Monday, 8 December 2014

There are more questions than answers; the burning BIRNIE questions

“Strong governance relates to processes and decisions that seek to define actions, grant power, and verify performance.”
Kia ora anō tātau katoa o Ngāti Awa – Mataatua
Ngā manaakitanga a te Runga Rawa ki a tātau katoa.
Tēnei te mihi maioha ki te hunga o Taiwhakāea na rātau te kaha ki te whakatū i te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Orini ki Ngāti Awa; kua whakamanatia nei hei kura mo ngā ākonga mai i te tau tuatahi ki te tau tuawaru (ngā manu hou ki ngā pia o te reanga tuarua).   Ka nui te harikoa mo ta koutou whakatūtuki i ta koutou wawata; hei taonga tuku iho mo ngā uri o Taiwhakaea, huri noa, huri noa. 
Warmest congratulations to the Taiwhakāea toilers whose struggles are now fulfilled in establishing Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Orini ki Ngāti Awa which is now a newly registered school for years 1 to 8 students (new entrants to form two).   We celebrate your achievement in accomplishment of your vision; a treasure for future generations of Taiwhakāea and beyond.   
In the past two days – yesterday, Sunday 7th December 2014, and today, Monday 8th December 2014 - I’ve attended the Annual General Meetings of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa – TRONA and the concurrent held NAGHL AGM – and Māori Investments Limited – MIL.   As is the tradition, the NAGHL AGM is held straight after the TRONA AGM is closed.
All three AGMs were very informative, with its own respective reporting and communications styles.    
The key issue of the NAGHL AGM was confirmation of the newly appointed NAGHL Board of Directors.   Those seven persons were named in the Tū Mai te Toki blog previous to this one.  
Four of those seven turned up to the AGM, and three briefed us on their suitability as NAGHL directors.   Bernard (Paul) Quinn did not issue such brief - he most likely knew it would increase already widespread exposure of his past poor track record in NAGHL circles.  Is that a good start?   Methinks it’s a clear indicator of continuation of boys’ club disease, and more ills to come.  
For that reason alone Ngāti Awa beneficiaries must insist upon annual rotation of NAGHL Directors, which, I am told, is already written into the NAGHL Constitution.   First and foremost for the seven NAGHL Directors is to put that into practice.   For my part, I will write to both NAGHL and TRONA asking that it be implemented ASAP, next year, a measure of “keeping them HONEST.”
I am absolutely disappointed that the interview panel of three women – Materoa Dodd (Chairperson), Dayle Hunia and Serenah Nicholson, and one male, Maanu Paul, failed to seize opportunity to permeate the obvious high need for gender-balanced, Ngāti Awa tūturu, impeccable directorship.
Even more demeaning is that they re-affirmed appointment of Bernard (Paul) Quinn and Tiaki Hunia – those two persons already have a proven poor track record in NAGHL circles, as does current TRONA CEO, Enid Ratahi-Pryor.
A shocking truth I was informed of today, (Monday 8th December 2014), is that there were other Ngāti Awa women NAGHL Applicants who were not short-listed.   One of them, a qualified lawyer, would have been a far better choice than Bernard (Paul) Quinn and Tiaki Hunia.   I can’t believe that such quality candidate was ditched by the women dominated interview panel, and, NO, she’s not related to me, personally.   I do, however, know of her passion, excellent performance and success rate in Māori-friendly governance and management.
This sort of outcome is unethical dog eat dog with its ruthlessness, no conscience and downright senselessness – there is no integrity.   Due to continuing repercussions of their past NAGHL track record I do not trust that Bernard (Paul) Quinn and Tiaki Hunia deserved to even be considered for re-appointment to the directorship they disadvantaged and left in shambles within the past 5 years.
There are more questions than answers; and understandably there are serious concerns about huge risks of continuing unhealthy power, glory and control so synonymous of incapacitating “Boys’ club” culture.   They make secure their Directorship by flouting the powers of the Companies Act 1993, but don’t like to be challenged / confronted for Director negligence for which they should be held personally liable under that same Act.   In that context, they act as a Dictatorship, not, Directorship, a case of – “My way or the highway, and if I balls-up, too bad.”  
Not many Ngāti Awa people are satisfactorily familiar with Bernard (Paul) Quinn’s involvement in the failed NAGHL $3.3million investment in Birnie Capital Properties Partnership because it’s full facts has been conveniently covered-up, particularly, by Sir Harawira Gardiner who was NAGHL Chairperson when that investment was authorised, then, evaporated.
I cut and paste, here, a story from the Dominion Post, and ask readers of this blog to draw your own conclusion(s) about the suitability, or otherwise, of Bernard (Paul) Quinn as a NAGHL Director.   
I base the incomprehensible appointments of Bernard (Paul) Quinn and Tiaki Hunia on its (de)merits.   It is not a personal vendetta but rather a concerted effort to cleanse Ngāti Awa of negligent bully leadership styles, and put it firmly on a pathway to honourable positivity with more meaningful “people power” participation.   There is too much exclusivity in closed-shop administration structures which incites unacceptable practices and worst case mismanagement.  
I also question the decision-making process of the 3 women, 1 male interview panel.   I still can’t believe that they sacrificed ideal women Applicants, thereby, causing us to be vulnerable to risks of more bullying abuse by proven ill-performing boys’ club practitioners.   Could it be that we have TRONA Mafia elements in our ranks, both internal and external?     
The Dominion Post story follows –
Director claims case 'could bankrupt' Birnie
Last updated 05:00 23/03/2010
The solvency – or otherwise – of investment banker Bill Birnie has emerged as the key issue in two crucial affidavits filed with the High Court at Auckland as part of a $19 million case brought by two aggrieved shareholders in one of his companies, Birnie Capital Property Partnership Ltd (BCPP).
The affidavits, from Mr Birnie and his fellow BCPP director Steve Norrie, were off-limits to the media until late last Friday, when Justice Raynor Asher lifted a suppression order he made earlier in the week at the behest of Mr Birnie's lawyer, Michael Reed QC. The order covered a ban on reporting the court hearing itself and any related documents.
Last week the court was told Mr Birnie and his associates could not pay a $19m damages claim being sought by the two shareholder-directors, Allen Peters and Bernard Quinn (an alternate for director Wira Gardiner). But Mr Norrie's affidavit goes further.
Should the shareholders succeed, "it could place BCPP in jeopardy by bankrupting Mr Birnie" and triggering his bankers, the BNZ, to foreclose on loans over several properties owned by Mr Birnie and his interests.
