HISTORY OF NGAI TĀMANUHIRI WHĀNUI TRUST
The Trust was established in 1994 as a direct result of the urgent need for a legal entity representing the Iwi of Ngai Tāmanuhiri, to secure and receive the Ngai Tāmanuhiri allocation of fisheries assets held in trust through the 1989 and 1992 Māori Commercial Fisheries Settlement. Prior to that time, iwi business was conducted through the Muriwai Marae Committee and individuals were given mandates to represent and lead different interests on behalf of the Iwi.
The Trust board membership was initially based on the existing Muriwai Marae hapū representation:
- Ngāti Rangiwaho
- Ngāti Rangitauwhiwhia
- Ngāti Kahutia
- Ngai Tāwehi; and
- Ngāti Rangiwaho Matua
Each of the five hapū represented at Marae Trustee level were given the responsibility, and a set timeframe, in which to select their representative to sit on the Ngai Tāmanuhiri Whānui Charitable Trust. Until that occurred; Hare Pohatu, Wi Ngarangione, Jody Wyllie, Robyn Rauna and Donald Stewart were appointed as interim Trustees, tasked with the job of establishing and implementing the new structure.
Consolidation of iwi affairs meant all iwi interests were brought under the management and control of the new Trust and the interim Trustees strived to operate the Trust in accordance with the direction of the people i.e. having hapū selected Trustees, even though the actual deed did not reflect that process. Hapū representation and in particular the actual names and number of hapū were challenged as research aimed at Treaty of Waitangi claims uncovered numerous hapū that existed through the history of Ngai Tāmanuhiri. However, a Hui-a-Iwi decided to maintain the position taken by pakeke, many of whom had since passed on, when appointing Marae Trustees. Eventual iwi wānanga agreed and confirmed that all pre-existing hapū had evolved into the current five existing hapū and these would be the confirmed hapū of Ngai Tāmanuhiri going forward.
Early decisions, that were made in haste, to achieve the required legal entity to allow Ngai Tāmanuhiri to receive and derive income from fisheries assets, would continue to be a point of challenge and debate for the initial years of the Trust. This influenced the long consultative process that was undertaken from 2003 – 2005 when the current Trust Deed was developed clause by clause in consultation with our people to meet the requirements of the Māori Fisheries Act 2004 and prepare for receipt of land claims settlement assets. The Ngai Tāmanuhiri Whānui Trust (a common law trust) replaced the Ngai Tāmanuhiri Whānui Charitable Trust.
Whilst iwi were insistent on hapū representation at the beginning, the reality was that Hapū selection did not work and as the Iwi Trust work and interests grew and evolved, the Iwi position on Trustee selection altered. Trustees are now only required to be of Ngai Tāmanuhiri descent and appointed largely on the basis of their skills, knowledge and experience through democratic voting processes at Hui-a-Tau.
The original trust office opened in 1995 in Gladstone Road, Gisborne. The office operated in Gisborne from 1995-2002, during which time our people at home signalled their preference to have an office in Te Muriwai. In 2002 Trustees took the opportunity to lease premises in Te Muriwai and the office was moved and remains there today.
The Trusts office constitutes the operations of Ngai Tāmanuhiri Whānui Trust and staff look after a wide variety of issues (e.g. Environmental, Economical and Social) on behalf of whanau/hapu/iwi o Ngai Tāmanuhiri.