Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Want to govern? Why?

I have decided to repost this because the comments were so good. It was originally posted on 28 April 2009.

What thoughts would you like to add. Just forget about my last one - what has changed? - has anything changed? In either the world or your thoughts.

This is good but I do have a slight issue.

"Each year the Te Rūnanga Group of companies is asked to appoint (or re-appoint) Directors to serve on the Boards of those companies. Many of these appointments are made by Te Rūnanga and some are made by our subsidiary companies."

"Te Rūnanga has a longstanding policy of appointing the best available person for each position and a desire to see that, over time, these positions are filled by members of Ngāi Tahu Whānui. In order for us to meet those objectives, we are interested in the names and details of all members of Ngāi Tahu Whānui who are both qualified and available to be considered for appointment to these Boards."

"Te Rūnanga is seeking expressions of interest from individuals who aspire to hold governance roles and wish to be considered as part of succession planning initiatives, including supported governance appointments."

So pretty good. TRONT want to appoint the best person (good) and they want to see, over time, Ngai Tahu whanui filling the directors positions (very good).

My only issue is the push verses pull strategy.

Are the people that aspire to hold governance roles the ones we really want?

I would prefer an approach of 'tapping on the shoulder' in other words, succession planning that is planned, not just left to the whims of individuals.

We have many iwi members who would be excellent directors of our companies and organisations. Natural modesty would stop a lot of people applying for these roles.

Are we serious about getting our people as directors or is this just 'lip-service'?


Anonymous said...

kia ora Marty

I agree that at one level those seeking appointment should be disqualified as being clearly unsuited - the old proverb states that the kumera does not speak of its own sweetness.

Shoulder tapping has its attactions because the best and brightest and most suitable folks can be approached. However, the risks are that a degree of nepotism may creep in. Another saying is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder - so who is to do the shoulder tapping??

As whanui we can nominate others, Ngai Tahu or not. The process seems to allow for shoulder tapping, self nomination and nomination by others. That said, the next bit to get right is the selection process.

Quite frankly, over the years we as a tribe have been less than asute in this area. But we need to start with good material so if there is someone out there you think fits the bill get the name or names onto the list.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora anon,
Good points.
I'd really like to see a wider net cast so that more and different iwi members apply (and get the roles). That may take a combination of nomination and shoulder tapping. I'm not sure if the shennagins we have seen recently will encourage people to put their name forward or make them think, "No way".

Your point about who makes the selection is very valid, ultimately a group will look at the list and pick. I hope the members of that decision group are Ngai Tahu. And I hope they take the long view. A inexperienced person can learn from the experienced ones... and we have some very experienced Ngai Tahu directors that are on over 20 boards - if not more!

Anonymous said...

The itent of this panui is good. But there are a couple of issues.
1. You are not going to get the high calibre of that are required while there is political instability at the Tront table. I could name at least ten (Ngai Tahu) potential directors for NTHC who have the right qualifications and experience. They are all busy successful people. But they do not wish to put their reputations on the line until the tribal politics are sorted out.

2. I started my blog when the last NTHC board was effectively sacked by Tront - for no good reason- see my blog for the background. We had excellent directors. The three remaining board members to survive the coup, in my view, have been found wanting. Hence the sacking of Wally Stone. It is clear to me that either they condoned what Wally was up to or did not know ( Yes - I have asked for the details to be made known- but nothing yet). So we really need highly qualified directors

3. But we are unlikely to get the directors we need until we have proper democratic elections. The current round of elections is a farce and much the same as what we had before. No rules, no engagement with shareholders. We need an election where shareholders have a direct vote. It is only then that confidence in Ngai Tahu will be retored.
Richard Parata

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora Richard,
I agree with your comments. We really seem to have a circular arguement. We can't get the type of person we might want because of the risk to their reputation and yet we need them there to help govern. We can't have confidence because of the farcical elections yet we will have the elections and be back at the starting point of needing to develop a fair process of representation. It's a worry and I'm not sure what the answer is. One thing I do know is that somewhere amongst Ngai Tahu whanui the answer is there.
Your website is essential as a source of deep detailed information and as a forum for debate. Thanks for starting it and leading the way. Nga mihi.

