Ngāpuhi votes in new leader

5:23 pm on 11 September 2015

Ngāpuhi's troubled treaty negotiations authority Tūhoronuku has a new leader.

map with Ngapuhi

Ngāpuhi, which has been represented in treaty negotiations by the Tūhoronuku Independent Mandated Authority, is made up of over 100 hapū. Photo: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Hone Sadler has been voted in, beating Sam Napia, who replaced Sonny Tau after he was charged with hunting and possessing kererū in June.

Hone Blake Sadler

Hone Sadler Photo: University of Auckland

Mr Sadler, who is a senior lecturer at Auckland University, won 11 of the 21 votes.

Mr Napia, who many expected to win, came a close second with 10 votes.

Mr Tau, Mr Napia and Mr Sadler were the only nominees vying for the position of chairman, with 15 Tūhoronuku trustees having the power to make the final decision.

The surprise of the day came from Mr Tau, who withdrew his name from the ballot just moments before the vote.

Mr Sadler now has the job of reconciling the authority's current mandate crisis after a Waitangi Tribunal report described Tūhoronuku as an empty structure.

It found serious flaws in Tūhoronuku's mandate.

In response to the report, Mr Sadler said the following in Māori:

"E kore nei i tenei pahi e tu ka haere tonu i te mea he itiiti noa iho kei nga mea e hiahiatia ana kia whakaritengia, e taea."

[Translation: This bus won't stop, we will continue on as there are only a small number who are asking for changes.]

He also acknowledged Mr Tau's admission that Ngāpuhi's success was more important than him as an individual.

Mr Sadler thanked the former chairman for reaching that conclusion and agreed no single person was more important than Ngāpuhi:

"Me taku mihi nui ki a ia i tae taua whakaaro he oti ra, tu atu i tera ko te kaupapa te mea nui ko Ngāpuhi."

Treaty Minister Chris Finlayson said, as night followed day, there was new leadership for Tūhoronuku. He said he would spend time talking to the new leaders, and discussing the report and ways they could bridge the gap.

Kara George will take the role of deputy chairperson.

Time for Tau to step back

Mr Tau, who is defending a charge of killing kererū, said he had pulled out of the contest to lead the iwi's treaty settlement because he had become the focus of attention, rather than the claims.

He said it was time for him to step back and that he was not fazed by today's Waitangi Tribunal recommendation that the government halt negotiations with Tūhoronuku.

He remains chairman of the Ngāpuhi runanga.

Mr Tau is also still deputy chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana and a Ngāpuhi representative on the Iwi Leaders Forum.

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