Mr Norrie also said the slump in property values during the recession meant the realisable value of Mr Birnie's landholdings, private equity investments and other assets was less than the amount owing to his bankers.
"Following this deterioration in asset values, and the resultant difficulties in liquidating any of them, Birnie Capital and its various operating subsidiaries have operated under management by the BNZ," he told the court.
Mr Birnie, worth $100m according to last year's NBR Rich List, yesterday repeated his assertion he was not broke.
Asked if he risked being bankrupted if the two shareholders won their case and he and his interests were forced to stump up $19m, he said finding that much money "would be difficult to do".
But he said Mr Norrie "has his own view" of the value of the Birnie assets, which was "more pessimistic" than his own assessment of their worth. "[Mr Norrie] marks every asset to market on the basis of a quick fire-sale," Mr Birnie said, and a fire-sale was not happening.
On the prospect of being forced to repay $19m, Mr Birnie said he owned nearly 50 per cent of the company at issue. "Will I be writing myself a cheque for $9m? I wouldn't think so." He also denied the BNZ was managing his companies.
Mr Norrie could not be contacted yesterday for further comment.
In the case before the High Court, Justice Asher is being asked to rule on a bid by the two BCPP shareholders to force the company to bring a derivative action under section 165 of the Companies Act against Mr Birnie, Mr Norrie and two Birnie-related entities, Paoneone Settlement Trust No5 and Picasso Nominees.
Lawyers for the pair also want an interim injunction forcing the BCPP board to exercise a $19m put option over Lion Rock – a Birnie-owned company, sold by Mr Birnie into BCPP that is seeking to develop a golf course on the Purerua Peninsula in the Bay of Islands.
The BCPP board is deadlocked on the put option issue. A complicating factor is a $6.5m mortgage held by the BNZ over another BCPP-owned property on Kawau Island, against which Mr Birnie has a personal guarantee of $2.5m to the BNZ.
In his affidavit, Mr Norrie said because of Mr Birnie's guarantee, his affairs and those of BCPP were "inextricably interlinked". He said the BNZ had previously acted in a "value-destructive manner" against a Birnie company, and he feared the bank might try something similar against BCPP if the put option were exercised.
- The Dominion Post (end of cut’n’paste).
Sound like the classic “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” story gone wrong?   Sure am.   The sad fact is – it was never Paul Quinn’s nor Sir Harawira Gardiner’s $3.3million to squander in the first place, and because it wasn’t, extra caution should have been taken to safeguard it with full appreciation that those who authorised it would be held personally liable to compensate any loss(es).   The Dominion Post reports Bernard (Paul) Quinn as an aggrieved Director-Shareholder of Mr. Birnie’s company.   It’s news to me that Quinn was a Director-Shareholder of that Birnie company, and the question arises – Did he declare conflict of interest before the $3.3million investment was authorised by Chairperson, Sir Harawira Gardiner and others?   Did they engage satisfactory due process and due diligence – those details remain “closed-shop” – the beneficiaries of Ngāti Awa are denied that full information.  The Minutes of the relevant NAGHL Meeting will confirm if conflict of interests was declared, if such meeting was ever held.
The prevalence of self-seeking leadership is so widespread in post settlement governance entities of Māori organisations a sharp vigilance is justified, and to maintain that TŪ MATAARA  role one must be blessed with courage to challenge, question and force the issue of poor decision-making in high risks avoidable losses.
The question now is – “Where to from here?”  
We have a new NAGHL Directors’ Board – made up of four internals – (of Ngāti Awa whakapapa), and three (pākeha non- Ngāti Awa) externals.    WHY was it increased from five, when we are bombed with claims of cash-strapped TRONA and NAGHL – straight away volatility is an issue.   That volatility is increased by the appointment of Bernard (Paul) Quinn and Tiaki Hunia, given their already undeniable poor track record in NAGHL circles.
Where to from here?   The following is my TŪ MATAARA expectations –
1.     Annual rotation of NAGHL Directors, starting 2015 - with Bernard (Paul) Quinn and Tiaki Hunia the first to rotate;
2.     That all Ngāti Awa beneficiaries participate in annual elections by rotation of NAGHL Directors at the NAGHL AGM – as is the practice in MIL.   If it is true that only the 22 hapu delegates of TRONA are the NAGHL shareholders, as Joe Mason alluded to at the TRONA AGM, then, a high priority is to amend the Constitution so that all Ngāti Awa beneficiaries are eligible to vote in rotation of  NAGHL Directors.   I stated to Joe Mason that it is unacceptable that limitations are imposed by the powers of the Companies Act 1993, which, limits the rights of the “little people” who make up the MAJORITY;
3.    That all NAGHL Directors commit to consent to compensate risks of loss of any investments over $500thousand, where Director negligence is an issue, and proven;
4.      That an annual $half million is allocated by NAGHL and TRONA to a Hapu Endowment Fund for the purpose of hapu participation in joint venture investments partnerships;
5.       That a record of Directors’ attendance at NAGHL hui is issued at the TRONA / NAGHL AGM’s;
6.      That more than two consecutive Director non-attendance at NAGHL hui will result in reductions of that Director’s fees;
7.   That independent professional recruitment services are assigned to new staff recruitments;
8.      That NAGHL and TRONA provide for meaningful resourcing (reflected in relevant budgets) for producing Te Reo Maori resources.
All those reading this blog may wish to add to this list.
Ki a tātau e matatau ana ki taua waiata – “There are more questions, than answers.”   E mōhio ana tātau ko ngā kupu whānui ake, he pēnei –
“There are more questions than answers, pictures in my mind that will not show,                        There are more questions than answers, and the more I find out, the less I know, YEA, the more I find out, the less I know.”                                                    
Na reira, reo rangatira mā, he pai tonu ma wēnei kupu whakaari whai ake nei, hei whakakapi i wēnei kōrero  –
“Ma te rere-a-pēpeke e kitea ai te ataahua o te anuhē – Only by the flight of the butterfly is the beauty of the caterpillar revealed.”
I tangohia mai wēnei kupu no te rotarota i roto i te reo a tauiwi, na te mea, ko tōna hōhonutanga kia mau tonu ki te whakapono he painga tonu ka puta a tōna wā, meinga, e āta tiakina paitia ana tōna tākenga mai – I have borrowed these words from a pākeha poem as it carries an appropriate message, being; that we maintain faith that righteousness will soon be ours if its tender development is carefully nurtured.
Another feedback perspective is – the life cycle of the butterfly is so short we must seize the moment when its beauty enhances our world – Seize the opportunities for they may be short-lived, and understand the importance of a stronger focus on the here and now;

