Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi (TRAION) is the representative body that speaks and works for Ngāpuhi to ensure the collective Ngāpuhi interests and aspirations are looked after. The 2001 census placed Ngāpuhi as the largest tribe in New Zealand with a population of 107,000+ people.
TRAION's role is to lead the cultural, social, and economic growth of Ngāpuhi in this changing world 'te ao hurihuri'. TRAION took on the legal framework of a Charitable Trust in 1989. Initially this was to meet the need of government agencies providing funding for contracted services and also to meet the requirements of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission for the purpose of releasing interim quota.
TRAION's primary role is to prudently manage the collectively owned assets, primarily the income derived from fisheries assets, on behalf of all Ngāpuhi descendants and to make benefits from the management of those assets available to all descendents of Ngāpuhi, socially, culturally, environmentally and economically.
Due to the large population and land area, TRAION has implemented Takiwa (natural geographical groupings) to assist with the management of issues relating to the population and the marae that fall into the Ngāpuhi catchment area. There are also two Taurahere (urban groupings) since 80% of the tribe live outside the traditional Ngāpuhi boundaries (40% in Auckland alone). The TRAION structure is grassroots focussed with the marae and all who whakapapa to these marae being the main drivers for the vision, and for the tribal immortality of Ngāpuhi.
This structure allows for all Ngāpuhi to speak directly through their marae and encourages engagement with their marae. This aligns directly into the operations that put the dreams and aspirations of Ngāpuhi into action.
Ngāpuhi has a successful joint venture which charters two boats off the Northland coast. The joint venture is an incorporated limited liability company named Northland Deepwater JV Ltd, which has been operating in the New Zealand deepwater fishing industry since the 1993/94 fishing year. The founders of the joint venture company are Philip Smith and Peter Dawson and the then executive of Ngāpuhi Fishing Ltd (NFL). The income stream from the venture supports TRAION's operational costs, scholarships and grants, Hapū Development and Takiwā/Taurahere administration.
The opportunity to enter into a joint venture was put to Ngāpuhi at a time when the lease market for deepwater quota was not as reliable as it has been in recent years. For example, in 1995 and 1997 the lease market for hoki was 'soft' and only recently has the lease market for squid quota become 'solid'. The opportunity to ensure that a return from the quota was secured by fishing the quota (as opposed to relying on a lease income from third parties) made economic sense.
In addition, as the largest iwi in New Zealand, Ngāpuhi, at the time, felt it was important that they commit to the fishing industry and get involved in the business. They decided to engage in the activity of fishing rather than becoming totally reliant on what has been, at times, a variable lease market.
No formal due diligence was completed on the joint venture but rather the relationship has been built on many years of trust and experience. Smith and Dawson, two of the original founders of the joint venture, had a wealth of experience behind them. They have been in the NZ fishing industry since 1985 and between them had a combined 40 years experience. Both were Charter Managers at Fletcher Fishing (which at its peak managed the largest fleet of charter vessels in the Southern hemisphere) before that company was sold. They also have extensive experience in operating chartered freezer-trawlers and squid jiggers from Japan, Russia, the Ukraine, and South Korea.
In 1991 following the sale of Fletcher Fishing, Smith and Dawson founded Panpac Seafoods Ltd with three other partners including NFL. Panpac is a fishing, processing, and exporting company that owned significant quantities of inshore quota including snapper and crayfish. It also owned and operated a processing facility in Auckland and a crayfish plant in Whangārei employing upwards of 70 staff.
When quota was allocated to iwi in the early 1990's Ngāpuhi leased its inshore quota allocation to Panpac, given that company's extensive operations in the North. At the time there was not a ready lease market for the deepwater quota.
The Joint Venture, Northland Deepwater, has operated in deepwater fishing each year since 1993/94 except 1994/95. The joint venture partners' contacts and experience in the deepwater charter fishery provided Ngāpuhi the opportunity to not only benefit from the lease income of their deepwater quota but also to become a participant in the industry with the formation of the joint venture in May 1994.
There are a number of issues particular to the shareholding in the joint venture that are dealt with in the Constitution of the Company, the Shareholders Agreement and the Management Agreement. The first agreements were put in place in 1994 and have been revised and updated as necessary. These agreements have been drafted by well major law firms with input from all shareholders.
