Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga is a Charitable Trust, which was incorporated in 1988. As it is a Charitable Trust, the Trust is governed by the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.
Te Taiwhenua emerged from numerous hui held throughout the mid-eighties, after the Hui Taumata in 1984. In 1988 Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi was urged by the Department of Māori Affairs to form itself and Taiwhenua structures into legal entities. Tautoko Wahine, which had been incorporated as a Charitable Trust in 1985, offered its constitution to Te Taiwhenau o Heretaunga, which was adopted in 1988.
The beneficiary roll is not reflective of who the Trust represents. While the roll has approximately 4500 beneficiaries, the Trust considers its shareholders as all Māori residing within the boundaries (Heretaunga) prescribed in their constitution, which is approximately 16,000.
The Trust Board (Te Haro) consists of 15 democratically elected representatives of 17 marae, including one urban marae. The core business of Te Taiwhenua is Treaty based services. Treaty based services means giving application to the Treaty of Waitangi from a Māori perspective. The Trust offers various health and education services as well as social services. It also provides services on mana whenua concerns, for example resource management issues and Treaty of Waitangi claims and partnerships.
The Trust's total landholding is 3.5 ha. This includes the property the Trust is located on and property it bought in a residential area to be used for a housing project. The Trust's total assets amount to $4.3 million. The Trust employs 62 full-time employees.
The structure of Te Taiwhenua is likened to te arero, the head of the taiaha. (see structure below). This depicts an organisational structure that is led by the community as it drives forward.
The base of te arero is the seven rūnanga and the tip of te arero consists of ngā tāngata Māori ki Heretaunga (Māori community of Heretaunga). Also of significance is that the Trust has two senior managers. One is the chief executive and the other is the general manager. They both report to the Trust Board. The general manager manages 95% of the Trust's activities and the chief executive manages the rangatiratanga division.2
The Trust has a limited liability company established for commercial holding purposes. The Trust is looking at using this company for future joint ventures.
The Trust developed its first strategy plan in 2001. This involved a facilitated one day workshop with trustees, the chief executive and general manager. The strategic plan is reviewed annually in February or March at management and Board level. The Trust's financial year runs from July to June.
The annual business planning process is approved at two levels. The Trust Board approves the strategic plan and the high level management plans. The annual planning process is undertaken around April/May. Every year in July the Trust Board and all staff have a noho marae where all annual plans are presented. These annual plans have a strategic direction component and tend to be more detailed.
The annual planning and reporting cycle is described in the diagram below.
All investment decisions are approved by the Board. The Trust recognises that it needs an actual written policy on investments and the general manager has been given approval to contract someone to put together an investment policy. The Trust would also like to formalise a due diligence policy. The practice it follows is that all investment decisions go before the Board for approval before a full due diligence process is undertaken.
Due to the nature of the services provided by Te Taiwhenua and the fact that many are government funded, the Trust has extensive risk management policies in place. The Trust uses consultants in quality management systems who advise on best practice issues.
The Trust has had intensive audits undertaken and provisions for addressing the findings are made in the annual business plans. The Trust has also received funding to develop a service manual for accreditation which is a requirement for delivering those services. The Trust has extensive insurance cover and full indemnity insurance.
The Trust has a policy that no one at governance level can be an employee. The Trust is also looking at formulating a policy on delegations of authority and reviewing the terms of reference for committees to better reflect the role and distinction between management and governance.
The Trust maintains planning, contract monitoring and reporting systems that are continually being refined. Best practice is also maintained by performing and working to the sector best practice standards in service delivery (eg NZQA accreditation, Mental Health Standards).
The Trust sends out approximately 3000 annual reports to households. The Trust also sends out newsletters regularly and advertises its meetings. The Rūnanga committees ensure that the Trust is accountable to its community. The purpose of the Rūnanga is to provide stakeholder input into the direction of specific sectors serviced by the organisation. The Rūnanga in essence are delegated subcommittees to Te Haro – the Trust Board. All Rūnanga meetings are documented.
The Trust undertakes the standard reporting mechanisms to measure economic performance. Due to the nature of the Trust's business there are various activities that they can report against for social and cultural performance. They are:
The Trust Board is aiming to develop and implement a formal Board performance review this year.
The Trust engages with its stakeholders on a daily basis in an open and transparent way at gatherings and hui. The general manager and chief executive engage with stakeholders on issues that they are responsible for in their respective roles.
The trustees are democratically elected. A trustee's term is three years. Rotational elections are held each year, with four positions per year coming up for election.
At Rūnanga level representatives are members of Te Haro or community representatives who are identified to have the skills and experience required at this level.
The Trust recognises the difference between management and governance. This is illustrated through its policy on governors not being employees of the Trust.
As stated above the Trust has a chief executive and general manager. The chief executive's role is to:
The general manager's role is to manage the service arm of the organisation. The general manager does the following:
Both managers have employment contracts and job descriptions. The employment contract is based on key performance indicators. The Trust has a human resource policy which was developed with the assistance of a human resource consultant, to accord with employment law. The Trust's employment policy is to employ the best person for the job.
All delegations of authority are 'charged' to the chief executive and general manager with delegations to divisional managers. A policy on delegation of authority has yet to be developed. A subcommittee of the Trust called Te Kāhu (including the chairperson and deputy chairperson) has a closer functional role with the chief executive and general manager. They meet two weeks after a Board meeting to review minutes and follow up on actions. The chairperson is also very accessible to both managers.
The general manager reports to the Board formally and accepts the decision made by the governors. The trustees know not to interfere with management issues. If a trustee has an issue they refer it to either the chief executive or general manager first.
Management performance is reviewed annually. Te Kāhu has a performance review process which caters for the executive through to operational staff.
The Trust is in the process of reviewing its operational policies. These operational policies are audited annually by organisations such as New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Child, Youth & Family Services, and the District Health Board.
The general manager (a former trustee) regards the number of trustees as too many. It is difficult for 15 trustees to participate fully or give productive input. However, in saying that, having 15 trustees provides widespread representation from the various hapū and communities which strengthens the Board.
The Trust has a governance training budget. The trustees have attended various courses and conferences. The chairperson has attended the Institute of Directors course.
Footnote 2 The Rangatiratanga division focuses on mana whenua issues, working directly with ngā marae and hapū o Heretaunga. This role principally focuses on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and resource management issues.
Last modified: 15/06/2011
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