Anonymous said...

kia ora korua

i disagree with the issues you raise about the elections. the key is not letting every uninformed person have a say on who should be the representative for each runanga. The key is having a say on removing representatives if they do not perform or perform badly.

an electoral system has in fact almost no quality control and would almost certainly result in people at the table who are totally disconnected from the ones who hold and exercise ahi kaa not to mention those who share legal liability for the actions of the representatives.

it is a challenge to raise the standard of representatives. but the answer is not by relying on the lucky dip process that will come from elections no matter what form they take.

one of the things that is not well known is that each of the papatipu runanga are legally liable for the actions of their representatives. the way to make the repsresentatives more accountable and the runanga to take the process more seriously is for the members of each runanga to make them accountable for the actions of the representatives.

what Richard is proposing is the antithesis of recognising the rangatiratanga of the collective. but rangatiratanga has both authority and obligations and those obligations are owed to the members of the runanga not to all the whanui.

the very essence of being maori is about collective rights and interests not individual ones. we have so many members of the whanui who also want all the rights without any of the obligations.

the voting system Richard advocates perpetuates the idea that all it takes to be ngai tahu is to get your name on a roll.

Marty Mars said...

Powerful arguement.

In some ways it comes down to the purpose of any elections. if the purpose is to create fairness in representation then surely the best way to achieve that is the ability to vote for an individual runaka rep to represent you. An electrol college approach where you vote for the committee who votes for the rep doesn't give fair representation in my view.

But there is a big question, which you have also raised and that is ,"who are Ngai Tahu?""and "Who should be able to vote?"

What does it take to be Ngai Tahu?
Where are the lines in the sand that says on this side you are real Ngai Tahu, and on this side you are pretend or worse - some type of white man in brown skin, of brown woman in white skin.

In my view it is whakapapa, first, middle and last. Every other way of sorting it out panders to european and pakeha models of things like blood percentage or how brown you look. Baseing it upon Ngai Tahutanga or language skills or how many times you have picked up a teatowel don't take into account the effects of colonisation - it's almost like people are being blamed because they didn't grow up within their culture.

If a person has registered as Ngai Tahu they are making an effort to identify as Ngai Tahu. Even if all their life they were told they weren't maori, even if they have blond hair, and even if they live in Iceland.

But it is a question that needs to be debated.

To my mind the mana is held by ahi kaa, I cannot see or understand any reason why they should be worried or concerned about other voices being heard. We need all of our people to be involved with our iwi. All of our people are our iwi.

Anonymous said...

Kia ora Marty

Whakapapa is not just a birth certificate and a bank account number for Whai Rawa. I agree, every person of Ngai Tahu descent should not only be able to participate but should be encouraged to do so. I don't hold with the academic snobs or the linguistic snobs or even with those at the papatipu runanga level who look at some of our people and think of them as "less".

But whakapapa is about the who we are as Ngai Tahu. It is the interconnected elements of our personal whakapapa and our history and traditions as seen in our collective past, present and future. That can only be found and understood by the relationship you and your tipuna have to the places of those traditions and that is what should take us all back to at least one marae we belong to at least once in a while. It should take us there when we are voting for the persons who represent us.

Once you are there, if you look around that is when you start to understand the obligations that come with being Ngai Tahu. The reason the papatipu runanga have concerns is easy enough to understand. It would be possible to have people elected to represent you who have never set foot on your Marae and may never do so.

The members of TRONT not the whanui they are the papatipu runanga. The members each have their own rangatiratanga and it was they as runanga who agreed to act in a collective manner for the benefit of their members and for the iwi as a whole.

They did not surrender that rangatiratanga to TRONT or to some wider notion of democracy amongst individuals. It is also the case, that democracy is just a different form of tyranny. If left to the popular vote, Rosa Parks would still be in the back of the bus. Democracy is threatening to take away the Maori seats and democracy in action did take away our rights in the Foreshore and Seabed as with so many of our other rights.

This is because uninformed people who do not have to live with the consequences of their decisions hold the majority of the votes.

The question you ask Marty is the key. What is the purpose of the elections? Alongside of tha is what was the purpose for having the tribal structure that we have?

The structure exists for the members, to select the persons from the papatipu runanga who are to come together to govern our collective affairs at a tribal level.

How they do that ought to be for them to decide. After all, the runanga not the many potential members of that runanga carry all the other daily obligations on behalf of the same individuals who might now clamour for individualised democratic processes.

