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Waikato-Tainui chairwoman stood down after Maori King's letter

Monday 26 Nov 2012 1:24 p.m.

The vote was prompted by a scathing letter by the Maori King Tuheitia last week (file)

The vote was prompted by a scathing letter by the Maori King Tuheitia last week (file)

The chairwoman of the Waikato-Tainui parliament has been stood down amid claims she brought the iwi into disrepute.

Just over half of the tribe's 66 marae representatives voted in favour of removing Tania Martin as chairwoman of Te Kauhanganui during a meeting on Sunday.

The vote was prompted by a scathing letter by the Maori King last week which criticised "in-fighting" by the tribe's representatives.

He also called for Ms Martin to stand down and said he would support Tukoroirangi Morgan, a former head of the Waikato-Tainui executive, if he contested the position.

"For those of you who are perpetuating ongoing fights and imposing costs on us that go with the fights, I demand you step down immediately and cease imposing your will over the majority of this tribe.

"Waikato-Tainui deserves better leadership and we are certainly not getting what we expected," Kingi Tuheitia wrote.

He said there had been "leadership struggles" within the tribe for the past three years.

Ms Martin's spokeswoman, Chris Webster, told Radio New Zealand that Ms Martin rejects accusations she brought the iwi into disrepute.

She says Ms Martin sought accountability and transparency in tribal spending and tried to expose reckless spending to iwi members.

Mr Morgan told the broadcaster that he plans to contest the parliament's chairmanship and is certain he'd be voted in if an election goes ahead.

In September, members of the tribe's parliament and executive board went to court to dispute Ms Martin's appointment as chairwoman, which the judge found to be legitimate and valid.

A Waikato-Tainui representative was unavailable to comment.


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