Minister announces investigators of indebted iwi

5:39 am on 22 September 2015

The government has hired two key people to carry out an investigation and to temporarily manage a Far North iwi.

A ministerial investigation is taking place after the Aupōuri Māori Trust Board advised the minister that it was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

The Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell has appointed Grant Taylor, Wellington managing partner of Ernst and Young to carry out the audit.

Evan Nathan has been employed as the interim manager of Te Aupōuri while its Trust Board is dissolved under the Te Hiku settlement legislation.

Mr Flavell said Mr Taylor and Mr Nathan were both capable of their duties and were supported by the iwi.

"They've done due diligence," he said.

"My understanding is, is that they are well known within the community and have the trust and the confidence at least of the parties involved.

"And that's important if we're going to work through and get to the bottom of some of the issues that have been raised.

"So I've got the confidence in them to be able to do the job.

Te Hiku Claims Settlement Bill, which includes the settlement for Te Aupōuri, had its final reading on 9 September.

As a consequence of this legislation, the Aupōuri Māori Trust Board will be dissolved and Te Rūnanga o Te Aupōuri will receive the tribe's settlement.