HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 595: 21 December2011

Application for injunction against Captain Tama declined
An injunction to stop the use of Koromiri Motu by Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruises was rejected in court on Monday. Elizabeth and Rakei Tamati filed the application to represent the interests of landowners of the sections in question, Koromiri Island 3J and 3K, Ngatangiia.
Mark Short appeared in court to represent Tamaiva Tuavera, proprietor of Captain Tama’s Lagoon cruises, as his advisor. However Short’s application to represent Tuavera was declined. Chief JP John Kenning, who presided over the case, commented that Tuavera’s lack of representation made proceeding with the hearing “somewhat difficult”.
Kenning commented that his understanding was that one of the reasons for the application seeking an injunction was to try and resolve a position between the parties rather than polarise the parties. Noeline Brown, who spoke on behalf of her mother Rakei Tamati as Tamati’s power of attorney, responded, “That was the original intent, but you’ll recall in our first hearing on the 16th of November we put it on notice to the court - and therefore to Tama - that if Tama does not come to us and talk to us and negotiate, next time we come to court... the family will be seeking an injunction.” Tuavera eventually made an appearance in court after a short adjournment. He was informed that an interim injunction was “on the verge of” being granted on the basis of his lack of appearance and that the represented family had obtained the majority of landowners’ signatures. Tuavera was then invited to respond.
Tuavera notified the court that an application had been filed to determine the relative interests of the Koromiri sections. Tuavera’s claim was that he had support of some of the landowners who he claimed have “majority interests and shares” of the land in question, including the Pittman family and Mann Short, spokesperson for the Akaiti and Te Putiki lines. He requested that the shares of the land belonging to those landowners supporting him should be determined before the case for the injunction could proceed. He also stated that many of the signatories supporting the injunction had advised him they were rescinding their signatures for various reasons. He was not required to produce evidence supporting this claim. Tupe Short stood as a witness for Tuavera withdrawing support of the Akaiti line, which represented 20 members. Short also was not required to produce evidence of the rescinding of signatures. Interestingly, Short’s sister stood up immediately following his statement, to express her support of the injunction on behalf of herself and one other brother in the Akaiti line, despite Short’s initial claim to represent all 20 members of the line.
Tuavera commented that Rakei and Elizabeth Tamati would not suffer irreparable damage, should the injunction not be granted. He said in his statement, “Captain Tama’s [Lagoon Cruise] employs over 18 young people of Muri and they have young families. Captain Tama’s has advanced bookings from hotels, accommodations [and] operators that rely on Captain Tama’s to provide a service for their guests. There are contractual obligations that have been entered into... If it would please the court we would formalise an already existing agreement in law by drafting a license with the landowners that support Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruises - after the application to determine relative interests is done.”
Browne responded on behalf of the applicants, “We are shocked about Tama. We did realise that he has all these businesses [and] we do realise that he has all these workers, which is why we are absolutely astounded that he has not picked up the phone once to talk to us. Anything that we’ve ever done - apart from the very first phone call he made to me at the end of July - we have had to contact him. Then he sent me a text saying that he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore... If they don’t want to talk to us how on earth can we negotiate? We feel for the workers... but surely he should have known that beforehand?”
Kenning declined the application for an interim injunction stating that the evidence submitted by Tupe Short withdrawing 18 votes removed the majority initially claimed to be held by the Tamati sisters in support of their application. He also stated that an injunction would “change the nature of what is happening at Muri lagoon today” referring to the effect it would have on tourism in Muri. He also referred to the “financial hardship” Tuavera would suffer because he has “become accustomed to” the current financial position he enjoys as a result of his cruises, which run six days per week at a cost of $70 per head.
Kenning said, “It is not clear cut. I am not aware of either side having a majority. The fact that one side doesn’t have a majority doesn’t mean that the other side does. I am aware that there has been a long standing arrangement between one of the landowners - or more than one of the landowners - for Tama to use that land, [and] that longstanding arrangement ended when the application for an interim injunction was filed. It would appear Mr Tuavera has to do something positive in order to solve this situation.” Kenning added that Tuavera held a responsibility “to come to some arrangement with all the landowners, upon continued use.”
The case has been adjourned until the application to determine relative interests has been heard. -Ngariki Ngatae

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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