Guru Opens New Page in Kapiti
By Alan Tristram May 5, 2010
K Gurunathan — Guru to most on the Coast — is once again a leading force among local reporters on the Kapiti Coast.
Just a year after being dumped by the Observer over a controversial story, Guru is writing for the rival local paper, the Kapiti News.
He’s also writing stories for the Beach FM radio newsroom, and has been doing contract work for the Nature Coast.
All of which is good news to his many thousands of fans, who appreciate his ability to investigate and write penetrating stories about contentious issues.
By doing so, he has made enemies among the wealthy, and powerful, but has made many friends in the community.
Campaign for open government in iwi
In a special interview for KIN, Guru told me his biggest crusade is at present for open government and accountability among local iwi.
For some time before he was dismissed from the Kapiti Observer, Guru had been investigating problems at the Waikanae-based Ati Awa Ki Whakarongotai rununga.
He knew there had been financial irregularities — but his investigation of three Whakarongotai members’ links with the Paraparaumu Airport developers was the touchstone for his sacking.
Among other things, Guru revealed a secret agreement between some iwi members and the airport developers.
Following this, the chair of the Kaumatua council of Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Paul Ropata, spoke of arrogance, contempt treachery and ‘possible corruption’ by those linked with the airport development (see Observer 21/4/09).
However, Guru had made a professional error in the story by saying he’d approached two of three Maori at the centre of the controversy; when in fact he hadn’t.
Shortly afterwards, Guru was sacked. But the unfairness of this draconian action by the Observer ignited a huge groundswell of public condemnation.
Allegations of financial irregularities
Now, it seems the past has come back to haunt the members of Whakarongotai involved in the action against Guru.
In the past month, the Capital and Coast District Health Board has suspended iwi contracts to run the rununga’s health provider, Hora Te Pai — and has demanded the return of nearly $600,000 of public money.
A police report speaks of money ‘siphoned off” by the rununga, and used to prop up failed businesses, among other irregularities.
Guru must be feeling vindicated — and the Observer ashamed — that the latest developments point to rotten apples in the barrel.
And the rotten apple or apples could be connected with both the airport story and the health board contracts.
As Guru puts it:”One of the things that has happened one year on (since his sacking) is that the very people who caused me this problem have now been shown up!”
(to be continued)