Morgan Godfery on King Tuheitia

December 7th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

blogs at Maui Street:

It’s worth remembering that the Kingitanga is not an expression of power or sovereignty. The movement is an expression of and tool for unity. Tuheitia, however, appears to treat his office as if it’s a cheap imitation of the worst aspects European Royal Protocol. …

Guests are also encouraged to refer to Tuheitia as “your majesty”. Odd. I find it strange that royal protocols exist at all – Te Atairangikaahu did not keep a protocol guide. Hell, when she travelled the country she would stay at the homes of her friends and whanau. No hotels and chauffeurs, thank you very much. After all, the Kingitanga isn’t about reverance and mana does not extend to those people with less having to act towards you with veneration. 

Add to that a verbal incident that the Waikato Times reported in 2010. Apparently, in a meeting about Tania Martin and Te Kauhanganui, Tuheitia let rip against a kaumatua and Tame Iti’s sister. The King is reported to have asked the kaumatua whether he can “fucking read” and, when called on it, he told Iti if she doesn’t like it she can “fuck off”. Not the qualities you would expect of any leader, let alone the Maori King. 

Waikato-Tainui members are also asking whether this is part of a continuing campaign for more power and money. In January this year Tuheitia first voiced his desire to “take control of the tribe’s parliament” and Chris Webster reports that the Office of the King has received millions in tribal funding from 2009. Earlier this year Tuheitia penned a plea in the tribal magazine, Te Hookioi, for further funding. You have to ask whether the King’s latest reach for power, read the first and the most recent open letters, are part of a pattern.

Another cause for worry is the King’s cartel of advisors. The King maintains a large office, in comparison to his mother at least, including Rangi Wallace who admitted to beating his step-daughter and her mother, Helen Kotua. Further to that, Wallace also owed $250,000 to IRD in 2011 and Kotua owed Baycorp over $3000. Kotua, I should mention, is the author of the protocols above.  …

In one sense, the behaviour of the Maori King is simply a matter for Tainui. It is up to them. However the former Maori Queen was held in high regard by many New Zealanders and widely mourned when she died. It is a shame to see her successor act so differently.

I’m not a great fan of royalty and hereditary succession – for New Zealand, or elsewhere. However, it can work reasonably well when the monarch merely reigns rather than rules.

King Tuheitia obviously desires to rule Tainui, with his proposal that he be given the authority to both veto and dissolve the tribal parliament. Now that is a matter for Tainui, but I make the general point from history that monarchs who try to rule, not reign, generally end up serving themselves – not their people.

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23 Responses to “Morgan Godfery on King Tuheitia”

  1. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    The former Maori queen was held in high regard by many New zealanders……..

    Other than the media and politicos I can honestly say I never heard anyone ,ever, have anything to say about said person.A simple nullity.

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  2. nocommentkiwi (35 comments) says:

    The facts speak for themselves, I trust Tainui have sufficient structures and constitutions in place that any such review will require wide-spread support. Tainui people aren’t inherently less intelligent or incapable of political calculus – I’m sure that those people whom this affects most have much better information than us.

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  3. labrator (1,850 comments) says:

    Whilst most modern nations are minimising and removing the historical artefacts of royalty, Tainui is recreating the worst parts.

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  4. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Hes just a jumped up little Hori boy just like the rest of the jumped up little Hori boys. Need to be taking down a peg and put in their place

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  5. Stamper (32 comments) says:

    “King Tuheitia obviously desires to rule Tainui” – Not necessarily;

    My guess is that the Rasputin in this Court is Tuku Underpants.
    He certainly wants the power/prestige – especially after being tossed out of his Tainui role and being told by Ngapuhi to bugger off back to the Waikato.
    Tuku also needs money for more underpants; where better to syphon that off, than from the Court’s coffers.

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  6. nocommentkiwi (35 comments) says:

    RE: Kowtow,
    DPF said ‘Many’, it’s a fair comment.
    Your experience probably says more about the company you keep than the legitimacy of DPF’s call. The fact the Media and Politicos were interested, in part, reflects a wider-interest (of both support and opposition) in the affairs of Tainui – however Tainui is also a very large iwi, and so too did others support the efforts of the kingitanga’s previous incarnation. To dismiss the late Dame as a ‘simple nullity’ is facetious.

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  7. Nostalgia-NZ (5,214 comments) says:

    I just wonder if it’s anybody’s business apart from Tainui. The worst aspect is that this ‘king’ is playing out things in the media and in the next breath attacking them when it analysed what he has said and what his intentions appear to be. Perhaps an appropriate Christmas gift for him would be a zip.

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  8. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    So – the fouled mouthed ex truck driver keeps turning up in the media like the famed bad coin.

    This cheeky little darky is the business of everyone who has paid taxes and reads the newspaper or listens to the radio or looks at TV. His self serving antics along with the court jester (Tuku Morgan) are an embarrassment to all New Zealanders.