Mauri ora tātau katoa – Ngā mihi nui o te wā, me te tau hou pākeha, ki a koutou katoa.    

Monday, 1 December 2014

“The seven wonders of the NAGHL world”

“The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavours without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake”
Alan Greenspan

Kia ora huihui mai anō tātau o Ngāti Awa!


The decision is out to all the world; it’s already reported in the local press, we now have a proposed NAGHL Board of seven Directors, subject to, acceptance at the AGM on Sunday

7th December 2014.


It’s increased from five to seven, and I’m curious about affordability of that increased number, given the reported financial struggles of the last few years. 


I never attended the last TRONA hui (held Friday, 21st November 2014).   I was at Te Orohi Paul’s tangihanga at Te Teko.   But I had all intentions of issuing this blog, regardless.


I’m told the successful seven are four “internal” and three “external” appropriately skilled persons.   I’m chuffed that one of them is our TRONA Ngā Maihi representative, Regina O’Brien, and, in my unbiased opinion, she’d be the most honest.   Besides her, there is one other, “external,” wahine – the gender imbalance “tradition” (aka the boys’ club) remains intact.   It’ll be interesting to find out the gender scale of applicants, and those shortlisted.


The proposed seven are –

Internal:  (Ngāti Awa)

1.     Heta Hudson      -   new to TRONA;  currently, Auckland-based Chartered Accountant.                                            

2.     Tiaki Hunia          -   currently, Deputy Trustee with Te Tumu Paeroa, previously called the

                                          Maori Trustee.   Also, previously TRONA General Manager.

3.     Regina O’Brien   -   currently, TRONA Ngā Maihi delegate.

4.     Paul Quinn          -   currently, TRONA Ngāi Tamapare delegate. 


External:  (Non-Ngāti Awa.   All new to TRONA)

5.     Debbie Birch          -   Global financial market specialist

6.    Tony De Farias       -    Chiefs’ Rugby board director

7.     Peter Drummond   -     Variety Club board Director


This is it, in alphabetical order.


We now wait in anticipation for the AGM, after which I will post the next blog.   It is wise to wait until that time to provide a synopsis of the new look NAGHL – of this seven, I am familiar with only three, Tiaki Hunia, Regina O’Brien and Paul Quinn.  


In my previous post I was not supportive of Paul Quinn for reasons stated, and I uphold that viewpoint.   I intend to reiterate that at the AGM.


I have “food for thought” kōrero to share.


If you have been to the TRONA office in the past five or so years, you will see in the main foyer a carved figure taken from the resurrected Mataatua wharenui – yet another TRONA liability.


When I first came across that carved figure in the TRONA office foyer, I was horrified to see that its head and body has been obviously cut through the middle.


I spent many years with my tohunga whakaairo hungarei pāpā, before he died in 2001.   From that experience I have a reasonable appreciation that carved pou of the era when Mataatua whare was first built, around the 1880’s to 1890’s, were protected by the lore of tapu that could only be harmonised (made noa) by he who applied that protection.


When I first saw that sad “cut-up” whakaairo I talked to the then, CEO, Jeremy Gardiner, and told him it was inappropriate to hang a “murdered” pou as had been done, and, to harmonise it there needed to be water feature at its feet, with greenery around it, or remove it for burial.   Failure to do so will bring adverse consequences.   I also told that to Mr. Ngaropo.   They both laughed and shrugged it off; so typical of today’s so called leaders.


My father-in-law would also say – “Do not upset te ao wairua, for it has a force far greater than you could ever imagine.”   Each time he said that his body language spoke louder than his words.  I always knew it to be a rau (leaf) from his tohunga whakaairo teachings.


