Uncertain future for Mangawhai Domain
After the disruption, disagreements and allegations that occurred at the recent Mangawhai Domain AGM on June 12, the membership of the committee and administration of the Domain facilities is now facing an uncertain future.
Community talk has generally surrounded newly-elected Domain chair and vice president of Mangawhai Football Club (MFC) Matt Rowe, who has been accused of contriving a ‘planned takeover’ of the Domain Committee (DC).
The AGM, where committee members are elected, attracted a large turnout of invited members of the public, a number being MFC supporters, who are being blamed for the outing of Chair and DC members, Pip and Maun Bevan, and subsequent resignation of six long-term members.
Events following the meeting have led to a stalemate between former DC members and their newly-elected counterparts voted in at the AGM, with both parties maintaining they stand as the Domain’s committee, and comes after a month of mounting tension between the two groups.
However emails released to the Focus also show ongoing disharmony and disagreements between DC members, with differing opinions as to who should sit on the committee, what the Domain facilities should be used for, and conflict regarding the management of the three clubs who currently use the facilities. The emails also reveal a ‘secret meeting’, which excluded committee members who held dual roles as club
representatives, actually did take place despite being denied by DC members at the AGM, a disclosure of DC’s breach of the Incorporated Societies Act (ISA) and an admission of changing legal documents, the AGM minutes, by a DC official.
The three long-term clubs associated with the Domain – Mangawhai Dog Club, tennis and MFC – each have had a representative on the DC as well as committee status allowing them the right to vote at monthly DC meetings, since their affiliation with the Domain.
Prior to the AGM, the community facilities attracted a variety of other sports clubs including tag, netball and cricket, following a new initiative presented by a DC member and Rowe to the Council Town Planning Committee, for the Domain to become a prospective ‘sports hub’, although some DC members now deny any discussion regarding the ‘hub’ took place despite being documented in DC minutes.
Difficulties have risen for the DC on how they would accommodate different club requirements, with emails between members showing concern regarding the potential growth and management of the committee if all clubs representatives are able to hold dual roles as members. One member even commented that DC members appear to perceive MFC in particular as a ‘threat’ to the current Domain structure while simultaneously extending support to keep Rowe as a committee member, as he would be a ‘very diplomatic’ asset to the Domain.
Minutes from the ‘secret meeting’ held on May 12 show the majority of DC members agreed to remove club reps from the committee, guided by ISA membership number rules, hence taking away voting rights. However club reps were not informed about the decision by the DC, only finding out after one member inadvertently heard about the meeting and discussions.
MFC members attended the AGM concerned that if they did not have representation on the committee the DC would have the deciding power to renege or seriously limit their involvement in the facilities, despite the club investing hundreds of hours fundraising for Domain improvements.
The AGM minutes were modified to show Dog Club representative Carol Taylor and Matt Rowe as only ‘club representatives’ at the time of the meeting, therefore making their vote inadmissible. However the Focus has received two different copies of the
minutes, with the initial copy sent to DC members on June 13, one day after the AGM, listing Taylor and Rowe as ‘current committee members’, with Rowe also being mentioned as a member of the DC for nearly one year, making their vote legitimate. The minutes were signed off by two DC members as a ‘true and accurate record’ of the meetings discussions. The second altered copy was sent to DC members on July 3.
After the AGM, the former DC sought legal advice and were told they were in breach of Section 22 of the ISA, ‘the requirement to have a register of members’. The breach they say, effectively makes votes taken from ‘the floor’ at the AGM null and void as only registered members are permitted to vote at the annual meeting. Members who were either not voted back in or chose to resign after the AGM have reneged on their agreement with newly-elected members to hand over Domain details including keys, passwords and finances and have subsequently reinstated themselves as the Domain Committee.
However the question remains, since DC members were aware of the breach which has been in effect possibly up to ten years, does this not also make all previous AGM elections null and void?
And if so, who then is entitled to sit on the committee of the community’s Domain?
TROUBLE: Clouds have gathered over the Domain since the recent AGM, leaving it’s future unclear.