Protecting the Destiny of a Society

2011 Article, updated February 2018 I have previously written of the need for members of a society to exercise vigilance if they are to protect or control the destiny of their society (see for instance, “Trouble at the Courts – anyone for tennis?”).  The ease by which the balance of democratic power can be tipped is illustrated by the facts of a 2011 High Court decision, in this case involving the formation of new branches of a “federated” society (the Māori Women’s Welfare League).  Many societies struggle to attract new members, so increasing the membership by a third would normally be a cause for rejoicing.  As illustrated by the following text from the judgment in Tamaki v The Māori Women’s Welfare League Incorporated, CIV-2011-485-001319, High Court, Wellington, 21 July 2011, Kos J, that is not necessarily so: The sudden addition of over 900 new members in one fell swoop was a singular event for the League. Its membership has lain within the range 2500 to 3000 throughout the last 10 years. … the evidence regarding the formation of the new branches gives me considerable disquiet regarding their legitimacy. I summarise my concerns as follows: (a)   All branches were formed on the same day, 4 June 2011. (b)   The inaugural meetings were held at the same location, … the Auckland headquarters of the Destiny Church. (c)   That date and location coincided with the annual conference of The Destiny Church. In other words, the meetings were held within the aegis of The Destiny Church’s annual meeting, rather than of the League. (d)   The meetings, all 10 of them, were...