The Bureaucratisation of Genealogy. Lyn Waymouth

N°6 Printemps 2003


Lyn Waymouth


Résumé :

       Les politiques gouvernementales et la législation ont fait passer les groupes tribaux maoris d’un système d’organisation régi par la tradition à une organisation bureaucratique de type rationnel-légal. L’article montre comment une société basée sur la tradition, les Ngai Tahu, réagit face aux changements affectant ses modes d’organisation. L’article est basé sur la recherche doctorale de l’auteur, dont la thèse s’intitule « Whakapapa et l’État : quelques études de cas sur l’impact du gouvernement central sur les groupes Maoris à organisation traditionnelle ».

Abstract :

       The impact of central government policies and legislation on traditionally organised groups has moved New Zealand Maori tribes from a communal tradition-based system of organisation to a legal-rational bureaucratic system. This article records how one tradition-based society, Ngai Tahu, are coping with challenges and changes to their organisational structures. The paper is based on research carried out for the author's PhD thesis entitled, « Whakapapa and the State : Some case studies in the impact of central government on traditionally organised Maori groups ».




       The aim of this article is to record how a society of Maori, Ngai Tahu whanui[1], whose members often present themselves as tradition-based as to their identity and governance, are challenged by new frameworks of identification and governance proffered them by the prospect of legitimacy and success in the (post-) modern world. The Ngai Tahu whanui, in pursuing Treaty settlements and in equipping themselves to administer those settlements, have come to adopt forms of membership recognition and of governance much at odds with what they present as their traditional ways. Membership has become solely a matter of proving descent from a range of particular ancestors who in turn descend from Tahu Potiki, the ancestor who gives his name to the iwi, or tribe. Membership brings rights with it, yet may be maintained without the discharge of any obligations to the rest of the iwi. Governance no longer rests on the autonomous base of the largely independent hapu[2], which make up the iwi, and authority is no longer distributed according to the kawa[3] of each ancient « team of action » (McHugh 1998). The hapu are grouped in eighteen papatipu runanga, or district councils and all eighteen papatipu runanga (councils) are subject to a central runanga, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (henceforth TRONT)[4]. TRONT is a body designed to live in a modern democratic and capitalist society. It is democratically elected and it must govern according to principles generally acceptable to New Zealand law. It must administer assets not only with an eye to distributing to the whanui, but also with an eye to increasing the wealth of Ngai Tahu. Law appropriate to a liberal-democratic western society, and commercial practice appropriate to a corporation in a world of global corporations, have replaced the world of tradition and locality.

       It is possible to see this development in a positive light. In a recent article Dr. Paul McHugh has argued that the way ahead for Maori development is to reshape their cultural identities along ethnic non-blood lines rather than on tribal blood ties (1998). In response Apirana Mahuika, a Ngati Porou kaumatua[5], has argued that this would be « suicidal for iwi and culture » (1998 : 219). Mahuika had it in mind that the autonomy experienced by teams of action groups is being subsumed by the notion of one « Maoridom ». In this condition, ethnicity has replaced traditional whakapapa (to which we shall return) as the criterion of Maori group membership, and the principles of authority implicit in whakapapa are left defenceless against the construction of those (government and tribal corporations alike) who wish to modernise. The many groups named after their eponymous ancestors, who link them to particular geographical locations, are replaced by One Big Maoridom inhabiting the whole of New Zealand. Traditional modes of life are replaced by liberal-democratically inspired ones, and the internal governance of Maori becomes legal-bureaucratic. What is at issue here, however, is not this process of whakapapa versus democratic-legal-bureaucratic transformation in relation to the whole of Maoridom, but in relation to one single iwi, Ngai Tahu, the main tribal group of the South Island (Te Waipounamu) and Stewart Island (Rakiura). The new structure developed by Ngai Tahu, is an example of how a modern structure of governance has transformed a tradition-based organisation into a legal-rational-bureaucratic organisation. The nature of TRONT has impacted on Ngai Tahu tradition-based knowledge and values and threatens the continuation of whakapapa-organised processes.

       The continuity and transmission of institutions, values and practices of Maori societies begins with « whakapapa »[6]. Whakapapa in its simplest definition is genealogies, or lists of names that act as keys to unlocking the way Maori understand the way the world operates and maintains stability. It is, again according to Mahuika, the « heart and core of Maori institutions, from Creation to what is now iwi… to deny whakapapa therefore as the key to both culture and iwi is a recipe for disaster, conflict, and disharmony » (1998 : 219). Implicit in whakapapa are notions of kinship, descent, status, authority and property. Whakapapa according to Mahuika is the « determinant of all mana[7] rights to land, to marae[8], to membership of a whanau[9], hapu, and, collectively, the iwi whakapapa determines kinship roles and responsibilities to other kin, as well as one’s place and status within society » (1998 : 219). Everything in the Maori world, spiritual or physical, has a list of names that trace connections to a founding ancestor. The lists apply to humans and the physical world; things in the natural world such as trees, fish, rocks, stars, the winds, rain, sun, moon, seas and rivers; and to things in the spiritual world. All the thousands of whakapapa interact in some way and all the interactions take the form of relationships between « families ». The family relationships are communicated through stories of events that explain how the relationships began. The stories show why the names are in the order that they are in the lists. They indicate the organisational processes that needed to be carried out in order to maintain the relationships among families, persons and the natural world.

       The way that whakapapa suggests organisational practices is appropriate to kin-based groups whose attachment to each other and their lands is literally umbilical. Hapu were to practice « kaitiakitanga » (guardianship over their whenua-land)[10], « whanaungatanga » (appropriately kin-shaped relationships ; connections among groups or individuals), « rangatiratanga » (self-governance), and « manaakitanga » (hospitality to visitors). Laws, lore, customs and traditions that were known collectively as « tikanga » set out the way as to how the principles of whakapapa were to be observed. The way each individual hapu or whanau carried out tikanga was by setting their own rules, « kawa », peculiarly appropriate for them in any normal situation. The tikanga and kawa also included concepts of expressed, sustained and established tapu (restrictions of varying kinds and degrees), mana (power and authority), mauri (life force), and wairua (spirit), all of which infused spirituality into the relationships.

