Bush reserve has new team at the helm
Maungatautari move upsets some
The independent chairman of Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust Doug Arcus has resigned from the board and two new cochairmen have been appointed.
Mr Arcus stepped down on December 24 after his temporary stint, where he implemented a new governance structure, finished.
Under the new set-up co-chairs iwi representatives Karaitiana Tamatea and Tony Wilding have been appointed to an executive six-member trust board.
The Guardians of Maungatautari group made up of five iwi representatives, five community representatives and five landowners will meet the trust every three months.
The trust oversees the 3400ha bush reserve near Cambridge. The reserve, which is surrounded by a 47-kilometre pest-proof fence, is home to a variety of native birds including 37 kiwi.
The new structure has angered philanthropist and trust donor Gareth Morgan and some landowners whose properties back on to the mountain.
They feel they are being pushed out of the project and object to the involvement of local iwi Ngati Koroki Kahukura.
The landowners have fought back by blocking access to the fence from their properties.
Project founder and trustee David Wallace also resigned at the end of last year as a result of the new set-up.
The new interim executive board and guardians board is subject to change following a new constitutional framework being adopted.
An election for the positions is expected to be held in the middle of this year.
Mr Arcus was appointed the independent chairman at the trust’s annual meeting in June 2010 to replace Mr Wallace.
Mr Arcus said the plan had been for him to step down in September but he agreed to stay on for another three months.
‘‘ The new structure was proposed through a working group. I simply chaired the meetings – that was my job.’’ In a letter to trust supporters last month he said his resignation had nothing to do with a ‘‘personal attack’’ on him over his leadership.
Co-chairman Mr Wilding said the majority of landowners and volunteers supported the new structure.
‘‘Doug was only implementing what the majority of the trust wanted.’’
The new structure had enabled the trust to move on with its plans, he said.