Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta has ordered an investigation into the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board after receiving a number of complaints and requests from beneficiaries.
The investigation was sparked by requests made to the minister in December last year. The requests relate to the governance, management and 2017 triennial elections of the board. It will be carried out by Michael Heron QC.
In a statement to Te Kāea, the board's chairman Robert Edwards said he welcomes the investigation. He also said:
..."I believe in the integrity of our organisation and we are committed to being open and transparent while this investigation takes place. As a Board we will be pleased to work closely with Mr Heron QC and will provide full access to all information that he will require. We are committed to working through the complaints from some of our beneficiaries and are very pleased an independent and highly respected person has been appointed."
Heron will report back to the minister in August when she will consider the findings and assess the options.
“I am committed to having this investigation happen in a timely and efficient manner so that the people of Te Whakatōhea can find a resolution and are able to progress with their aspirations for the future,” says Mahuta.
Te Kāea contacted Mahuta for further comment. Her office spokesperson says she won't be talking any further on the matter but will leave it to the legal process, which is now in the hands of Heron.