       The social groupings in Maori society — whanau, hapu and iwi — were connections to different layers of whakapapa and were managed through alliances and kinship relationships. Different levels of authority and power interacted to govern each layer of kinship or relationship. These interacting levels of power and authority formed the tradition-based Maori leadership structure[11]. Leadership in Maori society was not an elected position, but instead a position determined by whakapapa. The traditional role of leadership required that the status of the person be recognised by his or her own people and by other tribal groups. The leaders own people bestowed the authority that allowed the leader to achieve goals for the tribal group. The leadership levels interacted when they found it was necessary to do so, to allow for the effective government of the group as a whole. Often the strength of leadership could best be demonstrated through the physical displays of wealth, power and control exhibited through the whakapapa principle of manaakitanga. The leader also required a good knowledge of tribal history in order to settle disputes. The dispute resolution process was tikanga-based and required skills in providing solutions that seemed fair, just and an appropriate solution to the problem. The decision-making process undertaken by the social group was not always the sole responsibility of the leader, but if a meeting of hapu or whanau did not result in unanimous agreement, then the rangatira might have directed the people to a particular course of action.

       The interconnectedness of whakapapa layers was remembered through körero (language, speeches, stories) that linked a group with the land and the ancestors from whom their obligations and responsibilities to a physical location had originated. The physical representations of whakapapa in mountains, rivers and other important landmarks served as reminders of the group’s governance status and why they held the mana over particular areas. This process was known as « ahi ka » (maintaining occupation of the land). The concept of ahi ka insists that being a blood relative does not give one (much) right to anything, but is determinant upon the fulfilment of duties an obligation towards maintaining whakapapa relationships, occupying the land, and ensuring the benefits from it are maintained for future generations. The land more than anything else symbolised the physical representation of the group’s whakapapa and it was here that the group had a base for representation — the marae.

       It may now be clearly seen that whakapapa is about relationships and is practiced through the way we carry out the relationships. Everything that has some kind of relationship with something else can have that relationship explained through whakapapa. Whakapapa occurs in different layers. There are layers of co-operation, or whanaungatanga, and layers of participation between people and the natural and spiritual worlds. The connections are expressed through lists of names that layer from generation to generation and can move from layer to layer crossways, downwards and upwards, depending on the purpose. Whakapapa orders different layers of knowledge, which is accessed through the stories that explain the lists of names. Relationships occur at different levels depending on how we want to connect and for what purpose at the time. Knowledge also occurs on different levels and at different degrees of participation by the users, which governs its use. For example, the exercise of rangatiratanga is managed at different levels by the different statuses of leadership. They each in turn hold different degrees of power and knowledge that all come together to ensure the survival of the group as a whole.

       Whakapapa then was part of an interconnected knowledge system that was accessed through lists of names. As the Waitangi Tribunal has memorably put it : the physical presence of a person or object in nature recalls the name, « the name recalls the event. The event recalls the whakapapa. The whakapapa recalls the connections between things past and things present. The connection between things past and present is the element, which gives… pride and identity »[12].

       But Whakapapa has become a system in danger as Maori move away from whakapapa as the sole basis for organisation. The Ngai Tahu case illustrates just how the adoption of a new mode of iwi governance can destroy the old.


From whakapapa to bureaucracy

       Ngai Tahu began to modernise their governance as early as the 1860s. By the 1990s the triumph of democratic, bureaucratic, corporate and legalistic principles was almost complete.

       During the 1860s the hitherto autonomous Ngai Tahu hapu joined together in a series of runanga, or councils — district councils in this case. The runanga scheme was part of a plan instituted by Governor George Grey[13] in an attempt to bring Maori and Pakeha (whites) under the same legal jurisdiction. The councils were designed to help speed up the assimilation of Maori and Pakeha by creating an environment within Maori-dominated areas that encouraged Pakeha to settle amongst Maori. The system was to merge the autonomous hapu groups into councils that cut across tribal boundaries and interfered with the tradition-based leadership and governance by insisting that their membership be elected. The intertribal relationships that had been formed within the context of whakapapa were to be subsumed under Crown-instituted governance structures.

       Ngai Tahu hapu voluntarily adopted the runanga system although many other hapu groups in other parts of New Zealand rejected Grey’s plan. The fact that Grey’s plan was never passed into legislation allowed for Ngai Tahu to adapt and develop the runanga to fit with their own tikanga and kawa, and over time they further developed the runanga system to suit their needs rather than the Crown’s (Caldwell 1994 : 10-11). The adoption of the runanga system by Ngai Tahu was a result of the effects of the Crown land purchases in the South Island which saw Ngai Tahu traditional territories reduced to a mere remnant of their former size. Once in control of almost the whole of the South Island, following the Crown land purchases Ngai Tahu whanui were restricted to living in reserves the boundaries of which were determined and constrained by the encroaching Pakeha farms and townships[14]. The official reports of the time describe Ngai Tahu as extremely impoverished and living in squalid conditions, confined to their small inadequate reserves (Evison 1993 : 461-469). This was a far cry from the tradition-based hapu groups who held the mana whenua or political and economic power in the South Island of New Zealand. It was in this climate of massive change and disruption to their patterns of social organisation that Ngai Tahu whanui adopted the runanga system.

       The shape and location of the Ngai Tahu reserves formed the basis of the runanga system. The hapu amalgamated into multi-hapu runanga each with elected representatives. Each runanga managed the affairs of the member-hapu that were based within the runanga territory. When there was an issue that affected the iwi the runanga members came together as a collective. Elected representatives who, on the whole came from the stronger, senior lines of whakapapa, led each runanga suggesting that some form of whakapapa-based leadership was still in place at least in the early years of the runanga system. The elected representatives would meet as a central council whose base had been established at Tuahiwi marae near Christchurch[15]. Ngai Tahu continued to develop and refine the runanga system as their means of self-government, and in 1873 they sent a proclamation to Parliament outlining the intentions of the runanga collective towards the self-governing of their lands. The proclamation defined the boundaries of the runanga area, and informed the Government that any Pakeha running sheep and other farming activities on the lands between the boundary markers would be ordered to remove their stock to the coastal areas. The changes introduced by Crown directed processes had completely redefined Ngai Tahu governance by instituting democratic councils whose collective will overrode that of the traditional marae-based hapu groups. The runanga became the political voice of Ngai Tahu and acted as the main decision-making forum.

       Ngai Tahu had a long history of claims against the Crown for its wrongful taking of land. When their efforts began to bear fruit, the administration of compensation monies meant changes to the leadership structure. Runanga representation became less direct, and a central body came to govern in trust for, but not in response to the desires of, the runanga. This came about in 1946, when the Government set up a Trust Board in the Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board Settlement Act[16]. The Trust Board was a central administration body that was legally answerable to the Crown rather than to Ngai Tahu whanui and it was severely constrained in its actions. Regulations limited its powers to act without concurrence of the Minister of Maori Affairs. The Trust Board took over a governance role from the runanga. This marked a further shift away from marae-based governance to governance organised through legislation.

       The Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board, as with all other tribal trust boards created under government legislation during the 1940s and 1950s, was the only Ngai Tahu tribal body corporate recognised by law. It came under increasing pressure to expand its range of activities and adopt responsibilities towards the tribal members. Both Ngai Tahu whanui and the Government saw the Board as the voice of Ngai Tahu. Both wanted rather different things from it.