Ever since that first time encounter with that mutilated whakaairo in the TRONA office foyer, there has been unfavourable performance all around for TRONA.   You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that TRONA operates a “top-down” structure, which, quite frankly, has never worked.    


Now let’s consider the “bottom-up” model taking place just 13 kilometers away in Tuhoe land.   Ngā kaumātua still have the mana, and as wise advisers they skillfully bring conflict situations under control, with utmost respect.   That is a tikanga which is noticeably absent in TRONA, and our “ao wairua” values have been, and continue to be, slammed.


With all due respect to those of Ngāti Awa who hold fast to our cultural values, I am saddened when I see arrogance and ignorance of leadership styles that disadvantage the “on-the-ground” people.   The inevitable consequence is, the elitist few control and oppress the “forgotten” majority.


I’m hoping that the new NAGHL seven will not inherit the burdens which beset the previous NAGHL five.   At a glance they have a mammoth task to sift through, identify and strengthen weaknesses, optimise strengths, seize opportunities and minimise threats.   “Growing the people” more meaningfully than has occurred in the past would be a good starting point, and, perhaps, someone will mitigate the violation of our ao wairua values by rescuing and harmonising the mutilated tipuna pou whakaairo.  


Noho ora mai tatau katoa i runga i nga manaakitanga o te Kaihanga Nui.  Arohanui.

Monday, 3 November 2014

The “Boys Club” Paradigm Shift . . . Tīhei Mana Wahine

Kia ora koutou o Ngāti Awa
Tirohia mai anō rā tēnei pūhara; hoki mai anō rā ki - Tū Mai Te Toki.
Me kii, koinei te reo karanga e tuku whānuitia ai te mōhiotanga o ngā nekeneke e ahatia ana wa tātau rawa-a-iwi e to tātau Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa; e tū mataara ai tātau.  
Puta hōhonu mai ana wēnei kōrero i ngā hui o ngā Pū Arahi e whakahaeretia nei e Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (TRONA).
Ko te whakaaro i uru mai ki au, kāore ano nei kia āta poupou pūmautia pēna ka tū-a-marama; a-rua-marama, rānei, ngā hui Pū Arahi o TRONA.   Engari, hei tēnei wā, ia rua marama, ka tū aua hui - he mea whakaheke iho i te utu mo aua hui.   
I tae atu ahau ki te hui i te 31 o Whiringa a Nuku 2014.   Koinei te wā tuatahi mo taku mau i tēnei pōtae, te tū hei kai tuhi mo Tū Mai Te Toki.
Na reira, nau mai rā; haere mai rā; hoki mai rā.

Be ever on full alert; welcome back to - Tū Mai Te Toki, (the sentry post).
May we exalt this as the voice for information sharing of the management by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa of our iwi assets, so we may be fully aware of where it’s all at.
The depths of information is derived of governance hui conducted by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (TRONA).
I gain the impression that there is not yet consistency and stability of monthly or bi-monthly conduct of these hui.    However, presently, hui are conducted bi-monthly as a cost-cutting measure. 
I attended the hui held 31st October 2014.   This is my inaugural hui wearing this hat as writer for Tū Mai te Toki.
Without further ado, a warm welcome back to you all.

Kōrero whakataki (Introduction)
As I re-energise in this role, I am thinking - a Reo Rangatira version, translated to te reo a tauiwi, is our goal;  adorned with te mita o Ngāti Awa.
There are understandable concerns amongst hapu representatives that the conduct of bi-monthly governance meetings means larger volumes of business in limited time, and, therefore, quality information sharing is compromised.  
The hui started 9:30am, with one hour (scrumptious) lunch break, and closed at 4:10pm.
Overall the hui emanated positivity - generated by more robust spontaneity of hapu representatives and the positivity of the recent Ngāti Awa Te Toki Festival.

Te whakatika i ngā kino – Allaying negativities
We are all by now aware of recent publicity of findings by independent auditor of irregularities afflicting Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi (TWWOA) performing arts programme.  The outcome of that is TWWOA is to refund $6million to Tertiary Education Commission (TEC).   The following was reported to TRONA representatives –

Hirini Mead
When it happens it hurts a lot of people and the hurt is shared by hundreds of people.  So it is not something the wānanga is proud of.
The students themselves have been affected by it, their relations, the staff and all our supporters around the country, so there is a huge job for the wānanga to try to calm everything down.
We are trying hard to calm everyone down, and reasure them that we are doing things to try to fix it up as quickly as possible to try to reassure everyone in the country, and overseas.

Layne Harvey said he had represented the wānanga at the rūnanga meetings in May, August.
He said the Delolittes audit started in September.
The moment those audits were concluded we told the chief executive officer write to all of the directors.
He described the situation as the perfect storm involving misconduct swirling together to create the situation that we are in.
The wānanga has refunded the money back to the funding authority.
No money is lost, squandered, or stolen.
Mr Harvey said the wānanga had gained approval from NZQA to change the course.
Obviously there are now denials, and that’s a continuing conversation that we have been having.
217 students are affected.
Former staff submitted an invoice confirming that 18 weeks tuition had been delivered when they had not been.
The serious fraud office are not investigating Awanuiarangi.
That is the one point that has to be stressed that some different measures need to be looked into, including some legal.
It may involve suing trusts in other tribal areas, and pursuing the trustees and making them bankrupt to get the money we say is due to us.
217 opportunities are underway to complete the course work to properly be accredited points to their qualification.
1 staff is dismissed for misconduct; other consequences may follow.
1 is going through the HR process.
We cannot say who it is; and what is going to happen.
The TWWOA council is taking all steps to make sure this doesn’t affect us.
Those who are directly responsible are being made to be accountable, and unfortunately it may require the full force of the law, and that will affect tribal relationships.
Is there any point in pursuing people who don’t have any assets, to achieve the remedy?

