Appointment of trustees – voting procedure and participation levels

Rihia v Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Hikairo

Māori Land Court (2012) 287 Aotea MB 44 (287 AOT 44)

19 July 2012

The Court appointed seven replacement trustees to the Lake Rotoaira Trust after an election process. The Court was satisfied the nominated trustees had the appropriate levels of ability, experience and knowledge and were broadly acceptable to the beneficiaries.  Two objections to the process used to run the election were not upheld.  The grounds of objection included that a meeting of owners should have been held and that there should be hapū representatives.  The Court ruled the ahu whenua trust order did not require hapū representatives and that a postal ballot was permitted. The Court made observations about options available to the owners to reinstitute election of hapū representatives and directed a meeting of owners occur within 4 months.

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