       The Government wanted a representative body it could deal with, representative in the sense that it could speak for Ngai Tahu and bind them to its decisions. The legislation that bound the Trust Board also ensured that the any tribal assets administered by the board had to be dealt with in a modern, rational way, answerable to government standards. Ngai Tahu whanui on the other hand wanted a body that could represent their opinions and decisions, and be bound by these rather than by the government’s directives. The external pressures to have an official voice for Ngai Tahu iwi collective led to inconsistencies between the dual roles of the board. The trust board structure highlighted the tension created between the board’s statutory responsibilities to the Crown while acting in a de facto role as the voice for Ngai Tahu whanui. The non-Maori initiated trust boards helped to entrench the legal-rational-bureaucratic style of organsiation within Ngai Tahu organisational structures.

       The most recent piece of legislation to attempt to redefine the shape and role of iwi was the Runanga Iwi Bill, introduced into parliament in 1989 by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon. Koro T. Wetere, who hailed it as the « cornerstone of the Government’s Maori policy »[17]. The origin of the act itself — the Government’s devolution policies — gave iwi authorities the recognised status as Treaty partners and the preferred organisations for delivering the Government’s social services to Maori[18]. This in effect locked Maori into a pattern of organsiation that could have been the same for any other social service agency — contracting services and funding from the government. The Runanga Iwi Bill was the mechanism by which the Maori -run service delivery agencies would be constructed, and they were to be iwi-based. This legislation redefined who represented Maori and was designed to turn iwi into quasi government departments.

       The bill directed iwi to provide a Charter of Incorporation that described themselves, their members and their territory. Guidelines as to how the description should be framed were provided. It was to be a written statement that informed iwi and runanga members of how it was going to carry out the administration processes of assets. It would spell out how to determine things like membership and representation. The Charter was to be a documented management process of the runanga system. It would record the name of the iwi and the name proposed in respect of the runanga. It would outline the guiding principles of the runanga including its accountability to iwi and the government, and the runanga’s dispute resolution process[19]. The charter was criticised as imposing legislative controls over iwi and was described by the far north Tai Tokerau iwi as part of a « straight jacket » of rules and laws that decided iwi formation and business for them[20]. A representative of the Chatham Islands Moriori people rightly stated that the Runanga Iwi Bill would confine iwi to an advisory role, adding that it would guarantee iwi existence « only under a social welfare dependency structure » and that the Crown would control iwi development[21].

       Under the legislation, the runanga were expected to establish beneficiary roles to ensure that all members who met the criteria would be able to access the iwi’s resources. In the Runanga Iwi Bill the criteria for beneficiary status was « a person of the Maori race of New Zealand; and includes a descendant of any such person »[22]. This generalisation of identity through ethnic descent stripped away the notion of kinship by descent that is tied directly to land, resources and managed through specific whakapapa relationships. The ethnic descent category provided an individual with a idea of being a member of an ethnic group without having to participate in the obligations and responsibilities inherent in a whakapapa relationship. The level of participation was to form a vital part in the future capability of runanga to effectively deliver benefits to all its registered members.

       The runanga system proposed by Wetere failed to deliver the autonomy in development that Maori groups had long been seeking. The bill introduced changes from whakapapa-based governance to « kawanatanga », or governance instituted through legislation. It also imposed legislated definitions of what constituted an iwi and how to define its membership. This centralised governance model was widely rejected by iwi as « entrenching government controls over assets and resources that are traditionally and customarily Maori owned »[23], and submerging iwi mana under « controls of accountability, charters and the like »[24].  Despite further opposition voiced by members of Parliament the bill became law in 1990. But not for long. When it came to power in 1990, the National Government appointed Winston Peters as the Minister of Maori Affairs and he introduced the Runanga Iwi Act Repeal Bill in December 1990. The Runanga Iwi Act was repealed six months later[25].

       When the runanga system in the Runanga Iwi Bill was first proposed, several groups, including Ngai Tahu, began moves to institute the runanga structure. None however, succeed in having their runanga structure formalised before the act was repealed by the National Government. The Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board continued with their plans for a central runanga structure as defined by the Runanga Iwi Act and in 1996 the Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Act was passed in Parliament[26].

       The legislation gave the legal authority to TRONT as the mandated representative for Ngai Tahu whanui. The act also stressed that the structure was designed to look after both individual and group beneficial rights. The TRONT legislation provided management guidelines and defined who the iwi beneficiaries were. It defined the tribal territories, which are shared by the eighteen papatipu runanga. It defined how representatives were to be elected. It defined how disputes were to be settled. It contained regulations for determining who could be a member or a beneficiary as well as rules specifying how to compile a beneficial roll. The legislation also required that the number of papatipu runanga is maintained at eighteen and spelt out regulations governing any additions to that number. Included within the legislation, as a further set of governing rules was a Charter of Incorporation. The Charter followed the directives as outlined in the Runanga Iwi legislation, and was a documented process for the management of Ngai Tahu whanui and their collective assets. The status of TRONT and regulations governing any changes to their Charter was covered by the legislation. The Charter and the act combined to provide for the establishment of a central governance structure based in Christchurch, that would be responsible for devolving social service funding out to the eighteen papatipu runanga. Following the settlement of the Ngai Tahu claim in 1998, the Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu act became part of the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act, 1998. The inclusion of the 1996 act into the settlement legislation ensured that TRONT would remain as the organisational structure for the future governance of Ngai Tahu whanui.

       The future of Ngai Tahu is dependant on economic growth and political strength and is anchored primarily in the efficient management of the contents of the Treaty settlement. Throughout Ngai Tahu’s restructuring process they have maintained the notion that they are a whakapapa-based society that exhibits certain qualities and characteristics in its behaviour. But they have adopted a non-Maori non-whakapapa based system of governance in order to move the iwi collective forward in terms of economic and social development. The internal administration of TRONT was organised as a legal-rational-bureaucracy. As Heywood has stated, these are « the civil servants and public officials who are charged with the execution of government business » (1997 : 339). In TRONT’s case, the bureaucrats are the people who are employed on the basis of merit and are not always members of Ngai Tahu iwi[27]. The experts and specialists, who are not selected through the whakapapa process, now govern Ngai Tahu whanui. The remaining traditional authority regulated by whakapapa is overridden by legislation that regulates the bureaucracy. The leadership authority ascribed to was described by Max Weber as a legal-rational authority, which links authority to a formal, constitutional set of rules, which constrain or limit what an office holder is able to do (Cited in Heywood 1997 : 195). TRONT was linked to the formal, constitutional set of rules set out and legitimated by the Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Act, 1996 and further legitimated by the acts inclusion into the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act, 1998. Both these pieces of legislation constrained and limited what TRONT was able to do in its capacity as the voice of Ngai Tahu whanui. The Government has upheld Ngai Tahu’s TRONT structure as an ideal model for future Maori development, but there is no place for whakapapa in this style of leadership and authority. Whakapapa based organisation is irrelevant. It is this irrelevance that has created the tension between TRONT, the official legal voice of Ngai Tahu whanui and the eighteen papatipu runanga, the traditional authorities operating under tikanga.