The dealings of the joint venture company are completely and necessarily transparent to all the shareholders. Returns from the company to TRAION are compared with third party offers and quota lease valuations. The joint venture company provides audited annual accounts and a number of meetings are held throughout the year where any issues that may arise are discussed.
In each year the joint venture has operated, the company has returned to TRAION an income significantly in excess of the prevailing lease-only value of its deepwater quota allocation. In 2004 all the parties to the joint venture, including TRAION, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to reflect the parties' determination to continue the joint venture operation into the future. This provides the joint venture company, and its foreign partners, with some degree of certainty during times that are punctuated by delays and difficulties in access to the allocation of quota.
TRAION has a small annual income of $1.6 million from fisheries quota through the subsidiary company of NFL. NFL was set up by Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi to be the commercial arm of Ngāpuhi's fishing interests.
When the fisheries settlement is finalised, Ngāpuhi stands to receive about $66 million worth of assets. Of those assets only about $3 million will be in cash with the rest of the value vested in fishing quota and shares in Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd. While the traditional boundaries of Ngāpuhi are recognised, these are not the definitive boundaries of the tribe for the purposes of the fisheries allocation.
Ngāpuhi Fisheries Limited manages the inshore and deepwater quota released from Te Ohu Kai Moana and is preparing for compliance for the fisheries allocation. NFL has recently joined with other iwi in the Northland region as a consortium to pool quota for tender to the highest bidder, ensuring the best deal for all members of the consortium.
TRAION also has a low risk investment in the Lake Taupō Forestry Trust. The other subsidiary company, Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services, has the primary function of securing social service contracts for delivery in the mid-North and Auckland regions. Because of the wide population distribution of Ngāpuhi members and in an effort to keep the ahi kaa (home fires) alive, TRAION is encouraging all Ngāpuhi people to get involved with their iwi through marae, hapū, takiwā and taurahere groups and is engaging through all marae that fall within this region through information road shows.
The TRAION Board consists of nine members. When the Chairperson is selected, the deputy (known as a proxy) becomes the replacement at the Board table. Each takiwā has a nominated board representative that meets monthly with marae in their particular catchment area. They report back to the board. This process is to ensure that the power base remains at grassroots and marae level.
The first constitution was written in 1987 and over time, due to the growth of the organisation, this constitution has been amended with the most recent amendments being passed in 2003.
There are currently seven takiwā within Ngāpuhi and two taurahere. Originally there were eight takiwā but Ngāti Hine voluntarily pulled out of this process in the early 1990's. The recent enactment of the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 requires TRAION to amend the current constitution to allow for Ngāti Hine to return to the table as the 8th takiwā member.
Board membership and representation is selected through marae that fall in the constituency area of Te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi. Each marae sits on a takiwā council which democratically chooses a representative to sit at board level.
The Board membership terms are for three years. The Board has changed from a "dogmatic" approach in the late 1990's to having external governance training as part of professional development and accountability practices for democratic representation.
For the past two years the Board has had governance training provided by private contractors who specialise in such training. This has resulted in draft Board policies and procedures booklets being created, these are currently being finalised.
Amendments made to the constitution in 2003 require each Board member to have a skill set relevant to their role. Currently there is no process to deal with under performance of the Board, but as mentioned above, the policies and procedures will assist to add weight to job expectations and provide a benchmark for performance evaluation.
The Board members are realising that they do not have to 'do everything' and that their role is at a governance level. Board training has been an integral part of Board development in this regard. There is an induction process for new members and it is common for them to be active participants within their takiwā/taurahere. This active participation has given them an informal introduction and understanding to the Board's processes. It is envisaged that the Board policies and procedures booklet will assist with their induction.
Although it has been discussed, the Board has not actively developed a succession plan of any sort. Within the management structure, succession has been addressed through student internship programmes. While recruitment and enticing people to Kaikohe to work is difficult, the salary levels that are nearly at par with 'city counterparts' and lifestyle and cost of living are advantages that are promoted.
Key stakeholders include Ngāpuhi's current and future descendants and include all whānau, marae, hapū within Te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi, local and national government and the wider mid-North community including non-Ngāpuhi descendants.
