Meeting governance obligations
Running effective hui
Trustees should hold regular hui to bring the trust together, and update owners on what's happening with the whenua. How often you hold these meetings will depend on what’s in your trust order.
Types of hui
There are two main types of hui that a trust should hold:
This is where trustees, owners and whānau come together to discuss their whenua. Owners hui can be:
- structured, like an annual general meeting (AGM), where the trustees report to owners and whānau, or
- informal, like a whānau hui.
It's important to get together to make sure everyone’s up-to-date with the happenings on the whenua, and be involved in decision making. It gives trustees the chance to report to owners on the progress of the trust, and gives owners the chance to hold the trustees accountable for their actions (or inaction).
A good owners hui:
- encourages whānau to have their say
- creates a safe environment for robust discussion, and
- ensures whānau can assert their role as kaitiaki for our whenua.
This is where trustees come together to discuss the whenua and the trust without the owners present. These hui are generally quite structured, and happen more often than owners hui.
It's critical to record detailed minutes for these hui. You’ll need them when you report back to your owners, other stakeholders, and Māori Land Court (MLC) about what the trust has been doing.
Your role as a trustee comes with additional responsibility. Making sure you’re fully up-to-date on what’s happening with your whenua and your whānau is key to ensuring you fulfil your role as trustee.
When to hold hui
Although we call them AGMs (annual general meetings), owners hui don't have to be annual.
The trust order should state how often you need to get the owners together for a hui. You can meet more often than the trust order says you should, but not less. For some trusts, you'll want to meet at least once a year. For others, every 3 years might be enough.
The hui doesn't always have to be an official, formal affair. If the whānau is all getting together for a family reunion, you could link in with this and hold the hui at the same time. As long as you meet the requirements set out in your trust order, you'll be meeting your obligations as trustees.
Where to hold hui
Consider what you're trying to achieve when you decide where to hold the hui. If you think it's important for the owners to see the whenua, hold the hui on or near the whenua. If most of the owners live in a city away from the whenua and you just need to get as many people together as possible, hold the hui nearest to where most owners are located.
Good practice for hui
For all meetings related to the trust, including board meetings and owner meetings, the trust should:
Give advance notice of any hui so people can arrange to be there. How you do this should be set out in your trust order already. For example, you could:
- place an ad in the newspaper
- email all your owners and trustees with the hui details
- create an annual hui schedule with your owners and trustees and publish it — on your Facebook page, for example.
For trustee meetings, check with other trustees before setting the meeting time to ensure maximum attendance.
Provide an agenda
Having an agenda for the meeting will help you prepare trustees or whānau for the hui as well as help you get through everything you need to discuss. The trust should provide the agenda to attendees ahead of the meeting. You can send the agenda to whānau when notifying them of the upcoming hui.
For trustee meetings, the hui should focus mainly on governance mahi and outcomes, rather than operational activities.
It's the chairperson’s responsibility to make sure everyone sticks to the agenda and the timeframe allocated for the hui.
Take an attendance register
Keep a note of who attends each meeting you hold. It’s important to record who attends if you’re making decisions about the whenua or the trust during the hui — it can show you’ve had a quorum, for example.
Take detailed minutes
The minutes are a summary of what is discussed in the meeting. They’re a record of:
- who attended the meeting
- the decisions made
- the kōrero that happened, and
- any actions completed and/or created.
The secretary (or someone else who agrees to, if there is no secretary for the trust) should take detailed notes throughout the meeting.
The meeting should begin with apologies from those who could not attend, and accept the minutes of the previous meeting. The minutes should also note any decisions or actions voted on or agreed to. It should be clear in the minutes who will carry out the actions you agree.
Detailed minutes help to meet trust reporting requirements, and make it easier for owners to see how and why decisions have been made. MLC may need to see these minutes as evidence in the future.
Send out a summary of the hui afterwards
A summary of each hui should be sent out to all owners and whānau afterwards, so that everyone can see what happened during it. You should do this for both owners hui and trustees hui. Making sure that your owners are aware of what’s being discussed during trustees hui is important. It keeps whānau up-to-date on what the trust is doing and what’s happening on the whenua between owners meetings.
Other things to consider
Here are some other things the trust should think about when holding hui.
Roles and responsibilities
Each attendee has a role to play in a hui.
- The chairperson sets the agenda, is responsible for keeping the meeting on topic and ensure everyone sticks to the agenda.
- The secretary works with trustees or owners to work out agenda items, and sends out the agenda once it's finalised. They also usually record the minutes of the meeting.
- The treasurer provides information about finances to the attendees — such as how much the trust has made over the last year, what has been spent, and what the dividends for owners will be.
- Trustees and other attendees should make sure they've read any information supplied before the meeting, and let the chairperson know in advance if there's anything they want to discuss.
If the trust doesn't have someone in these roles, make sure one of the trustees takes responsibility for each of these tasks. For example, if you don’t have a secretary on the trust, ask one of the trustees to take the minutes for the meeting.
Creating a safe environment for participation
When you first set up the trust, you should establish the trust culture — like a code of conduct to ensure everyone is treated with respect.
With agreed standards of behaviour and good communication, everyone should feel able to be actively involved in hui.
Motions and resolutions
Motions and resolutions are a way to formally agree decisions during a hui. Each needs someone to propose it, and someone else to second it.
A motion is a call to debate and vote on an issue.
A resolution is confirmation of the decision on the issue.
For example, trustees might be considering whether to spend money on improving fences on the whenua. During a hui, one trustee can make a motion to spend the money, for example by saying "I move that we spend the money to upgrade the fences". If another trustee says, "I second the motion", the issue is then open for discussion and a vote can be taken.
If most trustees are in favour, someone can propose a resolution to approve funds for the fencing, someone else can second the resolution. This will be detailed in the minutes and means that the decision is formally agreed and must be done.
Organising and paying for hui
Holding a hui can incur quite a lot of cost for a trust, like advertising, printing, venue hire and kai. They can take a bit of time organise and set up too.
If you need help with any of these things — organising or running a hui, or paying for it — there are organisations that can support you with those things. In some cases, MLC may be able to help you organise and run an owners hui. Our TPK regional advisors may also be able to recommend an organisation in your area who can help.