2 Oct 2012

Maori king at odds with wananga council

7:15 pm on 2 October 2012

The Maori king, Tuheitia, is fighting one of the country's largest tertiary institutions over membership of its governing council.

The council of Te Wananga o Aotearoa has refused to accept the king's nomination of Susan Cullen, daughter of the wananga's founder and former chief executive, Rongo Wetere.

Radio New Zealand understands council members believe Ms Cullen would have a negative influence on their work.

In the mid-2000s, she provided courses for the wananga worth tens of millions of dollars, and the Auditor-General later criticised the institution for poor management of conflicts of interest when it set up those deals.

The king's representatives says the council is constitutionally bound to accept the nomination and have called on council chair Richard Batley to resign.