21 Jul 2011

Tamaki wins case against Maori women's league

6:53 pm on 21 July 2011

Destiny Church co-founder Hannah Tamaki has won her case against the Maori Women's Welfare League.

The High Court ruled on Thursday she can now stand for the organisation's presidency.

Mrs Tamaki's nomination to become president of the league was confirmed in May, but her name was left off the ballot papers.

Mrs Tamaki, who is the wife of Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki, took legal action, asking the High Court to force the league to restart its election process.

The court agreed, saying the league acted unlawfully leaving Mrs Tamaki's name off the ballot papers, and in not sending ballots to three Destiny-linked league branches.

But it said that was not the case for 10 other newer, Destiny-linked branches, representing a total of 100 votes and which will not be able to vote in the election.

The ballot papers without Ms Tamaki's name will be returned, and new papers with her name on them issued.

Debate over new branches

On Wednesday Justice Kos questioned the way the 10 Destiny-affiliated branches were established, with identical meeting times, identical minutes and members drawn from all over the country.

The league's lawyer Alan Knowsley said in order to participate in voting, those branches had to be financial members of the league at the end of June, but they weren't.

Mr Knowsley also said in order to protect its mana and integrity, the organisation had to have the power to suspend those branches and their ability to vote, pending the outcome of an investigation into their establishment.

Mrs Tamaki's lawyer Hayden Wilson told the court the branches affiliated with the Destiny Church were founded in accordance with the league's constitution.

A veteran member of the league told Radio New Zealand the tension arose because the league's constitution is specific about being non-sectarian, whereas the Destiny Church puts religious beliefs first.

Tamaki 'excited' about decision

After the ruling, Mrs Tamaki said tomorrow was a new day and she was looking forward to continuing campaigning.

Ms Tamaki told Checkpoint she believes the kaupapa of the league can work side by side, despite the differences.