The role of kaiwhakahaere has been debated at the table. The subject has also been discussed here with some very interesting comments.
I'd like to talk about the role without getting into personalities.
The role originally was some sort of chairperson but the reality is that the role is a lot more than that. For instance the kaiwhakahaere is the public face of the iwi – they front the media, the hui, the issues, on behalf of the iwi. The role is an iwi role and that is why I think we should consider electing a non-TRONT representative to the role.
The role of the TRONT rep is to represent their runaka at the table and also to collectivelly govern the protect the wider iwi interests. The role of the kaiwhakahaere is to represent the iwi. Currently the 18 Papatipu Runaka Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu representatives elect the kaiwhakahaere from amoungst their number. I am not sure, but i would imagine, that fufilling the role of runaka rep and kaiwhakahaere at the same time, may be too much for one person.
I don't think we would create some type of 'super-leader' who is above the iwi and does what they want – there are too many checks and balances and too many eyes watching for that to happen. What we would create is the description of a role and the personal qualities needed and then we would select the best candidate for that role. And by we I mean all the iwi. If the role is considered an iwi role then the iwi should determine who the successful candidate is. Imagine the candidates, or their proposers, putting forward their case. We would get some fantastic korero and discussion of issues – there would be no secrets or hidden agendas – because the words would be known.
Yes there would be issues – costs for instance, campaigns, lobbying, moneyed influencers, communication and so on but the role was developed to fit a pakeha paradigm and it is only just over 10 years old. It is time to have a good look at it, a least to investigate options.
The role is arguably the most important in the iwi. We have to have the very best person from our iwi to be in that role and i think we need to look wider than our reps.
Comments – I have a problem when others (who are not position holders) are named, especially family members. The only other issue for me is if I think the comment is or could potenially be legally dodgy.