Wira Gardiner
Deal with all of the Wellington parts.   He has visited several ministers,  including Joyce, to reassure the ministries and government.
To give them confidence that the matters have been dealt with in the appropriate way according to law.
This afffects one side of our business; the bulk of our business is still functioning properly.
There is another review.   Once we know the update of that review we will update the rūnanga.
Wira is now the “external” face of wānanga.
Sending the message to all of the stakeholders that we are on top of it,  we are going to fix it,  and it is never going to happen again.
The wānanga council has six places for rūnanga representation.
A strong balance sheet of $53m, and income was $20m for the last financial year.
While we had to pay out almost $6m from our reserves, it continues to be healthy.
We were able to create a silo, and have it quarterized.
No process system can be designed to act against an individual who had high trust in the orgnaisation, especially when that high trust individual breaches the confidence of the organistaion.
We think we have got it.
We now have to look at all the associated courses that these invidudals have touched, and we know that we are not going to find more of the pirau.
We agreed with the government that we have got to do another review.   That’s another signal that we are not letting this rest.
WIT (Western Institute of Technology) in Taranaki are facing similar charges as Awanuiarangi.
In the next month or two other polyctechs are now under scrutiny, and more will be found.
My view is that we will chase those people who owe us money, and we will use the full force of the legal avenues possible to us.
All we can say officially and publicly is that the matter is with the serious fraud office and it is  investigating further.
If we have to chase them (the culprits) then we have to chase them.
Joe Mason
For the last 25 years we have been leasing part of the Whare Wānanga to TWWOA at $1 a year; and that has been happening for the last 25 years.
At the last meeting,  Audit New Zealand has raised with us that it is not really a risk in terms of the arrangement.   We haven’t got a lease in place and there is no lease agreement.   Awanuiarangi could be kicked off at a moment’s notice.
Either we sell the place to Awanuiarangi,  or rent it,  and have a long term lease to make their postion more suitable.

Te Kāhui Kaumātua
Hemana Eruera
There were two relevant issues that we discussed.   The first one was that we have been approached by Paul Francis because he wants to utilise the railway track from Pekatahi to Awakeri.
He consulted us because he’s facing a bit of difficulty with the council and he has asked iwi if we can suport him.   The Kāhui Kaumātua have given its support.
Te Kāhui Kaumātua have also given Ngāti Hokopū their suport for the Ngāti Hokopū application.
Maanu Paul indicated that he had applied to be a director of the tribe’s financial arm - NAGHL.   I will be present at the Appointments and Remunerations Committee (ARC) meetings, but I step outside whenever these issues are in place.
Charlie Bluett has been placed on NAGHL temporarily until the new appointments are made.   The resolution was passed by Pouroto Ngaropo and Materoa Dodd.
Te nako o te kōrero (At the heart of hui proceedings)
The Draft Annual Plan
As constituents of Ngāti Awa it is important to know that the Annual Plan is drawn from Te Ara Poutama 50 year plan, from which has been produced the Five Years Strategic Direction 2013 to 2018 document; then, the Annual Plan is taken from that document, which, is the guiding tool to progressively realise the Ara Poutama vision of the next 12 months.
Given that the strategic direction commenced 2013, the plan is a year behind in implementation, and, given the available TRONA resources, it is in order to ask, WHY the delay?  
Pouroto Ngaropo stated this is the first ever Annual Plan, and that several hapu representatives’ orientation workshops have been held at Te Manuka Tutahi Marae.   He stated that in response to requests for more time to prudently scrutinise the Annual Plan.

Enid Ratahi-Pryor - CEO
Enid gave her power point presentation.  
 It oozed of positivity of feedback and reports of the Ngāti Awa Festival held Labour Weekend 25th to 27th October 2014.   Such was the subtleties of enticing panache I was left thinking, “I hope the hapu representatives are awake to this style.”
I was not disappointed.   While positivity is cause for celebration, the risk of it detracting attention from important management issues was, fortunately, avidly kept on track by the 21 representatives present.   Some expressed concerns that the glossy power point presentation should not substitute a preferred hard copy for respective hapu discussion and archival record.
I, personally, did not go to the Labour weekend Ngati Awa Festival due to other commitments.   Nevertheless, I had opportunity to follow the positivity on Facebook, which, was amplified at the TRONA hui. 
The power point included the budget and costs of the Festival.   TRONA had set a budget of    $20 000, however, the event ended up costing $49 245, including; $9 600 on seating, $4 500 for marquee hire, advertising of $8 040 and a staff bill of $4 000.  The total cost of the event was            $74 000, however, $25,200 sponsorship left a final bill of $49 245.
How that deficit is to be offset is not clear.  
Enid stated –
We are over by $29,000, so we are asking can you find it?
If this went to a marae it will be a lot more expensive.   If this event goes outside Te Mānuka Tūtahi marae that will increase costs.
Della Te Pere (Ngati Awa Te Toki Festival organiser)
Politically TRONA is set up to look after us through business and everything. The Ahi Kaa committee is not.
There is a different level of movement that happens there, so that it doesn’t get caught up in the politics of here.   Ngāti Awa Te Toki needs to start planning now for the next years.

