7 Nov 2014

Judge picks Crown forestry trustees

6:32 am on 7 November 2014

The High Court has chosen two new Maori trustees and four alternatives to sit on the Crown Forestry Rental Trust after a year of turmoil.

Appointors the Maori Council and the Federation of Maori Authorities (FOMA) have been at odds as to who should be appointed as trust members.

Justice Kos said that in a perfect world, the trustees would have been appointed by the Maori Appointor.

But lamentably, he said, the groups cannot agree even on the identity of a single stand-by member, and therefore have proved incapable of undertaking its duty to appoint.

Justice Kos has chosen the former Treaty negotiator for the Hauraki iwi of Ngati Maru, Paul Majurey, and Te Ohu Kaimoana director Hinerangi Raumati-Tu'ua as the new Maori Trustees.

The High Court judge said he decided to look beyond the nominations from the Maori Council and FOMA.

He said he had known Mr Majurey for about 25 years and was satisfied he would bring to the trust talents, independence and dispassion that it sorely needed.

The decision meant that stalwart and Maori Council co-chair Maanu Paul is no longer at the table.

Justice Kos also acknowledged the loss of trustee Alan Haronga and how the trust now lacked his depth of talent in financial management.

Although the Maori Council and FOMA came close to reaching an agreement in September, Justice Kos said it had proved impossible to bridge the gap between the groups.

The trust assists Maori to prepare, present and negotiate claims against the Crown, which involve, or could involve, Crown forest licensed lands.

Until the beneficial owners of the lands have been determined, the organisation invests the rental proceeds and holds them in trust.

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