Dissatisfied members take MWWL in High Court
The Māori Women's Welfare League was brought to the High Court yesterday by a case presented by a number of disaffected members who are unhappy about the league's election processes.
Ripeka Evans, supporter of the plaintiff, says the case is a fight for the tikanga of the constitution that the Māori Women's Welfare League is founded on.
"It's important because a clause was taken out of the constitution and the membership never knew about it. It's a clause about the term of office of the president."
According to Evans, although the changes to the constitution were amended in 2013, the clause changing the term of the president was not made known in an open and transparent way.
"If the constitution says its fine but the clause is taken out of the constitution without notice to people that's an issue. The trust and integrity of the process and the trust have been breached."
Prue Kapua was supported by the membership to be president in 2014.
She was nominated and given majority support to stay in the role for another term and says she feels confident that they can sort these issues out.
"I was elected by the national council and by the branches so I feel confident that I've got that support and that support remains. This is a challenge as an organisation that we just have to deal with and move on."
The plaintiffs maintain that this is not a personal fight but one about the integrity of the process and trust of the members in that process.
However, Kapua says she feels otherwise.
"Much of the submissions and evidence today are directed personally but at the end of the day it's about the league and it's about maintaining our mana and our integrity."
However, she also says she does not believe this case will tarnish the mana of the long-standing organisation.
"This has distracted us for a long period of time unnecessarily. But once this is over we can get back to being fully into those issues that are important to us and to our whānau."
A decision by the high court will be made in the upcoming weeks.