In a judgment issued on Friday, 4 August 2017, the High Court has declared Sir Edward Taihākurei Durie as the sole chair of the New Zealand Māori Council.
Sir Edward was previously the co-chair together with Maanu Paul. However, the Māori Council decided to appoint Sir Edward as its sole chair on 16 April 2016. Since that time, Mr Paul has been contesting that decision and holding himself out as still being the co-chair of the Māori Council.
Late last year, Mr Paul filed a judicial review with the High Court seeking a declaration that the decision that ended his position was unlawful. He discontinued that application in May. Despite giving up that challenge, he has continued to hold himself out as co-chair including in evidence before the Waitangi Tribunal, in claiming to be able negotiate with other parties on behalf of the Māori Council, and in claiming to file new proceedings in the Māori Council’s name.
“I’m relieved to obtain this formal declaration from the High Court” said Sir Edward. “I hope that this is finally the end of this long running saga. Mr Paul’s antics have cause a lot of damage to the New Zealand Māori Council. Now that we have the position formally confirmed by the Court, the Council can get back to concentrating on the important work it does advocating for the benefit of all Māori.”