Ngati Manuhiri trust responds to criticism over land sale

Watch the video for the full report from The Hui.

The chairman of the Ngati Manuhiri settlement Trust, John Paki, and CEO Terrence 'Mook' Hohneck have addressed concerns raise by iwi members involving a multimillion-dollar land deal, the tribal register and recent elections held by the trust board. 

In 2012 the iwi settled its Treaty claims, receiving a commercial and financial package worth $9 million. It was able to purchase the Mangawhai South Forest as part of the redress.

Just a year later 450 hectares of lands were sold and transferred for an exclusive housing development and golf course.

"The Settlement Trust has shut the doors and windows on us," says iwi descendant and former marae trustee Roi McCabe.

Mr McCabe says he was shocked to learn the trust had sold the land to a housing developer and transferred 175 hectares to the Auckland Council in exchange for the right to develop the land.

According the the tribe's trust deed a major transaction requires 75 percent support of adult tribal members. A major transaction is anything involving 50 percent or more of the tribe's settlement asset. But Mr Paki is adamant they were under no obligation to seek the support of the iwi to sell the land.

"The valuers and legal advisers and financial advisers agree that it does not trigger that threshold."

He also denies 119 tribal members were registered to just four Rotorua addresses. 

"I can assure you the current database used for the current election do not correlate with those numbers."

The trust had to hold another election earlier this year after an investigating officer found trustees had failed to manage a perceived conflict of interest involving Mr Hohneck, who stood as a trustee while still CEO and a member of the trust's validation committee.

The Hui