Message from Kahurangi Dame Naida,
Last Elected Chair of Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust
Monday 12 September 2022

Kia ora koutou, 

You will be aware that an urgent online Hui ā Iwi was called for Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara last Thursday 8th September 2022 regarding non-compliance of Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust and its Elected trustee’s members.

I called the hui because of the risks associated with ongoing non-compliance and disunity within the Trust Elected trustee’s. A particular concern is absenteeism preventing meetings proceeding. We have had almost a whole year without meeting with a quorum as per our Trust Deed. I reminded whānau that just like on the marae, there are kaupapa and tikanga to adhere to when you are a trustee of your iwi’s assets and operations. It’s called trusteeship and fiduciary duty.

The elected trustee’s are simply not operating to the standards we should. Our governance is not working in the way that it should. And, certainly not in the way that was intended when the settlement was negotiated and completed 10 years ago.

In 2012 Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara’s treaty settlement included financial redress of $22.1 million dollars, the repatriation of approximately 675 hectares of land and commercial redress. The Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust was established to manage those assets.
The Trust represents 2,900 beneficiary members located within and outside our rohe. It also oversees the management of a commercial and social development arm and the protection of waahi tapu.

In May this year, Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara’s Elected trustee’s met to consider a management report which showed where the Trust was in breach of its Trust Deed. At the same meeting the Elected trustee’s considered a proposal to appoint a Commissioner (Kaikōmihana), to help the Board to get back on track. This was unanimously approved by the trustees. The full recommendations were:

1. That the Elected trustee’s supports seeking the guidance and assistance of a Kaikōmihana to assist the Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust Board toward transformational change.  This intention includes a strategic organisational reset of the following:
• Constitutional Trust Deed reform
• Governance re-organisation
• Operational re-shape

2. That a staged approach toward transformational change be adopted. This includes the restructure of the Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust Board subsidiaries.

Despite the unanimous elected trustee’s decision in May, the Trust has not been able to achieve a quorum at a meeting since then to start the process to recruit a Kaikōmihana. While things are not functioning as they should at present, this process is still about us exercising mana motuhake as a people. We have the opportunity and the ability to fix this ourselves.

If we don’t, we risk someone else coming in over the top and doing it. I do not want to see our affairs end up under the control of the Māori Land Court, the Māori Trustee or a Crown appointed agent. That is a risk that we currently face.

Being proactive and appointing a Kaikōmihana will help the Trust reform.

A detailed terms of reference for the appointment and the role of the Kaikōmihana has been put together, the first action of which is to form a selection panel.

We also have a detailed work plan to manage the Trust’s obligations and affairs and to start implementing the Tomorrow’s Ngāti Whātua Road map.

As promised, answers to the questions raised by Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara members in recent weeks and from the hui will be given in a Q&A document. This will be posted on Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara’s website and Facebook page and emailed to our database of members. This document will be updated regularly. In conclusion, I leave you with these final words:

Whāia te kotahitanga o Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara
Whāia te mana motuhake o Ngā Marae e Rima o te Kaipara.

Ngā mihi manahau

Kahurangi Naida Glavish
Last elected Chairperson
Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust

Sarah Īhāia-Chapman
Manahautū | Chief Executive
Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Development Trust

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