publically. There is a fair few on team Tahu who are still in the shadows.

As for me, I support neither Mark nor Tahu. I am here for the whanui and I am tired and frustrated that our Representative is not able to go to the people and tell us the truth because he or she has integrity and does not want to be in breach of the duties they have as Representatives

So now BB has 10 plus Evelyn speaking out against Mark. A little short of the 40,000

Anonymous said...

It doesn't require being o a separate mailing list merely a careful reading of the articles:
'Some of them say that because they've spoken out, a "nasty" campaign has started, which includes an anonymous letter being sent to media naming 10 iwi members and alleging, among other things, that some associate with rapists and murderers.'

Of course there are also comments that have been made on this blog and others over the past weeks but those I will not republish as that would be giving too much exposure to the kind of unpleasantness that I have already said I deplore.

I am not privy to the nature of the allegations in the letter beyond those published as I am not one of the people named, as far as I know, nor do I work for any newspaper. It would be fair to say, however, that I am fairly well acquainted with most of the 18 representatives, many of the Rūnanga Chairs and other iwi members who are active at a whanau, hapū and iwi level. That might give me some level of insight into what possible slanders might be involved given what has previously been said over past years when there has been disharmony at the Te Rūnanga table.

As I neither know, nor wish to know, the specific nature of the allegations, I cannot comment on any possible veracity or lack thereof. Even if I did know, I would disagree with the tactic and starve the writers of the attention they are so obviously craving.

The problem with character assassination is that mud sticks regardless of whether there is any basis of truth in the accusations and such statements made frequently enough become what people believe no matter how much evidence is produced to the contrary.

Having lived through this at a personal level during the past dissension at the table, I know just how nasty, unfair and inappropriate the slanderers and snipers can get so, regardless, I feel for those who were named, no matter who they may be. That is why I will not condone anyone, no matter who, alluding to supposed indiscretions of individual representatives , their whanau, friends, employees, neighbours, dogs or cats.

The issues facing the iwi are huge and will not be resolved by showing such disrespect for the mana of each individual iwi member. I admire all those who have been courageous enough to put their names to their opinions and thoughts during this difficult time. Those who write anonymous letters to the media making allegations about others are, in my opinion, beneath contempt. I own everything I have written and, if I have erred in fact, I am prepared to have that pointed out to me. I also accept and respect the right of others to disagree. Hopefully all my posts reflect that philosophy

Anonymous said...

BB See "The Press" today Seems your Chairperson at Awarua Hana Morgan is part of conspiracy to undermine Tront.
Thought your investigative skills would have uncovered this by now. Or did you turn a blind eye?
Richard Parata