So for me is not about if the voices should be heard, it is where should they be heard.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent debate especially with regard to obligation. Many Ngai Tahu i know have no relationship to their marae and if the truth be known the marae has little interest in them either.

This is a pity because both parties need each other and to me this goes to the heart of the issue. As time goes by people have lost their connection so all they have left is Te Karaka and Te Panui Runaka in the mail. A lot of names on a membership register that is disconnected.

This to me is the role of Ngai Tahu. To connect people back to their Marae no matter where they come from and who they are. We seem to be unable to even address this issue.

This is one of the reasons why the electoral process is so difficult.

Anonymous said...

Kia ora anon

I could not agree more on the point that both parties need each other. I am curious about your comment on "this is the role of Ngai Tahu" - did you mean TRONT? If so they are singularly unqualified to do this.

There are some runaka who really go out of their way to get in contact with their members and others who don't. But it is a two way street. Things will never change in runaka land if folks don't go home. And they won't go home if they think all that there is to being Ngai Tahu is getting magazines and having a vote.

So lets hunt down those runanga who are reaching out and give them a big shout out. And if you whakapapa to more than one runaka (as most do) then choose the one that makes you most welcome. The others will need you and your whanau in time to come and by then you will have the confidence to play a range of roles of your choosing in more than one place.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora koutou anons,

I too am enjoying the debate.

Is this not just a fear, that members who don't live or have no interest in their runaka, will try to get elected? Most of the recent infighting, for instance, has come from different factions who are ahi kaa. Ngai Tahu who don't live close to their marae are cut out of the debate, their views are not asked for, nor wanted. Is this the way we want it?

Any elected member, via any electrol process, still has to convince the voters to vote for them. They have a moral and fiduciary duty to perform their duties correctly.

The idea that Papatipu Runaka is the rep (and TRONT collectivelly) rather than Ngai Tahu whanui who whakapapa to there, is interesting. I wonder what other think of this.

Democracy is okay, especially when the alternatives are considered. But then I like MMP.

I totally agree that the elections are there to select the representative from the papatipu runaka to represent the interests of all members of that runaka, collectivelly for their benefit and the benefit of the iwi as a whole.

We all want the best reps not just as TRONT reps but also on the boards etc. Perhaps the real question is how do we bring the two strands together. How do we encourage participation from all, whilst protecting ahi kaa and the tribal structures.

As a final point I agree - let's go home, to our marae, and let's be welcomed back and let's honour ahi kaa and learn and build our knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Kia ora Marty

I tautoko your last comments. The debates we could have are endless. Having them via your blog is both fun and enlightening. It is because the tone here is pretty respectful of differences.

The internet and other media is a way of having debates but it is not the same as the kanohi ki te kanohi korero. I am not skilled in te reo or other aspects of Ngai Tahutanga. I went home to my marae a few years ago and gradually worked away at finding my path.

At times it is not all I hoped it would be and at others it is way more than I dreamed it would be.

On balance the good far outweighs the bad. So, what Marty said - if you are away from your marae, go home at least 2x a year either in person or by e-mail etc

kia kaha

Anonymous said...

Here is something to think about, I was recently talking to whanau from Kaikoura and they told me that they tried to put in their new constatution for the rep to only stand for two terms. I thought this was a brilliant idea and something the other Papatipu Runanga should consider, it would force succession and even if the current rep was good then maybe there is a better one just waiting to take over. The clause was out voted because the Kaikoura whanau thought of the person (Mark) instead of the position. Mark is a good man but has been there for almost 12 years, which is far too long. I am not saying to get rid of him, maybe moving the Kaiwhakahaere rold to a 'contract of service' under the OTRoNT management structure (just to add to all the other GM roles that Anake has created) therefore keeping his diplomatic role, but as Kaikoura rep.........six years is enough.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora koutou,

Great contributions - great discussion.

Yes, going home is challenging but must be done. My cousins who are ahi kaa make it quite plain what the rules are... and i follow them. We learn, we teach - it is good.

I like the idea of a maximum term for reps. It is not a question of quality but a question of succession planning as you rightly say anon. To bring people through they must get a chance to give it a go. I am not sure what happened to the alternate rep. Perhaps that role could be the next in line as many companies do, like a vice president that next year will become a president. The successor/alternate could attend some meetings with the rep and some alone. The alternate could be there for two years and then take on the rep role.

