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Ed Sheeran

Rangatira descendants get places on Waitangi board

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The Maori Affairs select committee has recommended a change to the Waitangi National Trust to allow representatives of four key Maori families to sit on the board.

It agreed with a submission from Arapeta Hamilton that it was unfair the four families had just one representative, while three Pakeha families whose ancestors were part of treaty history have a member each.

As a consequence, the amendment bill allows requires representation from the families of Hone Heke, Maihi Kawiti, Tamati Waka Nene, and Pomare.

Board members will be limited to three three-year terms.

Membership of the trust, which oversees the Treaty Grounds and endowment lands in the Bay of Islands, is under review because of concern its entreprenurial activities could affect the reputation of the governor general, who is an ex-officio member.

In future the governor general can choose to be the trust's honorary patron, and two members of parliament will be appointed to the board, one by the prime minister and the other by the leader of the Opposition.

The PM and Minister of Maori Development come off the board but along with the minister for culture and heritage will go on to a Crown representative group that will provide the link between the government and the board.

The bill also gives the board powers to borrow money, manage forestry and set up commercial subsidiaries.

Copyright © 2015, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com

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