    As one of their members claimed some time ago when the money from the settlement started to disappear – “we were unfit to accept the money because we didnt know what to do with it” (it wasnt as innocent as it sounds – in typical maori fashion it was the basis for another claim – she reckoned they should have the same amount all over agian since theyd wasted so much of the first one)

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  9. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Let us not forget that another of the King’s coterie of advisors is that graduate of the Winston Peters School of Politics, one Tuku Morgan:

    Tuku Morgan has sparked controversy after saying the Maori King, Tuheitia, should have veto rights or the power to dissolve Waikato-Tainui’s parliament. But it is the people who will decide.

    Mr Morgan, whose name will go forward as chair of Te Kauhanganui after Tania Martin was disqualified from the position this week, said, if elected, he plans to change the iwi’s constitution to allow King Tuheitia these over-arching powers.

    A small step, it seems, from the wrap-around sunglass-wearing “Tight Five” to enforcer for the Maori King. Maori TV, Parliament, now this… what will it take to loosen this man’s lockjaw-like attachment to the teat of public (in the latter case, the Tainui people’s) money?!

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  10. Alan Johnstone (1,087 comments) says:

    The Kingitanga movement and Tainui are simply private organisations, they have no more legal status than St Helliers Bowling Club. They can organize in anyway their members wish.

    The interesting comment about the previous “queen” being well respected. I’d lived in NZ for just over five years when she died. I had no idea that she existed prior to her death; I’m going to assume this is because she’d been quietly and diligently working in the background and not causing dramas. The present “king” appears to be in the news a lot.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1974/0001/latest/whole.html

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  11. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    noncommentkiwi

    The thing many Nzers ,outside the “beltway,” think of when it comes to Tainui is underpants and I’m not being facetious.

    And I gave up on the idea that the majority of the media and politicos could reflect on anything other than their own interests a long time ago .

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  12. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    And how many fucks are given by anyone regarding this clown?

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  13. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    The King Movement still retains some element of the pan-Maori aspirations of its founders, but like any institution will find that goodwill towards it can be squandered very quickly by a poor incumbent; certainly faster than it took the movement to attin its peak of credibility.

    But, more amusingly, I’m interested to know whether did anyone else found this insight from DPF rather hilarious:
    ‘I make the general point from history that monarchs who try to rule, not reign, generally end up serving themselves – not their people’.

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  14. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Alan Johnstone suggests:

    The Kingitanga movement and Tainui are simply private organisations… They can organize in anyway their members wish.

    Legally speaking, yes. But the St Helliers Bowling Club wasn’t given $170 million (in 1995 dollars) of cash and assets, previously the property of all New Zealanders, on the basis that it be used to the benefit of each and every member of the club, and their descendants. Had it been, I’d suggest that imposes some moral obligation to manage the affairs of the club competently and transparently and to honour the commitments it made at the time it received the cheque.

    I remember being sent up there by Winston to meet with Bob Mahuta and his cronies and running through a long list of projects with questionable outcomes including the vast “university” he’d built to preside over but which had no staff and no students. It ended up being used as the Tainui offices. The attitude then as now was that it was none of anyone’s business, which I countered by pointing out that if they were not going to speak up for the ordinary members of their iwi who were seeing no benefit from the settlement, then it was properly the business of Members of Parliament to do so.

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  15. David Garrett (7,292 comments) says:

    Rex: the fact seems to have disappeared from online sources…but if my memory is correct, after Tainui blew most of the 1995 settlement money on bad investments, didn’t they get another large chunk of taxpayers cash only several years later?

    You may be interested in my last couple of comments (and add your two cents’ worth) on the “Treaty Settlements” thread…I refer to the Mahutas’ ancestors in the 1940’s blowing the chance of owning half the Waikato by now…

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  16. Nostalgia-NZ (5,214 comments) says:

    ‘then it was properly the business of Members of Parliament to do so.’

    So much for that properly speaking up Rex, or taking into account those not spoken for as you see the situation. Can’t blame Mahuta or anyone other than Parliament and their advisors for that despite it being their ‘business’ as you say.

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  17. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    @David Garrett

    What many people forget is that Tainui have a long history of appearing to accept “full and final” settlements and then relitigating them some years later.

    A Royal Commission (“The Sim Commission”) was set up in 1926 to inquire into the confiscation of Tainui land and recommended an annual payment of £3000, to be administered through a trust board. To be fair, Tainui were open about their dissatisfgaction with that outcome, and negotiations continued.

    In 1946 they agreed to an annual payment of £5,000 (later $15,000) in perpetuity, to be administered by a trust board. The government of the day (Peter Fraser’s) said it saw this settlement as full and final.

    By the 1980s inflation had of course eroded the value of the $15,000 (why it wasn’t indexed by Fraser’s government I don’t know) and a dialogue began, which developed into full negotiations by the 1990s. Tainui opted to bypass the Waitangi Tribunal and enter what they called “direct negotiations”, which resulted in the supposedly one-off payment of $170 million in 1995.