Given that this is the second Ngāti Awa Festival event, but, the first bursting with cultural extravaganza, we can expect it to be a valuable learning curve in organising iwi-wide cultural enrichment of grand scale.
Finding forgiveness of a deficit of over twice the budget estimate, in times of reportedly tight financial constraints, is a big ask.   It reflects continuing fluidity of boundaries between governance and management, and, in particular, the capriciousness in formulating credible sustainable costs.
Twice over budget exposes a number of risks, including that it is now a tool to justify future indiscriminate flagging of these “growing the people” events because it’s simply not affordable.   There were strong overtones that if hapu wish to continue with these events then each could take up the responsibility of organising it, including financial contributions.
Delegating between traditional, (ahi kaa), and contemporary, (politically orientated), practices, as suggested, is not a solution I would buy into.  
That is, limited resourced ahi kaa taking care of tūturu tikanga, while well-resourced TRONA is tasked to generate and manage wealth for all our benefit, is already a proven clash of ao tūroa and ao hurihuri values.   
Over the years since the 2005 settlement, and before, we have seen distasteful examples of Ahi Kaa (Te Kāhui Kaumātua) bullying, to smother justifiable challenges to questionable TRONA bad practices.   The “boys-club” thrives on that old guard bullying; kept alive by “on demand” intimidating Ahi Kaa intervention.   By my recall, it inflicted $9million of impairment write-off, without proper explanation, and we can hardly call that acceptable accountability.   Somewhere in that grey cloud, a rich pakeha and identifiable NAGHL Directors, engaged in poor investments, without due diligence and due process, amounting to serious abuse of iwi funds, and, effectively, got away with it.   My understanding is the pakeha is still a wealthy businessman, as are the NAGHL Directors and key TRONA persons involved in that poor investment twist of bad faith.                 
It was a very full Agenda, and, quality time to grasp and fully understand the issues was questioned by a number of hapu representatives.
The Annual Plan drew responses of –
Paul Quinn  -  It is “far too busy” and we need to take it away for further scrutiny – there are too many strategies and not enough time to prudently approve it today, (as was the expectation).” 
What are the strategies, and what are the action plans?
Maanu Paul  -   “Āta whakangāwaritia; āta whakarāpopototia; (carefully make it easier, and shorter, for better understanding).”
No where in this plan is there the process for the hapu.
Serenah Nicholson  -
The plan was about reo, education and housing.
I don’t see anything representing that in your plan.
We have lost the PTE (Private Training Establishment).   The rūnanga doesn’t have its own health arm, that is under Te Tohu o te Ora o Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Awa Social and Health).
I don’t think I see anything that represents the KPI of achieving it.
I’m a bit worried about us because all we expect is for NAGHL to give us money, we are not talking about innovative things.
I can’t see anything happening there.   There is nothing on the radar to tell me that we could be satisfied sufficient to approve this plan.
Enid Ratahi-Pryor -
We are running a $400,000 budget deficit.
We do have a hau ora, NASH is our hau ora.
The reason it doesn’t show up in here is because we do not have the budget to provide health.
If Development Ngati Awa (DNA) needs to be more productive, then we need to have funds to support that space.
Joe Mason -
The Annual Plan should have been done before the corresponding budget, not after, as is the case; you either acccept it for what it is, or we go back to the wishy-washy ways we were doing before.
The Annual Plan was deferred to the next meeting, at end of November 2014.   The report was received but not approved.
Financial Report
Mana Newton Associate Director; Deloitte Professional Services
Is, currently, TRONA Acting CFO, (since January this year).  
His report follows –
NAGHL operating income of $1.5million.
Operating profit of $83,000.
There is an Operations Budget, and an Investments Budget.
Movements in investments is Market driven.
There is a $682,000 increase in assets.
The net profit, after minority interests adjustments, is - $139,000
There was unplanned expenditure including new buidlings and extra maintenance at the Tumurau farm;   we lifted up the shed and we found things as you always do, so the costs accumulated a little bit more than what was budgeted.
Audit Finance and Risks Committee (AFR)
An internal review is being conducted of the terms of reference (TOR) of the investment committee.   All NAGHL investments are on hold, as a more robust risk management system is needed.
Currently, there is an investments committee but until 7th December 2014 (the date of the 2014 AGM), there is only one person left.
The investment committee is on hold until the TOR is reviewed

CO2 credits
Currently, worth $4.30.
There has been no update on that.  
Deloitte estimated in 2010 that carbon credits would be worth $75.00, which, was the high end of the market, then re-valued it @ 50%, to $37.50.
NAGHL estimated future value of carbon credits of $20; because of the uncertainty they took a more conservative view that $20 is more appropriate.
The forests have been planted, and we do have a further contract to plant forest to the value of $700,000.   It is going to cost $700,000, and $130,000 every year for maintenance.   It is a 50 year contract, and the investment that has been made of $2.9m, has been impaired -  charged to the profit and loss account in the year in which it is transacted.
It is no longer an investment unless processes change.   Currently, management is reviewing the arrangement and that is all we can say.
The Mataatua Wharenui Financial Report is unaudited.
Audit Finance Risk (AFR) Committee
Made up of -
Peter Taylor, Regina O’Brien, Manurere Glen
Auditor is Deloitte.
No internal deficiencies;
Strong enough to produce financial statements;
Review of Terms of Reference;
Sign-off of invoices and all Management activity.
TRONA to approve –
1.     Financial Statements for Year ending 30th June 2014;
2.     Audit;
3.     Terms of Reference (TOR) Review;
Pahipoto Hapu representative, Tūwhakairiora O’Brien questioned – Who is doing the TOR Review?
Answer – the Audit Finance and Risks Committee.

Appointments and Remunerations Committee  (ARC)  - Materoa Dodd
(Discussions, held in committee)
This is a new committee assigned to appoint personnel, and set salaries.

