Kāpiti Coast District Council is seeking the community’s views on whether to establish a Māori ward. A Māori ward councillor would represent citizens on the Maori roll. Feedback closes at 5pm Friday 13 October. See: https://haveyoursay.kapiticoast.govt.nz/MaoriWard
However, Kāpiti Council already has dedicated Māori representation
The Kāpiti Coast District Council has a long history of dedicated Māori representation and input into matters of local governance, having signed a Memorandum of Partnership in 1994 with the three Kāpiti Coast District local iwi - Ngāti Toa Rangātira, Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust. This iwi consultation group, ‘Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti’, guides the Council relationship with iwi. Although Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti was primarily established to involve iwi in issues to do with resource management, in more recent years this involvement has expanded to ensure that the Māori world view is better represented and understood in the broader community. Representatives of the group are involved in matters of social, environmental, economic, and cultural significance to tangata whenua.
To further ensure Māori participation in council decision-making, mana whenua are appointed to committees and sub-committees with voting rights, as well as non-voting participants at the full Council. One representative from each of the three iwi mana whenua partners are appointed to the Council’s Strategy, Operations and Finance Committee, the Social Sustainability Subcommittee, and the Climate and Environment Subcommittee. The Risk and Assurance Committee has on appointed mana whenua member. These appointees have full voting rights.
The appointed mana whenua representatives are also invited to attend Council meetings, including public excluded sessions, but do not have voting rights on the council’s governing body.
Furthermore, the Council has an in-house ‘Iwi Partnerships Team’ to progress a policy to embed Te Ao Māori and the interests of local iwi in everyday governance and operational decision-making and activity. The manager has a direct line of access to the Mayor and Chief Executive. He is supported by two staff who have Māori backgrounds and are fluent in te reo. A key future focus for this team is to build better understandings, both on the Council side and among iwi, to improve their partnerships and work together. The focus is also on being ‘progressive’ in approach and ensuring that the team proactively contributes Māori perspectives to the wider work of the Council.
Coming to a town near you!
Although this report mainly concerns our Kāpiti Coast based supporters, it is something others need to pay attention to because the decisions currently being made by Kāpiti Coast (and Auckland) Councils will be replicated by other local authorities – those that do not already have designated Māori seats. If district councillors want to have Māori wards at the next local elections, they must make a resolution by November 23 this year.