7 Aug 2017

High Court rules on Māori Council leadership stoush

7:41 pm on 7 August 2017

The long-running tug of war between Sir Eddie Durie and Maanu Paul for the top job at the New Zealand Māori Council has been cleared up.

Sir Taihakurei Durie (left) and Maanu Paul

Sir Taihakurei Durie (left) and Maanu Paul. Photo: SUPPLIED / Laura Bootham

The High Court in Wellington has declared the Māori Council has just one chairman and that is Sir Eddie Taihakurei Durie.

Read the court document in full: Durie v Paul (PDF 234kb)

Former co-chairman Maanu Paul, who sought a judicial review then discontinued that application, has been involved with the Māori Council for 50 years.

A split in the leadership of the council last year led to a South Island delegation walking away from the national body.

In April, Sir Eddie Durie was elected the sole chair but the decision led to seven members walking out of the meeting. At the time members told RNZ the house of the Māori Council needed to be put in order.

In the Wellington High Court, Sir Eddie gave evidence saying Mr Paul continued to hold himself out as the co-chair, hence the need for a court declaration.

The Māori Council, or Te Kaunihera Māori, has been advocating for the rights of Māori since the 1960s and was set up under the Māori Welfare Act.

It has played significant roles in the fight for land, forestry, fisheries and in 1993 held the Crown accountable in the Waitangi Tribunal for its promise to establish a Māori television channel.

Since then, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in Māori broadcasting.

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