2 Oct 2018

Māori Women's Welfare League members expelled after legal challenge

6:30 pm on 2 October 2018

Eight long-serving members of the Māori Women's Welfare League could be kicked out for bringing the organisation into disrepute.

Māori Women's Welfare League president Prue Kapua.

Māori Women's Welfare League president Prue Kapua. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The members in the spotlight took the League to court in July after its president was allowed to serve a second term.

But League president Prue Kapua said the conflict it had caused had taken away from the important work the League did.

Pauline Rewiti is among those set to go. The Rongopai branch member considers herself a life-long member of the Māori Women's Welfare League.

But her days could be numbered, after a remit was passed at the league's AGM last week to expel her and the seven other members.

In July, she took Ms Kapua to court to challenge the way she was re-elected into her role.

Ms Rewiti accused the president of failing to tell its members a clause limiting presidents to one three-year term had been taken out.

"In 2013 that clause disappeared, I didn't know it disappeared, a lot of people didn't know it disappeared [and] it never ever came to a conference to take that clause out."

The outcome of the court case is yet to be released.

However, Ms Rewiti and other members who provided evidence at the hearing have all received letters of a dismissal.

Ms Kapua said there was nothing unlawful about standing a second-term and members did know about the clause.

"I was nominated last year for what would be a second-term, which of course, everyone knew.

"This is a very small group of people who have chosen not to engage either with me or with the national executive."

She said the dispute had taken away from the hard work the League did.

"We could be doing a lot more, and want to be doing a lot more and time taken away from that kind of mahi is not good and we have had to take time out to deal with accusation, assertions and so on which have been pretty narrow in their focus."

A final decision on the dismissals will be made in six weeks' time.

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