Tukoroirangi Morgan is insisting he's still the head of Waikato-Tainui's executive, Te Arataura - and is planning to call a meeting of the executive this week.
However the tribal Parliament, Te Kauhanganui - which oversees the committee - is adamant Mr Morgan is no longer part of the executive.
It says he failed to gain enough votes in recent unfinished tribal elections.
Tukoroirangi Morgan says the tribe's rules state the executive board stays in place until the elections are completed.
Mr Morgan plans to continue doing the job of chairperson of the executive, which oversees the tribe's commercial arm, the Waikato River Authority, and its education divisions.
He says he's leading the board and he's still the chair of Te Arataura until 25 March, when the election process will be complete.
This will be a test of Tuku’s personal authority. If he calls a meeting and no one shows, that is a defeat. If Tainui staffers refuse to follow Tuku’s orders, that is a defeat. Personally, I doubt Tuku has the mana to neither retain the loyalty of Tainui staffers nor win the loyalty of the new board.
Tom Roa, apparently, has been elected interim Chairperson. Roa is the former Chairman of Te Kauhanganui (TK).
TK, and by extension the people of Tainui, have dealt Tuku a death blow. He failed to win the required 33 votes. However, one position remains. In the final run off between Tuku and Huhana Marshall both candidates received 30 votes each. This result repeated itself in successive voting rounds so TK decided to leave the position unfilled. The position is set to be voted on at the end of March. With that in mind, there remains a chance, albeit a slim one, that TK will lose its mind and vote Tuku back in.
For the record, Tuku does not have the option of lobbying the King for a position on Te Arataura (TA). The King has selected Greg Miller to as the Kahui Ariki appointee (the King’s representative on TA). Assuming Tuku is not returned, he leaves behind a legacy of toxic tribal relations, overspending, obstruction and general unpleasantness. However, under Tuku Morgan Tainui surpassed Ngai Tahu as the richest iwi. Tuku also managed to facilitate the Waikato River co-management deal. Yet despite these achievements, Tainui would probably be better off if Tuku never entered the picture.
Interestingly, Tania Martin, Tuku’s principal opponent, was re-elected Chair of TK. Good on her.
The next meeting of TK will be on March 25 and the 11th member of TA will be elected. Tuku’s a wily character, so don’t be surprised if he wriggles he way back in, but for the good of Tainui I’m hoping he doesn’t.