       The central governance model, such as TRONT, ignores all claims to autonomous governance over each group’s own assets and resources. The model represents a shift from a political, economic and social system ordered by traditional kinship relationships, to a centralised system that is ordered by legislation. In Ngai Tahu’s case they have moved from a whakapapa-based organisation to one that must adhere to two pieces of legislation : The Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Act, 1996 and The Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act, 1998. During but more importantly after the formation of TRONT, tensions began to arise among Ngai Tahu whanui over some key governance issues : the growth of legal-rational organisation, the commercial imperative, and objections to these in terms of whakapapa. None of these matters is straightforward. The basis for the analysis is the TRONT strategic plan released in 2002, Vision 2025.


Vision 2025 : the strategic plan

       The strategic plan had its origins in the legislation governing the settlement. The plan was accepted by the eighteen papatipu runanga representatives as the blueprint for the future development of Ngai Tahu. Implicit within the plan was the concept that everything done to ensure future development must take Ngai Tahu values into account. The basic values thus asserted were those based on whakapapa. « Whanaungatanga » (family-centeredness), would establish mutual respect, unity and help build lasting relationships. « Manaakitanga » (hospitality and care for others) would create honest communication support for each other and hospitality to non-Ngai Tahu. « Tohukataka » (expertise) would increase the skills base of all Ngai Tahu members through education. « kaitiakitanga » (stewardship) would make Ngai Tahu part of the landscape in the South Island. Finally there was « Kaikokiri/Manu tioriori » (translated as « warriorship »). This virtue was one, in modern times, of inititive, creativity, vision and energy to ensure the future development of the iwi collective (Annual Report 2002 : 2-3). All values were enshrined in the whakataukï (saying) that helped drive the treaty claim — « mo tatou, a, mo ka uri a muri ake nei : for us and all our descendants after us ». Everything that could be done would be done to ensure the continuity of Ngai Tahu iwi.

       The plan was divided into nine main sections each with its own statement of intent that outlined the perceived development and growth of Ngai Tahu during the next twenty-five years. The plan attempted to combine the traditional values with economic development strategies thus providing some level of reassurance to members of Ngai Tahu whanui that the values based on the principles of whakapapa remained intact. This was done primarily through the use of Maori terminology in the document that suggested the values were being adhered to. The key points concerning governance suggested otherwise.


Kaitiakitanga and governance

       The plan recognised the historical importance of the papatipu runanga as the base for participation by individual Ngai Tahu members, and explained the strategies for ensuring that the papatipu runanga remained the contact point for all Ngai Tahu. On the other hand, the plan stated that in order for the runanga to provide assistance provision would be made within the central governance structure for funding to be devolved out to the papatipu runanga. The eighteen papatipu runanga who make up TRONT are not the ones charged with either decision-making or with overall development roles.

       The groups charged with delivering Vision 2025 are the Ngai Tahu Holding Corporation (henceforth NTHC) and the Ngai Tahu Development Corporation (henceforth NTDC). The NTDC has recently decentralised its administration and legal services units and formed the Office of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu (henceforth OTRONT)[28]. The way that these three groups proposed to deliver Vision 2025 to Ngai Tahu whanui provided the analysis of the tensions between tradition-based authority and organisation and the legal-rational-bureaucratic organisation adopted by Ngai Tahu.

       The plan was quite clear as to what method had been adopted for achieving efficient decision-making. « Efficiencies have been maximised through decentralised structures that allow for a high degree of management and governance autonomy in both Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation and Ngai Tahu Development Corporation. Decision-making has been placed in the hands of those recruited for their ability to optimise short-term tactical objectives… growth and progress dictate that Ngai Tahu 2025 is achieved through a change process that will deliver the long-term strategic objectives of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu » (TRONT 2002 : 36). Effectively the decision-making had been removed from the eighteen papatipu runanga and put into the hands of bureaucrats employed by NTHC, NTDC, and OTRONT.

       Listed among the key requirements for effective future governance is the idea that fundamental to the modern organisation structure is the separation of the « protection of growing the asset base » from the « delivery of benefits » (2002 : 37). The central authority needs two arms to carry out different functions. One is bureaucratic, the other is commercial. The key to the future sustainability of the legal-rational-bureaucratic organisation, TRONT, is the centralised control achieved through separating the eighteen papatipu runanga from authority and control. The eighteen papatipu runanga remain recognised as the base for providing assistance to the tribal members — Ngai Tahu whanui. And the eighteen elected representatives of TRONT advocate the collective will of the members. In reality however, the eighteen runanga have lost their authority and control in mandating it (in theory at least) to the TRONT structure, which actually makes decisions for, and governs, Ngai Tahu.


Whakapapa-based authority vs. mandated authority

       Because there are different organisations acting for Ngai Tahu whanui, problems of accountability arise. Firstly there is the eighteen papatipu runanga’s accountability to their respective marae-based iwi members, because the runanga continue to be acknowledged as the body responsible for providing assistance to tribal members. Secondly there is the papatipu runangas’ elected representatives’ accountability to TRONT. And there is TRONT’S accountability to Ngai Tahu « beneficiaries » as outlined in the legislation. To complicate matters further, there is accountability to government service agencies and to other bureaucratic structures that TRONT must work with. This comes about because TRONT is part of a bigger nation state, New Zealand and shares everything with the rest of the population in the South Island. Ngai Tahu have been officially acknowledged as the Treaty partner with the Crown, and since the settlement, are officially acknowledged through legislation as being the tribal authority and power-base in the greater part of the South Island. But any decisions made concerning its political and economic direction must always take into account the non-Ngai Tahu peoples who live within TRONT’s territory. It is at times not clear to whom those who act for the iwi should answer ; nor is it clear what standards of behaviour they should be following. All things considered though, the legislation points to the iwi collective, TRONT, as the voice of Ngai Tahu in all matters. The authority to act as such is mandated authority, instituted by the legislation and capable of overriding whakapapa-based authority.

