3 Oct 2012

Wananga declines King's nominee

6:04 am on 3 October 2012

One of the country's largest tertiary institutions has refused to accept a council member nominated by the Maori King Tuheitia

Te Wananga o Aotearoa says that it provides holistic education opportunities and operates from about 80 locations throughout New Zealand.

But its council says it doesn't want Susan Cullen - daughter of the wananga's founder and former chief executive Rongo Wetere - to join it.

The office of the Maori King in Ngaruawahia says the council hasn't accepted Sue Cullen's nomination because it's reviewing the organisation's size and structure.

But Radio New Zealand understands council members believe she wouldn't be a good appointee.

In the mid 2000s Mrs Cullen provided courses for the wananga worth tens of millions of dollars. The Auditor-General later criticised the institution for poor management and conflicts of interest in setting up the courses.

The Maori King's representatives say the council is constitutionally-bound to accept the nomination, and has called on council chairperson Richard Batley to resign.