By now it’s probably widely known that the chairmanship of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc (NKII) has passed by recent election from Ngahiwi Tomoana to Bayden Barber, perhaps best known as an elected Hastings Councillor.
Barber has indicated he will not stand again for HDC in order to devote his attention to NKII, which, it appears, sorely needs fresh attention.
Until recently, NKII has been the dominant substantive voice in the region on environmental issues. Lately, the HBRC’s Regional Planning Committee, consisting of the elected councillors and an equal number of Treaty Settlement Group representatives, has taken a pivotal role, given this body effectively has voting control over resource management matters. The sorting out of roles, expertise and policy battles, already a movable feast, will now need to have Barber’s attention.
Equally in need of urgent attention is NKII’s business situation. Recent headlines noted the financial duress of the flagship Takitimu Seafoods, which appears to be a sinking ship.
In fact, the business dealings of the iwi are in the hands of the Kahungunu Asset Holding Company, which has separate governce to NKII. The Holding Company pays the annual dividend that supports the work we publicly see – seafood sales or advocacy – undertaken by NKII.
The Holding Company has five directors (none of them Barber), including one current vacancy.
But in an announcement made Friday (June 17), it was announced that the Holding Company is now seeking five new directors. It would appear a rather thorough-going housecleaning is underway.
The latest Annual Report (through June 2021) of the Holding Company doesn’t paint a pretty picture, with Takitimi Seafoods losing $6,178,505 in that fiscal year (and more since).
And as noted, the Holding Company is the funder of NKII, in the last reported year paying a dividend of $2,721,375 to NKII.
NKII Chairman Bayden Barber will no doubt be paying close attention to his organisation’s bank account and to the selection of new Holding Company directors.
[Note: The editor presently has interest in a business partnership partially owned by Kahungunu Asset Holding Company.]