       A papatipu runanga representative may have more than one area of mandated authority, each with its own purpose. Mandate authorises him or her to carry out specific policies and objectives on behalf of the group who send there representative to the centre. But if the mandate occurs when TRONT is in the legal position of a trustee, then that trusteeship allows for such action and policies that do not require further consultation with the mandating groups. The mandated representative can assume the notion of making a « mature judgement » as to what is in the interests of constituents. The representative will not be bound by what they want, or say (Heywood 1997 : 207). The accountability then is not to the people who delegated him or her as their representative, but to the idea of what is best for all, as decided by TRONT. In any leadership roles that the runanga representative undertakes in the context of decision making, the mandate and accountability is not necessarily determined by his or her marae, but by the collective decision-making process of the iwi.

       It is clear from the objectives outlined in Visions 2025 that TRONT is assuming a greater role than was originally intended. There has been a shift away from runanga marae authority based on whakapapa to the legal-rational authority of the overarching structure that is now formulating the iwi’s policy and direction. TRONT is now the sole body for the exercise of governance over lands, people and resources within Ngai Tahu’s South Island territory.

       It is ironic to note that Sir Tipene O’Regan, one time leader of Ngai Tahu in pursuing the Treaty settlement with modern organisational tools, and the prime architect of TRONT, has, since 2001, had some reservations about the current positioning of TRONT. He maintains that the power should be held with the eighteen runanga who « maintain the tribal estate, hold the ahi ka » (O’Regan 2001)[29]. His position may have come from the realisation that the TRONT structure has now taken on a personality of its own. TRONT has become a « thing » created by legislation. This has rendered the people, in this case a Maori people called Ngai Tahu whanui, as « things » that the « thing » has to administer in some way[30]. In its objectives to increase the economic independence of Ngai Tahu, the people and the cultural objectives are becoming part of the commodities to be managed. The operational objectives of TRONT are cementing the idea of governorship over eighteen runanga. By adhering to an iwi-collective philosophy, the TRONT structure is undermining its own hapu. Ngai Tahu is in effect forming a state-induced nation — a single ethnic homogeneous group. The standardising of many hapu into one iwi through a runanga structure, allows nationhood to evolve and therefore succeed in an idea of combined political, economic and social structure. Anthony Smith has spoken of how a communal structure must be constantly redefined and reconstructed through a « national and civic appropriation of ethnic history which will mobilize members on the basis of a rediscovered identity » (Smith 1989 : 352). In plainer words, TRONT is reinventing itself and creating the appropriate history to satisfy its own reinvention.

       But is this a bad thing ? On the surface TRONT has certainly improved the economic well being of Ngai Tahu whanui. For example Ngai Tahu Seafoods won the 2002 TRADENZ[31] export award and their fishing company, Ngai Tahu Fisheries, is enjoying international recognition as a significant player in the fishing industry. Ngai Tahu are now the second largest land owners in the South Island after the Government, because of the parts of the settlement package that enabled them to choose to purchase surplus government properties that came onto the market[32]. This suggests that Ngai Tahu are moving confidently into the twenty-first century at least on a strong economic footing. The economic welfare of the group is an important part of the exercise of self-governance, and to be recognised as succeeding in certain economic areas is part of the external recognition of Ngai Tahu mana and authority. TRONT has also been successful in its relations with central and local government in New Zealand. It is seen as the voice of Ngai Tahu whanui in the South Island. It must be consulted on all matters to do with anything in its South Island territory.

       The standardisation of the hapu-based runanga into one iwi, though, is what makes structures such as this contradictory. It is also a structure that compromises whakapapa. The structure has one set of processes that govern the tribe as a whole but on the other hand it insists that the overriding iwi structure has « no legal right to interfere with the rangatiratanga (self-governance) of the individual marae »[33]. However, this does happen. There is a constant tension between the tradition-based structure where the hapu determined the access to the resources within its individual territory, and the iwi collective structure where each runanga must adhere to the decision of a majority who may or may not vote in favour of the runanga’s interest. The autonomous right has gone — Ngai Tahu agreed to a charter that placed the good of the iwi collective over and above that of each multi-hapu runanga. What this means is that TRONT interferes with the rangatiratanga (self-governance) of the individual runanga groups.



       One of the contentious issues in the Government’s Runanga Iwi bill was the question of who exactly was Maori and how iwi would determine and manage membership. During negotiations for the Ngai Tahu claim one of the government’s stipulations for a settlement was that a « beneficiary register » be established. Ngai Tahu formed their register around a government census taken in 1848, the results of which had been published in 1966 in the form of the Blue Book[34].

       Under the terms of the settlement the Blue Book is the primary source for determining who can claim to be Ngai Tahu. One of the important subsidiaries of TRONT is the Whakapapa Unit. This administers the Blue Book and is responsible for the care, protection and restoration of the tribal whakapapa dating back to 1848. Its key priorities are « to update and upgrade the whakapapa database and to complete the Runanga Registration project »[35]. The existence of the Blue Book lists meant that Ngai Tahu had already fulfilled the criteria for membership required by the Government for its settlement negotiation process. The Blue Book provided individual Ngai Tahu with evidence of their membership to one of the eighteen runanga groups. Without the official sanction proving their status as Ngai Tahu, they will not be recognised as Ngai Tahu.

       A list of beneficiaries though is quite different from a group of people who had been obligated to and responsible for land, family and resources through whakapapa. The book on its own is a list of names isolated from the stories that explained the kinship connections. It also isolates any knowledge of how the relationships are maintained and sustained. There is no responsibility on a registered beneficiary’s part to maintain the practice of the principles of whakapapa. Neither is there any obligation to acquire the knowledge to do so.

       The TRONT legislation and the Vision 2025 strategic plan emphasised the responsibility TRONT had towards ensuring benefits would reach all its members, thus ensuring that each registered papatipu runanga member would have the right to participate fully in the affairs of TRONT. Although the legislation does not base papatipu runanga membership on residential status, all of the runanga are based within TRONT’s South Island territory. This means that in order to fully participate, the registered member must live in the South Island. But not all Ngai Tahu whanui live within TRONT’s territory. It is estimated from the 2002 national census figures that as many as 43% live outside the territory and they exist, officially, on the periphery of TRONT’s structure. The TRONT structure does not take into account the changing demography of Ngai Tahu whanui, thereby denying any way of accommodating the iwi members who live outside the South Island.

       Since the TRONT legislation was passed, a division has been opened between those who live within the territory as defined by the legislation and those who reside elsewhere. It is a symptom of the demographically diverse nature of contemporary Maori groups. The division in Ngai Tahu is not an official legal division but occurs nevertheless and creates a feeling of « them » and « us ». As with all Maori groups TRONT struggles to carry out the principles of whakapapa that cover governance over their members.

