Māori Women’s Welfare League head to High Court

Māori Women’s Welfare League head to High Court


The Maori Women’s Welfare League
was in the High Court today. The case has been brought
by a number of disaffected members unhappy about the league’s
election processes. Reporter Irena Smith
was at the court today, Irena tell us why this issue
has come to be decided by the High Court? There weren’t any spare seats
at the High Court today as it was packed with members
of this iconic organisation. The issue came out last year at
the election of the MWWL President. Pauline Rewiti claims members
were not informed that a clause stipulating
a president can only serve one three-year term
had been removed. It’s a fight for the tikanga
of the constitution that the Maori Women’s
Welfare League is founded on, says the plaintiff. According to Ripeka Evens, one of the persons
who is supporting the plaintiff whose name is Pauline Rewiti, she says although the changes
to the constitution were amended in 2013
the clause changing the term of the president
was not made known in an open and transparent way. Prue Kapua was supported
by the membership to be president in 2014 last year
she was nominated and given majority support
to stay in the role for another term. The plaintiffs maintain
that this is not a personal fight but one about the integrity
of the process and trust of the members in that process. However, Kapua says she feels
that much of the issue being heard in court
is personally against her. However, she does not believe
this case will tarnish the mana of the long-standing kaupapa. The decision and final outcome
of course is one that the judge will make in the coming weeks. Reps from every branch of the MWWL
were at the High Court today, an indicator of how strongly
they all feel about this issue. Whatever the judge’s decision, it will be an issue discussed
the league’s 66th AGM in Gisborne in September. Irena Smith, thank you.

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