Tensions have arisen over the governance of Te Unga Waka Marae in Auckland after Dr Lance O'Sullivan's claims of misappropriation of funds by the former governance board surfaced on social media.
O'Sullivan, who says he is the newly appointed chair, was on site today to 'secure' the property. The locks were changed and O'Sullivan says a police investigation is underway.
"We've been looking at the accounts and there are things that just don't add up. We just can't see where money has gone. 15 cash cheques is not a normal process, we can't account for thousands of dollars," he says.
But the board that has been running the marae says there has been no misappropriation of funds. and their supporters say O'Sullivan is bullying them.
"Well we acknowledge all the good work that he does [but] what's happening here is one of our kuia is getting bullied," says Vernon Ruwhiu, in support of board chair for the past 7 years, Annette Hakaraia.
Hakaraia herself defended her leadership of the marae, saying, "Whatever you see on tv about misappropriation, that's not me. As I walk out at the moment, there is $106,000 in [the marae bank account)."
Te Ao Māori News will bring more on the story as it develops.