       The issue of the exclusion of « taura here » (non-resident members)[36] is one all Maori groups will sooner or later have to face. Ngai Tahu have completed their settlement process and the iwi is now experiencing first hand the problems that are caused by demographically diverse membership. The dilemma facing Ngai Tahu and every other iwi group today is one of rising numbers of members and limited resources. Increasingly the « resources » will be the compensation payouts that come from the Government following a Treaty settlement. The bulk of the compensation packages is likely to be cash, like the $NZ170 million given to Ngai Tahu. The non-whakapapa based resources in the form of Government compensation handouts will ultimately alter the way the relationships between iwi members are carried out. The resource distribution is no longer governed by reciprocal obligation and responsibility to sustaining the resource for future generations. The contemporary expectations of individual Maori are that if they belong to an iwi, that is if they have registered as beneficiaries, they are entitled to a share of any Treaty settlement money, regardless of their level of participation in the life of the iwi. There is for instance a Ngai Tahu education grant. All registered Ngai Tahu have the right to access the universal education grant offered by the tribe regardless of where they live or how much they contribute to the iwi as a whole. And all expect it.

       The way that iwi groups such as Ngai Tahu organise their resource distribution processes provides an instance where whakapapa has been modified more because of contemporary expectations based on an individual’s needs rather than looking to the future of the group as a whole. This raises the question as to how much participation is required to ensure the stability and continuation of the iwi group. The beneficial registers are certainly one way of ensuring everyone participates, at least to the level of registering their interest as an iwi member. But that is not to say much. Individuals, once obligated to serve the tribe are now free to choose their degree of participation — an inevitable change in the way we practice some of the principles of whakapapa. The extent to which individuals are willing to participate in the activities of the whakapapa group will determine in the future the degree and the extent that the group can sustain whakapapa-based relationships. Many will choose not to participate ; taura here simply cannot. It is evident that the centralised structures such as TRONT will force a modification to whakapapa in its entirety by changing the way whakapapa principles of participation, reciprocity and obligation are carried out.


Future relationships

       The danger of the TRONT-type of government-oriented tribal structure is that economically it may well be successful and held up to be the way for Maori into the future. But it can become a culturally problematic structure for the Maori groups who adopt it. As mentioned earlier this has not prevented the Government from encouraging other groups to look towards copying the TRONT tribal-collective model. The way TRONT is structured is not to express who Ngai Tahu are as a people, but rather for the sake of economic growth distanced from the cultural base of the hapu and iwi. The base for the TRONT structure is not a base that comes from whakapapa. It does not use whakapapa-based knowledge to organise its principles and objectives. It is instead organised by the legislation that lays down democratic, bureaucratic and accounting procedures that are then carried out by the office-holder in TRONT. None of these procedures are sourced from within Ngai Tahu tikanga, but are sourced from within Government policies designed to re-shape Maori social structures. Some of the ways that the office holders carry out the procedures have a semblance of adherence to Ngai Tahu tikanga and kawa but this is because the individual papatipu runanga groups try to maintain some kind of control over the management activities of NTDC, OTRONT, and NTHC. Often, though, the policies put forward as Ngai Tahu policy are policies that are written by the office holders within the bureaucracy. TRONT represents the membership of the papatipu runanga, and at the same time it exercises total control over their activities through its bureaucratic organsiation. The danger of this type of policy-making is that over time the bureaucracy and the businessmen may escape the control of TRONT, and illustrates how the principles of centralised democracy can override the inalienable rights of the papatipu runanga.



       As recently noted by Professor Roger Maaka even though the political climate in New Zealand recognises the tribe as a legitimate social group, « … the government has pressurised Maori to codify the tribe into a form that fits its own notions of political organisation » (1998 : 203). This has resulted in a « centralised tribal influence » (Maaka 1998 : 203) that has been largely constructed by government policies and designed to meet government agendas for settling Treaty claims. The TRONT structure could be said to « ape the structuralist form of the settler state itself and so takes up a posture which is mutually authorising… the political forms of state and tribe implicitly license and authorise each other » (McHugh 1998 : 144). A state-induced Maori ethnogenesis has occurred allowing state definitions as to what constitutes a Maori governance structure (Cheater and Hopa 1997 : 208). The state-directed negotiation processes towards settlements, have moved Maori groups towards legislated iwi governance definitions. The state has determined that all settlements are to be with iwi and the state definitions of what constitutes an iwi have become the building blocks for future iwi social structures. The subsequent management structures that develop from the new iwi social structures have become the driving force behind Maori economic and political development.

       There is no perfect post-settlement governance model that will be right for every Maori group. The TRONT structure has its strong points especially in economic growth, but it also has weaknesses in the way it overrides the principles of whakapapa. The TRONT structure could be right for Ngai Tahu. Certainly something like it was inevitable given that Ngai Tahu embraced Grey’s runanga scheme, setting them on the road to forming this type of institutionalised structure. The TRONT structure has its guiding principles in the two pieces of legislation, not, as it claims, in whakapapa-based knowledge and processes. The legislation is in danger of driving Ngai Tahu too far away from whakapapa processes in their attitudes and practices in order for them to return to them. The example of Ngai Tahu whanui as an endangered whakapapa-based group needs careful consideration by other groups who are about to take part in the Government’s negotiating and settlement process. If Maori societies are to maintain their cultural uniqueness, they must consider carefully the future structure of their political, economic and social organsiation. In the past it has been whakapapa that has been the key to the uniqueness, but contemporary conditions, and the conditions of settlement tend to move groups towards modernising solutions to their problems — solutions proffered to them by state, and registered in legislation. Such changes may be expected to alter Maori organisations in ways with which whakapapa cannot compete. A small number of pan-Maori bureaucracies that instigate policy and control the future direction of Maori could override and threaten any final remnants of whakapapa-determined organisation. The resulting structure would accomplish what historic and contemporary government and Crown policies set out to do — amalgamate groups under one system regardless of boundaries, whanaungatanga alliances and issues of self-governance. The bureaucratic structures would become the censored versions of Maori society.



CALDWELL Russell, 1994, Whakapapa Ngai Tahu. The Establishment of the Ngai Tahu Beneficial Register And a Guide to Enrolment and Research. Christchurch : The Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board.

CHEATER A., HOPA N., 1997, « Representing Identity », in JAMES A., HOCKEY J., DAWSON A. (eds), After Writing Culture. London : Routledge, pp. 208-223.

EVISON Harry C., 1993, Te Wai Pounamu, The Greenstone Island. A History of the southern Maori during the European Colonisation of New Zealand. Christchurch : Aoraki Press.

HEYWOOD Andrew, 1997, Politics. London : Macmillan Press Ltd.

KAWHARU I. H. (ed.), 1989, Waitangi. Maori & Pakeha Perspectives Of The Treaty of Waitangi. Auckland : Oxford University Press.