The Board implements small committees as required. For each of these committees a recognised Ngāpuhi who is qualified in a relevant field is employed as a member of that committee for its duration. Board members are asked if they would like to be involved in such committees.
Monthly Board meetings provide an opportunity for operations to report to the Board through the CEO enabling up-to-date activity reporting against the annual plan. If conflicts arise between governance and management an impartial third party is used if it cannot be resolved internally.
An electronic operational policy and procedures manual is currently being developed online via intranet in order to better streamline best practice models.
TRAION has a strategic plan, which outlines the vision, mission and core principles. It also outlines four key areas of development that are required. The vision statement for Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi is: Kia tū tika ai te whare tapu o Ngāpuhi - The sacred house of Ngāpuhi1 stands firm. Currently, the staff of TRAION are conducting road shows to each takiwā and taurahere to present the strategic plan. The Chairman and the Board representative from the takiwā/taurahere also attend these hui. The purpose is to ask all Ngāpuhi beneficiaries who choose to engage with TRAION, if they consider it is the right vision for TRAION. These road shows are valuable in that they provide Ngāpuhi the opportunity to give direction to TRAION.
The mission statement is to lead the spiritual, cultural, social and economic growth of Ngāpuhi. The core principles and values include accountability, vision, ownership, respect, direction, communication, honesty, integrity and commitment.
This financial year the CEO is prioritising research and development for business ventures for TRAION and hapū to participate in at a regional level. Emphasis is also on both micro-clustering within takiwā as well as opportunities further afield to neighbouring iwi.
The four key areas identified from the strategic plan for Ngāpuhi include:
In 2003, four core management positions were created to meet the needs of the iwi members and the natural growth of the organisation. Each managerhas an annual budget to facilitate undertaking tasks outlined in their Key Result Areas.
The Hapū Development Manager's role is to assist hapū identify development needs, prepare project and sustainable management plans, apply for funding or assistance from other agencies, and fulfil reporting and accountability requirements.
The Natural Resource Manager works within hapū and takiwā to identify resource management issues, assist with developing resource management strategies, monitor resource consent applications received from Regional and District Councils, evaluate statutory plans that have an environmental focus and assist in the development of environmental policy.
The Information Systems Manager creates system management processes for operations, implements system security measures, designs and maintains the website and undertakes all other IT issues.
The Communications Manager identifies and prioritises the communication needs for Ngāpuhi. This includes ascertaining the most cost effectivestreams and strategies for collecting, collating, and recording historical and current Ngāpuhi information, including archival information for retention and distribution. The Communications Manager is also responsible for writing, publishing and distributing Ngāpuhi news and information suitable for a wide distribution through a range of mediums. This role is particularly important for encouraging registration and promoting and instilling pride in the Ngāpuhi brand.
The TRAION Board currently has no system of managing conflicts of interest although it is in the process of finalising such a policy. There are no disputes resolution processes or risk management policies in place. TRAION involves external consultants for these areas on an 'as required' basis.
Issues such as health and safety and insurance are handled by the office manager. Auditing procedures are undertaken by an external accountant. For the past five years the audits have been 'unqualified'. TRAION uses media communications for public relations for ensuring the right messages are communicated. Communications and media are valuable tools for managing perceptions and risks where the stakeholders are not well informed, especially since 80% of the Ngāpuhi population lives outside the traditional Ngāpuhi boundaries.
Beneficiaries include all Ngāpuhi regardless of being registered with TRAION or not. Their role is to drive TRAION, so engaging with them is a priority.
The organisation has grown in operational staff from 2 to 9.5 in four years. This includes the four key managers and the CEO along with support staff. The small size of the organisation places a heavy burden on all staff, but does encourage staff to pitch in and help when necessary, promoting very tight working relationships and a positive culture.
Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi is relatively new as an operational organisation. The policies and procedures are beginning to be formulated as the organisation grows. Human resource recruitment is handled by external agencies, and due to organisational growth, a policy using best practice has been initiated. The management team delivers the strategic plan through Key Result Areas. Management updates are provided to the Board through monthly reports and meetings with the CEO.
Last modified: 15/06/2011
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