Changes to Waikato-Tainui governance around the corner

By Mānia Clarke

The people of Waikato-Tainui are about to put in place already agreed changes to their governance. 

Members of their iwi government, Te Kauhanganui, voted in some restructuring recommendations in November, so they can improve the way they do things. 

It's 20 years since the Kauhanganui was set up under the Waikato-Tainui Raupatu Land Settlement.

According to Rahui Papa, “We've reduced the marae representatives from three to two.  Regardless of whether there are three or two representatives, the marae will still have a say in decisions.”

Over the years, there have been conflicts within Te Kauhanganui that have aired in public and in the courts.  The iwi have decided on a conflict resolution process which will keep any arguments in-house.

Papa says, “We've decided on a disputes resolution process using the traditional practices of our elders. We don't want court judges to decide our arguments. As the saying goes, ‘Be guided by the customs of your elders to decide between good and bad.’”

One important example of recent decisions has been to go ahead with a major commercial project at Ruakura on Hamilton outskirts.

Papa says they’ve completed the resource consent requirements and have cleared the road blocks away. Now they can make decisions on developers and get construction going.

In another important development, members have decided to not have non Waikato-Tainui experts sit on Te Ara Taura.  This will reduce the influence of outsiders on iwi decisions, but they will continue to be used as advisors.