NAGHL – The “Boys Club” paradigm shift
As recently advertised, all current five Directors of NAGHL have either resigned, or are due to rotate and will not be seeking re-election.   They are Joe Mason, Waaka Vercoe, Wira Gardiner, Brian Tunui, and interim – Paul Quinn.  
Following the “removal” of Graham Pryor, (who is replaced in the interim by Paul Quinn), earlier this year, the NAGHL Board, widely perceived as the “exclusive playground of the boys club,” has struggled to clean its less than satisfactory reputation.  
Is this the great migration paradigm shift?  
As the old saying goes – “It takes only one rotten apple to spoil the rest in the basket.”
What is obvious is that due diligence and due process fell way short of the mark.
Watch this space, e hoa mā!
(I learnt from my Ngā Maihi AGM, held Sunday 2nd November 2014, that, as at 3pm, Friday 31st October 2014, there are 65 Applicants for the 5 NAGHL Directors’ positions).  
That is now updated to a total 80 Applicants for 5 vacancies.
Maanu Paul and Paul Quinn are two of those 80 Applicants.
The ARC – Materoa Dodd, Dale Hunia, Serenah Nicholas, Joe Mason and Maanu Paul - is now tasked to long list and short list all Applicants, then, interview them, to choose the successful five.  Of course, Maanu Paul is to vacate ARC on this occasion due to his Applicant conflict of interest.   Hapu representatives will then endorse the ARC recommendations.   It is rumoured that there is opportunity for the iwi to also endorse (or dispute) those recommendations at the 7th December 2014 TRONA  AGM.   That is my understanding of the NAGHL appointments process.
Based on that understanding, I believe the potential appointment of Paul Quinn is a risk, given his involvement in the now impaired Birnie investment gone wrong, that he is very familiar with, and his current CEO of Ngāti Tūwharetoa Geothermal Assets (NTGA) contract requires further scrutiny.   It has been widely pubicised that Paul Quinn had some involvement in “the Birnie golf course development gone wrong” investment of several million dollars of NAGHL funds.    Paul Quinn, himself, confirmed to me, earlier this year, that Mr. Birnie is his personal friend.    Who Paul Quinn has in his social circles is his business, however, I am also entitled, as Ngāti Awa beneficiary, to share concerns about their involvement in failed investments of irrecoverable millions of NAGHL dollars.
Paul Quinn may not have had a direct involvement in the Birnie investment as he has told me, however, an indirect involvement is grounds to question, and conduct the required audit check of his suitability to be a NAGHL Director.      
My Ngāti Awa beneficiary view is – anyone with a tarnished track record, linked to NAGHL, should be treated with utmost scruple of conscience, that is, prudent discernment is a must.   This is not about being personal; it is about acting professionally with integrity.   I am happy to talk kanohi ki te kanohi, AGAIN, with Paul Quinn, to explain.

Mātaitai Report – Charlie Bluett
Pahipoto representative, Tūwhakairiora O’Brien, questioned replacements for Kaumātua now deceased – motions should be submitted (at this meeting).
Joe Mason explained the process of Customary Fishing – there has been 3 attempts to get rohe moana.   Next step is to gain a Mātaitai, which, empowers own rules and regulations.
The first application was stymied by other Applicants in the rohe. 
Ngāti Awa has resurrected the kaupapa – just started again.   Aim for new Mātaitai next year.