    I’m not entirely certain of the status after that point, having been absent now for too long to keep abreast of it all. There was the Waikato River settlement, signed on 22 August 2008, which committed the Crown to another $7 million a year for 30 years – $210 million.

    It also agreed to fund the “Sir Robert Mahuta Endowment” with an up front contribution of $20 million; a “River Initiatives Fund” which provided $50 million to the Waikato Raupatu River Trust, and $1 million per year for 30 years to “fund the participation of Waikato-Tainui in the co-management processes”. Plus of course covering the operating costs of the “Guardians of the Waikato River”.

    Possibly Tainui were a joint beneficiary of the “Treelords” deal in 2008, given that it covered the forests of the central North Island.

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  18. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    @Nostalgia-NZ:

    Sorry, I’m not sure I understand your comment. You agree that the leadership of Tainui have a duty to act in the best interests of all members of the iwi but don’t blame them for not doing so? I doubt that can be right… I seem to have missed your point. Care to re-phrase so that I might respond?

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  19. David Garrett (7,292 comments) says:

    Rex: Yes, I know all about the Sim Commission and the background to the 1946 settlement…as an aside, the reason the payments were not inflation indexed is simple: no-one thought to do so back then. It’s the same reason banks didnt have the right to increase mortgage interest rates during the same period.

    The “inflation eroded the payments” argument is bullshit anyway; the very same thing happened to anyone who retired on a fixed income prior to about 1970. AMP and the Government Life didn’t suddenly start indexing payments on annuity agreements that had been entered into 30 or 40 years before because inflation eroded their value.

    I am more interested in the second bite of the cherry post 1995…my memory is Tainui blew most of the money on stupid or at least ill advised investments such as the Warriors Rugby League club, and then came back bleating about having lost most of it.

    As I recall – and I am going from memory – the government of the day then gave them another chunk of cash – not as big as the first, but substantial nevertheless. Someone else will know.

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  20. Nostalgia-NZ (5,214 comments) says:

    The leadership do have that duty Rex, whether or not they are capable or willing to perform it is another matter. Yet the Crown ‘settled’ a number of times having misgivings about the administration of settlement money. When you wrote about Mahuta and his ‘cronies’ that showed there were doubts about the validity of any settlements reaching all those that it was claimed to have been represented. I don’t think that is the only problem the Crown has continually failed to address, but it’s one that is kept alive. It’s a road fraught with uncertainty to go ‘back’ and settle a claim or claims with what is virtually an unknown, changing, and transient entity – and somehow believe it’s full and final.

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  21. David Garrett (7,292 comments) says:

    Nostalgia: My thoughts exactly. Logically you can have only one “full and final settlement” and that happened in 1946…as soon as you have a second, you open the door to a 22nd…

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  22. Nostalgia-NZ (5,214 comments) says:

    Yes David Garrett. While frustration is built in the public mind with a picture of a gravy train coming down the line. I’m all for the settlements to be fair and binding, but I’m not quite sure the mechanism is right. Tainui is an odd case to say the least, no doubt treaty funds are going to support the Kingship who from recent reports want more and absolute power. I didn’t get all the details but I saw one of the Hawkes taking some ownership of one of the rellies ripping off HNZ or maybe WINZ. I think if there is an entity who say they are the appropriate party for the Crown to deal with regarding claims, if they’re prepared to take the money that must be prepared to be responsible, at least in part, for their beneficiaries. Some tribes seem to be doing that but others like Tainui, are unable to hide the rifts. From those rifts new claimants will come. By settling with tribes The Crown are in fact recognising the make-up and administration of a tribe and it’s members, insisting on the boundaries of that seems logical in any agreement. While the natural argument is that any tribe should be able to do what it wants with it’s money, part of the acceptance of that is that it is for the general good of all the members as many tribes are already showing.

    When thinking about it there’s almost an element of the public perception of unionism with Tainui for example, maybe that river with it’s taniwha tends to make some deals very slippery. With no direct aspersions to modern day unionism certainly there have been instances in the past where the impression has been of some bullying and organisers benefiting more greatly than the grass roots. The dear King having called for national unity of some issues was gently rebuked, closer to his throne there is clearly agitation about his ‘royalness.’ You’ve probably had experiences in the islands with such things and Rex’s or somebody else’s comments about wrap around sunglasses comes to mind. Just like in the islands the strong and thoughtful leaders will come through often at the expense of those that ‘inherit’ a title with a good dose of both entitlement and sometimes arrogance. Only in New Zealand.

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  23. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ (1,651) Says:
    December 7th, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I just wonder if it’s anybody’s business apart from Tainui.

    It is the business of New Zealanders who support a government which assumes superiority over minorities. The idea of a sovereign and independent Tainui does not sit well with the state doctrine of universalism.

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