Maori Representation at Council

Takahanga

Under NZ law Kaikoura District Council is required to complete a ‘Representation Review’ by August 2018. This includes looking at what Council representation will look like for the 2019 and 2022 local elections. In November 2017 Kaikoura District Council voted unanimously to create a Maori ward, a decision supported by our local runanga. Maori wards are a way of ensuring Maori views and voices are heard at Council. 

maori ward

In Kaikoura’s case, establishing a Maori ward would guarantee 1 Maori Council seat out of 8.

One of the reasons Council decided not to seek a public poll on Maori wards is because a poll would cost Council $15,000 of ratepayer money. Instead, a public notice of the decision was printed in the Kaikoura Star in late November. 

Mayor Winston Gray said “there’s no tokenism here, it’s a genuine movement to work together and build on the positive relationships forged across our community during the earthquake recovery.”

Runanga Chair Hariata Kahu said “creating a Māori Ward in Kaikōura would help ensure Māori values and perspectives are better included in the development of our town. It’s about making sure all the parts of our community have a voice.”

The Maori community is an integral part of the Kaikoura District, their assistance and support throughout the earthquake showed how valuable a partner and part of the community they are.  Having a Maori ward will help contribute to a diverse Council that can make decisions that recognise the needs of our entire community . Kaikoura District Council  are the first Council in the south island (Te Waipounamu) to decide to establish a Maori ward, something Council and the runanga are proud of.

When elected, Council members take an oath to act in the best interests of the whole community, not just the ward from which they were elected. Successful elected members manage to balance both their responsibility to raise issues affecting their wards and make decisions on behalf of the whole community and future generations.

Recently, pamphlets about Maori wards have been circulated in Kaikoura, asking people to sign a petition/poll against Maori wards. These pamphlets come from a lobby group called ‘Hobson’s Pledge’, not from anyone within the Kaikoura community or Council.  

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