MAAKA R., 1998, « A Relationship, Not a Problem », in COATES KEN S., McHUGH P. G. (eds), Living Relationships. Kotahi Ngatahi. The Treaty of Waitangi in the New Millennium. Wellington : Victoria University Press, pp. 201-205.

MAHUIKA Apirana, 1998, « Whakapapa is the Heart », in COATES KEN S., McHUGH P. G. (eds), Living Relationships : Kotahi Ngatahi. The Treaty of Waitangi in the New Millennium. Wellington : Victoria University Press, pp. 214-221.

MARSDEN Maori, HENARE T. A., 1992, Kaitiakitanga : A Definitive Introduction To The Holistic World View Of The Maori. Wellington : The Ministry for the Environment.

MARX Karl, 1979, Capital : A Critique of Political Economy, Vol.1, Part 1. Middlesex : Penguin Books Ltd.

McHUGH P. G., 1998, « Aboriginal Identity and Relations in North America and Australia », in COATES KEN S., McHUGH P. G. (eds), Living Relationships. Kokiri Ngatahi. The Treaty of Waitangi in the New Millennium. Wellington : Victoria University Press, pp. 107-186.

SHARP Andrew, 2002, « Blood, Custom, And Consent : Three Kinds Of Maori Groups And The Challenges They Present To Governments », University of Toronto Law Journal, 52, pp. 8-37.

SHARP Andrew, McHUGH Paul (eds), 2001, Histories Power and Loss. Uses of the Past – A New Zealand Commentary. Wellington : Bridget Williams Books.

SMITH A. D., 1989, « The Origins of Nations », Ethnic and Racial Studies, 12, No. 3. (July), pp. 340-76.

TAUROA Hiwi and Pat, 1993, Te Marae. A Guide to Customs & Protocol. Auckland : Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd.

TE RUNANGA O NGAI TAHU, 2002, Vision 2025. Christchurch : Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

TE RUNANGA O NGAI TAHU, 2002, Annual Report 2002. Christchurch : Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.

THE WAITANGI TRIBUNAL, 1992, The Te Roroa Report (Wai 038). Wellington : The Waitangi Tribunal and The Government Printer.

WEBER Max, 1999, [SWEDBERG Richard (ed.)], Essays in Economic Sociology. New Jersey : Princeton University Press.



Proclamation and Letter from Ngai Tahu Runanga to the Government, 8 October 1873. Le 1/1874/121. Archives New Zealand, Wellington.

Charter of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu amended as at 22 November 2000. Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Christchurch, New Zealand.

National Maori Congress Whakakotahi Taskforce Hui Report, 10 March 1990 (Private papers).



The Maori Trust Boards Act, 1955.

The Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Boards Act, 1946.

The Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act, 1998.

The Runanga Iwi Act, 1990.

New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, 1860, 1989, 1990.

[1] All Maori groups have an eponymous ancestor from which they descend. The prefix « Ngai » or « Ngati » means « of that person ». Hence the name, Ngai Tahu, means people of the ancestor Tahu Potiki. The adjective « whanui » means broad or wide, so refers to the all the members of the modern tribe, Ngai Tahu. The term itself was devised for the purposes of the legislation that now forms the basis for Ngai Tahu governance.

[2] Hapu : « pregnant » ; the corporate group in Maori society.

[3] Kawa : the rules set by each group that enable them to carry out the laws and custom that organise and govern their society.

[4] Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu was structured around the eighteen papatipu runanga (District Councils). Each runanga would meet separately on their home marae (see note 8) once a month to discuss the various issues that they wanted all Ngai Tahu to consider, or to discuss the programmes that they would like to put in place. Every two months each of the eighteen elected runanga representatives would meet as the TRONT board and the decisions and proposals that came from the eighteen runanga would be debated and voted on. The final decision made by the TRONT board would be binding on all eighteen runanga. The Kaiwhakahaere (chairperson) of TRONT was elected from among the eighteen representatives and he or she was the recognised face of Ngai Tahu whanui. The eighteen runanga make up the overarching iwi-collective, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. TRONT oversees two corporate divisions : Ngai Tahu Development Corporation, and the Ngai Tahu Holding Corporation. Both these divisions have a corporate management and administration structure in place with a board of directors and a Chief Executive Officer. The two divisions are the bureaucratic structures that manage Ngai Tahu whanui.

[5] Kaumatua : an elder who has the recognition of his or her family group to act as spokesperson.

[6] The literal meaning of the word, Whakapapa, means to layer or to make layers, and refers to the many layers and degrees of kinship relationships that are formed through the process of whakapapa.

[7] Mana : absolute recognised power, authority and control.

[8] Marae : a meeting or gathering place ; « The marae is the (…) place in which Maori customs are given ultimate expression. (…) For our people, marae are places of refuge that provide facilities to enable us to continue with our way of life within the total structure of Maoridom. We, the Maori, need our marae so that we may pray to God ; rise tall in oratory ; weep for our dead ; house our guests ; have our meetings, feasts, weddings, and reunions ; and sing and dance » (Tauroa 1993 : 17, 19).

[9] Whanau : « to give birth ; be born into » ; contemporary meaning is « extended family group ».

[10] Whenua : means land or the placenta. The phrase, tangata whenua means, « people of/from the land ». It can be explained this way. « The first woman, Hineahuone, was formed out of the clay of the mother earth and impregnated by Tane to produce Hine Titama, the dawn maid. Tane cohabited with her to produce more children. These were the progenitors of the human race. The Maori thought of himself as holding a special relationship to mother earth and her resources. The popular name of the earth is whenua. This is also the name for the ‘afterbirth’. Just as a foetus is nurtured in the mother’s womb and after the baby’s birth upon her breast, so all life forms are nurtured in the womb and upon earth’s breast. Man is an integral part of the natural order and recipients of her bounty. He is her son and therefore, as every son has social obligations to fulfil towards his parents, siblings and other members of the whanau, so has man an obligation to mother earth and her whanau to promote their welfare and good » (Marsden 1992 : 17).

[11] All leadership roles are determined by whakapapa and the person’s order of birth. The highest position is held by the ariki who is the political head and figurehead of the iwi. The ariki comes from the most senior line of the iwi whakapapa and is « the spearhead at the front of the people and forms the platform upon which the tribe stands » (Personal conversation with Isobel Roderick, kaumatua from the iwi, Ngati Rangiwewehe). A person who usually heads the hapu holds the position of rangatira and his or her work is to oversee the governance of the hapu. The rangatira does not have to be from a senior line and is often from a junior line to that of the ariki. A rangatira can also acquire the leadership status through worthwhile actions that benefit the group. The tohunga is the recognised expert in a particular area, such as someone expert in fishing methods or carving. Both the ancestors and the living hapu in some way mark the person who holds a tohunga position at birth as being a person who has been chosen to fulfil this leadership role. The person’s whakapapa is taken into account because his or her ancestry would determine if the person has the correct ancestral mana for holding the position. The tohunga is the spokesperson and mediator between the spiritual world and the physical world. The leadership position for the whanau is held by the kaumatua. This is an elder who is recognised as having knowledge in a particular area that benefits the whanau, such as knowledge of the whanau’s genealogies.