The point about the kaiwhakahaere is very interesting. I think the role is diplomatic and very important. Perhaps if someone is elected Kaiwhakahaere then their alternate takes over as rep and another alternate is put in place.

It may also work having a rotating Kaiwhakahaere, where a new rep takes over for 3 years and after that time they go back to being a rep and another rep is chosen as Kaiwhakahaere.

Not sure of the best way... what do you think?

Anonymous said...

kia ora whanau

i think the idea of limited time for reps and kaiwhakahaere only comes up when we are unhappy about something. i agree that there is a time for people to move on from those positions but not on the basis that their time is up. it needs to be based on performance. if they are doing the job then to move them on is cutting off our nose to spite our face.

the role of the kaiwhakahaere is an interesting question. at one level the kaiwhakahaere is the chair of the table/board and at another the person is the tribal representative. as with Tipene, in Mark we have a person who has gone out and forged many valuable relationships with other iwi, with politicians and with business and community leaders.

when we replace those people the relationships go too. other iwi have long term leaders at that level. if we adopt short duration (in maori terms) appointments we will be constantly losing the benefits of the relationships built up.

we should choose reps and the kaiwhakahaere with care and monitor their performance. the term will be up when the people say it is.

Anonymous said...

Kia ora koutou,

It is a challenge as to how we balance our traditional cultural leadership models with our contemporary political/organisational leadership roles. We have inherited a tradition like upokotanga where a cultural leader is annointed until they die. It is true that in a Maori sense for us to rotate our Chair which at present is our seniormost iwi leadership role then we would lose face and the relationships built up over time. I would have a lot of aroha for anyone that would have to fill those shoes. That said the term of Chair should be more flexible lest we get locked into a particular development philosophy for too long.

It would be better to split both these functions so that we have an cultural ambassador like position that is long term and a Chair that may have a maximum 6-year term. What is clear is that our traditional models of leadership and how they have been exercised do not meet all of our present tribal needs.

As for the debate on participation, the real challenge is how feasible the survival of our culture will be if we don't do everything we can to engage our people and connect them to their cultural inheritance. Our culture is not easy to become a part of and even the right to vote is a means of extending an invitation to become part of our culture and marae.

I am also Ngati Porou and their approach is a stark contrast, advertising on tv to engage with a 'We want you involved message'. It is awesome. If we let fear determine how we interact with our own then we will close our own turangawaewae to our own people. Whakapapa gives us all intrinsic rights that no-one can remove, least of all our own people.

Anonymous said...

Tena koutou whanauka ma,

Why do we always talk of ahi kaa and not turangawaewae. Which is the more powerful concept in te ao Maori? The right to make decisions vs the right to belong?

It seems like we only capture half of the debate. Voting is a small but maybe the first step towards belonging. It doesn't matter who you are or where you live, does anyone have the mana to deny someone their right to belong, their turangawaewae.

We get so caught up in the legality of the bullshit inherited from the New Zealand way that we don't have the balls to look at ourselves and make decisions based on our tikanga.

So if why have we as an iwi chosen the exclusive rather than inclusive. Is it power or tikanga motivating our decisions whanau?

Anonymous said...

kia ora ano

voting is not a Te Ao Maori concept or about tikanga - we like other iwi are trying to bring together a whole lot of things.

in pre-treaty times you had to command respect. people voted with their feet and risked their lives not on the basis of any form of democratic rule but on whether they had faith in your leadership. if your leadership was suspect then there was no-one to assist you to paddle your waka or harvest food or to fight alongside of you.

there was no right to be heard unless you had earned it or were born into the right family. decisions were eventually collective ones for no-one could survive alone.

in modern times we struggle. we have moved on from some of the old ways. should we be inclusive, of course. but it is always about power and to pretend otherwise is simply avoiding reality. the issue is who should have the power. those who spend 10 secs exercising their right to vote or those who have kept the home fires burning and who have to live and deal with the outcome of that vote for the next three years.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora koutou,

Whew! what a great discussion/debate and it looks at this stage that we have come a full circle. But the journey has been rewarding. I suspect the thread will continue. Have we solved anything? Not sure, but i know that i have learned a lot about other peoples views and why they think the way they think. Some big questions have been raised, some interesting angles have been exposed and some strong arguments have been developed.

Karawhiua Kai Tahu!

This discussion is tau ke!
and hopefully only the beginning of strengthening connection between Ngai Tahu whanui.