At the request of the Minister for Maori Development, Michael conducted an independent investigation into the governance of the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board under section 33 of the Māori Trust Boards Act 1955 in 2018.
The Board’s purpose is to administer the assets of Te Whakatōhea in accordance with the Act and for the benefit of members. Michael was asked to complete the review after the Minister received a number of complaints about the Board elections and a factional divide relating to the iwi’s anticipated Crown settlement.
Michael concluded that although the elections were not free from mistake, they were carried out in accordance with the Act and any mistakes did not materially affect their outcome. Further, the Board was not always governed in accordance with best practice, so there was room to improve both governance processes and decision-making practice.
Michael’s report aimed to help the Board regain its cohesion and strength for the future. The Minister accepted all of Michael’s recommendations and directed the Board to implement them.