[12] Cited in the Waitangi Tribunal Te Roroa report (Wai 038) 1992 : 6.2, pp. 210-211.

[13] Governor George Grey was the British-appointed Governor to New Zealand during 1845-1853, and 1863-1868.

[14] Land and people are integral parts of the landscape. Following the loss of their lands, Ngai Tahu were without places to occupy except for the small inadequate reserves awarded by the Crown. This affected the practice of ahi ka (occupation), and ultimately the practice of all the principles of whakapapa through the Ngai Tahu tikanga processes. In effect, Ngai Tahu had no lands left to occupy, gather resources from, or indeed over which to exercise their governance.

[15] Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and is on the east coast.

[16] There was a Royal Commission appointed by the government in 1921 that recommended Ngai Tahu receive ₤354,000 as a settlement for the Ngai Tahu claim. This offer was firmly rejected by Ngai Tahu as not adequate compensation. The claim itself and the recommendations of the Royal Commission was mostly ignored by central government during the economic and political climate of the 1920s and 1930s. Despite widespread Ngai Tahu opposition to the Commission’s recommendations the Government established the Ngai Tahu Maori Trust Board in 1946 to administer the compensation that had been recommended by the 1921 Commission.

[17] NZPD, Vol. 503, 21 Nov.-5 Dec. 1989 : 14228.

[18] The Government’s plans for devolution were outlined in a 1988 report entitled, He Tirohanga Rangapu. The report gave recognition to iwi as holding the rangatiratanga and stated that as the Treaty partner with the Crown iwi, “‘should become responsible for implementing and administering government programmes”…The Runanga Iwi Act gave legislative effect to this policy.’ Cited in the Waitangi Tribunal Te Whanau o Waipareira report, 1998 : 8.1.6.

[19] Runanga Iwi Act, 1990. SNZ, 1990 Vol.3, No.125 : 1758.

[20] Tai Tokerau Kotahitanga report, National Maori Congress Whakakotahi Taskforce Hui Report, 10 March 1990, Tongariro High School, Turangi, p. 5.

[21] Wharekauri report, National Maori Congress Whakakotahi Taskforce Hui Report, 10 March 1990, Tongariro High School, Turangi, p. 23. The Chatham Islands are off the east coast of New Zealand. The indigenous people are called Moriori and are of Polynesian origins. They arrived in the Chatham Islands from New Zealand in pre-European times and developed a culture and language distinct from that of Maori. They are, however, recognised under the Treaty of Waitangi as being genealogically connected to Maori.

[22] Runanga Iwi Bill. Statutes of New Zealand, Vol.3, No.125, 1990 : 1756.

[23] From the Aotea Report, National Maori Congress Whakakotahi Taskforce Hui Report, 10 March 1990, Tongariro High School, Turangi, New Zealand, p. 17.

[24] Ibid. Te Taitokerau Report, p. 5.

[25] Winston Peters introduced a replacement policy for iwi restructuring but was forced to resign from the ruling National Party. His position of Minister of Maori Affairs was given to a Pakeha Member of Parliament and government Maori policy refocused on the settlement of Treaty claims against the Crown. It was during the early 1990s that government introduced the « Fiscal Envelope » for treaty settlements. This was a fiscal cap of $NZ1 billion, that was set aside for the settlement of all Maori claims. The policy met with widespread rejection from Maori, but was installed by the National Government in 1995 and retained by the Labour Government as the official government treaty settlement policy. A directive of the Fiscal Envelope policy was for the introduction of a negotiation process, which contained directives for the setting up of an iwi legal entity. The directives for the were the same as the iwi governance structures proposed under the Runanga Iwi bill. TRONT was the legal entity put in place by Ngai Tahu as a result of the Crown directives towards the settlement of the Ngai Tahu claim, and was based on the runanga structure that Ngai Tahu attempted to have implemented under the Runanga Iwi legislation.

[26] During the development of the TRONT structure there was widespread consultation between all members of Ngai Tahu whanui as to the purpose and shape of the new governance structure. TRONT was a structure to be put in place to meet the Crown directives for negotiation of a settlement. These directives required the claimants to have a legal entity in place before a settlement could be finalised with the Crown. The TRONT structure was instituted to fulfil the requirements for negotiation and settlement and was never intended to exercise the levels of authority, power and control that it now intends through its twenty-five year strategic plan, Vision 2025.

[27] In the 2002 Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu Annual Report, employment statistics showed that of the 193 people employed in Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and the Ngai Tahu Fisheries Company ; only 40% are Ngai Tahu.

[28] The OTRONT contains Legal and Risk Services, the Whakapapa unit, Kaupapa Taiao [Natural resources], Executive support/Corporate Services (including Communications), and Group IT Services.

[29] Sir Tipene O’Regan, 2001. The voice of the people : who owns it ? The Te Tapuae o Rehua address, at the New Zealand Historical Association Conference, University of Canterbury, 2 December 2001. Sir Tipene O’Regan, Ngai Tahu, was the chief negotiator for the Ngai Tahu claim. He was a strong supporter of the TRONT structure and was instrumental in bringing about the changes to the iwi organisational structure.

[30] An adaptation of the words from Marx used to describe the relationship between employers and their workers that consider all workers are commodities to be managed (Marx 1979 : 164-177).

[31] TRADENZ — Trade New Zealand is a government department that encourages and assists with the development of economic opportunities for New Zealand companies. It encourages exporting as part of economic growth.

[32] Part of the 1998 Treaty settlement was a First Right of Refusal clause. No privately owned land or land held within the national conservation estate can be returned to Maori groups as part of a settlement package. But Crown owned land, such as land holding schools or Police stations, could become part of settlement, when it becomes surplus to requirements. On this basis, in the South Island, any Crown land must be offered first to Ngai Tahu. If they do not want to buy the land, it is placed onto the open market on the condition that it must not be sold at a price less than that offered to Ngai Tahu.

[33] Personal conversation with Mark Solomon 24 April 2002. Mark is the Kaiwhakahaere (Chairperson) of TRONT, and is the elected representative for the Kaikoura Runanga.

[34] The name comes from the colour of the book’s cover.

[35] From the Whakapapa Unit’s strategic plan released in 1999.

[36] Taura here : Taura means a rope ; here means to be tied — refers to an umbilical cord stretching out from the home area that connects and sustains the people living outside the territory. Provides and maintains the ancestral connection through the symbolism of a rope that ties the people together.