Hapu Reports
Wharepaia –
Materoa Dodd  - Supports positive feedback of Ngāti Awa Te Toki Festival.
Ngāti Hokopū Wairaka –
Karla Akuhata (fill-in for Dale Hunia) – Issued a written report with 5 resolutions, THAT -
i)     Minutes of TRONA Meetings to be provided to representatives within ten working days of the meeting;
ii)   Representatives are able to distribute minutes to hapu members upon request provided that minutes are clearly labelled as “draft” until ratified at the next meeting;  
iii)   “In committee” Minutes are to remain confidential to Representatives and are not to be distributed;
iv)    Board Meetings are held once a month (other than January)
v)     Representatives are provided with the monitoring reports in a timely and accurate manner as required by the Charter, including:  Full quarterly reports from the Community Development Trust, Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Limited, Ngati Awa Asset Holdings Limited, including full disclosure of operations and financial position.
Debate about the value of TRONA summary of meetings, and issuing of DRAFT Minutes, ensued.   Tūwhakairiora O’Brien suported issuing of DRAFT Minutes, as it is draft only until endorsed at the meeting following.   Pouroto Ngaropo stated there was no policy for issuing of DRAFT Minutes, and there needed to be one, for safety reasons.   For operational efficiency there needed to be monthly reports from NAGHL, TRONA and others; however, there was strong argument for and against that the TRONA summary was sufficient; while some were adamant that the bi-monthly cycle was too long for catch-up, and its time factor impact a disadvantage.
Te Hokopū ki Te Hokowhitu-a-Tūmataūenga   
Maanu Paul -  No written report due to non-alignment to hapu hui.   Emphasised increased depth of wotk to understand issues.
Te Patuwai and Ngāti Maumoana  
Puti Williams and Marcia Wahapango
Issued written report.   Issues reported –
-   RENA application to Environment Court;
-   Motiti Island Marae Committee AGM;
-   Te Patuwai Tribal AGM;
-   Te Patuwai Governance;
-   Te Patuwai and Ngāti Maumoana Kapa Haka for Te Toki
-   NAGHL registration of interest
Tūariki – Meri Hepi
No hapu report.
Did not particpate in Ngāti Awa festival.
Supports Ahi Kaa suggestions.
Ngai Tamaoki – Keld Hunia (Regina O’Brien fill-in)
Endorses positive feedback of Ngāti Awa festival and Ahi Kaa suggestions;
Nga Maihi – Regina O’Brien
Good support and progress of hapu gardens, and orchard;
Endorse positive feedback of Ngāti Awa festival.  
Taiwhakaea – Manu Tarau
Ngāti Awa festival positive avenue to reinforce Te Reo.   Tokowhā hui discussed TWWOA issues, and it was good to hear the report from “the horses mouth” (at this hui).   No objections to Ngā Maihi issues.   Important to consider / respect boundaries.
Ngāti Awa ki Tāmaki Mākaurau  -  Hakahaka Hona
Issued written report which discusses –
-   Te Puna o Wairaka Unitec Proposal;
-    Marae Buildings – Kaumatua Flats and Ablution block renovations;
-    Marae Experiences for school groups;
-   $6k Healing wananga reinbursement TWWOA suspended;
-   Te Toki o Ngāti Awa – positive feedback.
Ngāti Awa ki Pōneke – Serenah Nicholson
Business as usual;
Ahi Kaa – Runanga relationship building to strengthen iwi;
TWWOA wānanga for Kapa Haka
Ngai Tamawera – Alf Morrison
Underwriting insurance a high priority;
TRONA – robust “vision” for establishment of Whare Taonga.
Ngāti Hāmua – Miro Araroa
Tautoko i nga mihi mo Ngāti Awa Te Toki;
Tautoko TRONA Monthly hui.
Catering for Otamarākau mandate hui;
Karakia Wānanga -  iriiri, mārena.
Rangihouhiri – Manurere Glen
Good progress on Wharekai hou;
Support bi-monthly hui.   Not many attend monthly hui.
Pahipoto – Tūwhakairiora O’Brien
Application for pūtea for wharekai accepted.
Iramoko – Te Tawera – Pouroto Ngaropo
Has been absent due to cancer treatment; also supporting teina with advanced bone cancer.   Thanked everyone for their support during that recovery time.  
Tawera hapu has its own Administration Office, with conference room, and Whare Taonga – aiming for self-sufficiency.   Three buildings.
8 regional Mataatua contenders for Te Matatini 2015 (to be held at Te Waipounamu) – Pouroto Ngaropo and Turuhira Hare (Nai Tūhoe) were successful.
Ngāti Pūkeko – Joe Mason
Positive feedback of Ngāti Awa festival.
Hui closed 4:10pm – karakia, Manu Tarau.

Whakatauki / Kōrero whakakapi:
Tungia te ururoa; kia tipu whakaritorito te tipu o te harakeke.
(Burn off the under growth to let the new shoots grow strong).

E tika ana ma tēnei whakatauki e whakanako, whakakapi i wēnei whakaaturanga.   Tētahi maumaharatanga ahua reka, i ahau e tipu ake ana, ko te kaha o ngā Kuia ki te rāranga kete, whāriki, harakeke.  He wā anō o te tau e tukuna ai te harakeke ki te whakangā, arā,  i te wa ngahuru me te takurua.   I taua wā e tipu matotoru ai te pakiaka o te harakeke, ā, ki te waihotia kia tipu pēra, he mea tārona i te tipu ora o te harakeke.   Ko taua pakiaka matotoru, ko tēra te ururoa.  I reira, e kiia ai, kua tungia te ururoa, ara, kua tahunatia aua pakiaka ki te ahi – koira te tungi i te ururoa.   Kaore e roa, kua tipu ritorito te harakeke; tae rawa ki te wā koanga, kua pai anō mo te rāranga, mo te rongoa hoki.

I ahau i te hui o TRONA, i te 31 Whiringa-a-Nuku 2014, i kite tonu ahau e tipu whakaritorito ana te tipu o te harakeke.   Hoki atu ana waku maumahara ki ngā wā o mua, e mahia ana wētahi mahi kāore i te pai e wētahi o wa tātau Kai Arahi – he mahi whakaiti, takahi mana.

He pai te kite atu e tū pakari ana ngā tōrangapū, e whai maramatanga ana mo ngā mahi a TRONA.  

Ano hoki, ko te mihi ki te hunga e kaha nei ki te whakatika i ngā ngoikoretanga o mua, arā, te tangata pūkenga nui nei, a Mana Newton, no Deloitte, e akiaki nei i te tipu ora o te harakeke - e whiriā ai ko ngā painga whakanakonako i te ao a wā tātau whakatipuranga hou.          

It is appropriate that this proverb should grace the close of this information sharing.   One of my sweetest childhood memories is of the traditional weaving of flax kits and mats by our Kuia.   They observed seasons when the flax bush rested in Autumn and Winter.   In that rest time the flax roots grew so thick, and if that overgrowth was left to grow out of control it choked the new growth and health of the flax bush.   That overgrowth is the ururoa.   It was at this time (late winter) that the overgrowth was set alight – burnt-off.   It did not take long for new growth to emerge, and in the Spring the flax was, again, ready for weaving and for medicine.

At the TRONA hui on 31st October 2014, I was delighted to see evidence that our flax bush is flourishing.   I reflect on past misdeeds of our leaders – how it compromised and demoralised.

It was pleasing to see the confidence of our hapu representatives striving for transparency, professionalism and efficiency of TRONA practices.

I also pay tribute to those tasked to strengthen weaknesses, in particular, the professional skills of Mana Newton of Deloitte, who is nurturing the healthy growth of the flax bush – weaving an honourable legacy for future generations.

Tihei winiwini, Tihei nakonako; Tihei Mauri ora.          


Rihi Vercoe