Staff get their Rokx off at the Maori Language Commission

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is keeping shtum about strange goings-on at the Maori Language Commission, on the not unreasonable grounds he does not comment on employment matters.

Let’s hope this does not mean he is indifferent to those strange goings-on, because it looks suspiciously as if we should be taking a closer look at the board.

A word with the commission chairman, a bloke called Erima Henare, certainly seems to be in order.

Alf gives this advice to Sharples on learning today that –

Maori Language Commission chief executive Huhana Rokx has resigned after an investigation over concerns about her management style.

The Dominion Post reported in November that a dispute between Ms Rokx and her staff prompted the board to order an investigation.

The independent inquiry, conducted by Sir Wira Gardiner, began after some staff wrote to the board expressing concerns about her management style.

After the investigation, Ms Rokx and the board entered mediation, which was completed last week.

Staff complaining about the boss’s management style? Mediation? What the hell is that all about?

You appoint a boss to run the bloody place, and then – if you have made the right appointment – you give the boss your backing when the staff become mutinous.

Or are we to let player power creep into the running of state agencies as is happening in the topsy-turvy world of New Zealand cricket?

It’s hard to see how much backing Rokx was given.

Erima Henare said yesterday she had informed the board that it was “timely for her to stand aside to make way for a fresh approach”.

“This was an honourable response to difficult circumstances faced by the [chief executive], the staff and the board,” Mr Henare said.

If Ms Rokx was not up to scratch, of course, she should have been fired. But it has taken almost two years to ascertain she was not up to scratch, and – more critically – it’s hard to find what she has done wrong from Alf’s newspaper reading.

Papers obtained by The Dominion Post said staff members fluent in Maori used this ability to “show superiority” over their colleagues. There were at least two meetings between management and staff aimed at resolving the problems.

Bloody hell! We should not be surprised to learn that staff who are not fluent in Maori might feel inferior to staff who are fluent, when they are employed by a commission charged with promoting the Maori language.

The fluent buggers should have the top jobs, the rest should be mere minions.

Why on earth did those who felt inferior hang around, if they were bothered by their lack of superiority? More important, why were they hired?

One employee noted that, after one of these meetings, staff did not feel trusted and found their work environment suffocating.

Let ’em suffocate, Alf says.

But here’s the thing: should Ms Rokx have been given the boss’s job, and who gave it to her?

Mr Henare appointed Ms Rokx to the chief executive’s job from a field of 14 candidates in February 2007. She will finish in the role this Friday.

Before her appointment, Ms Rokx, who is paid between $130,000 and $160,000 a year, was a kohanga reo teacher and Maori publishing manager at Learning Media Ltd.

Hmm. She lasted almost two years before the shit hit the fan.

This Henare bloke and his board have some explaining to do.

One Response to Staff get their Rokx off at the Maori Language Commission

  1. pmofnz says:

    I wonder if supporting employment documentation was not up to scratch in a similar fashion to that of the one recently departed under a cloud from Immigration?

    A good reason one might keep well schtum.

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