Bush re­serve has new team at the helm

Maun­gatau­tari move up­sets some

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.

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