Board supports Māori seats

Publish Date : 11 Oct 2023

Dedicated Māori seats on Auckland Council have been unanimously backed by Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board.

Acting Board chair Harry Fatu Toleafoa says the board’s feedback on the proposal to have the seats was based on past engagement with the community and mana whenua on issues relating to delivering on Māori outcomes, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations.

“We did not have the benefit of the results of the public consultation before we formalised our response, but we believe Auckland should take a strong stand on this issue as the city with the largest Māori population in Aotearoa.

“Our request has been that mana whenua views be given significant weighting as treaty partners.

“That reflects very strong mana whenua view support that they be accorded special status on governance entities as they have a special and enduring relationship to the rohe but are numerically smaller within the wider Māori and non-Māori populations.”

However, the board noted that neither the Parliamentary nor Royal Commission model would guarantee mana whenua as the main Māori voice on the Governing Body.

“The Parliamentary model doesn’t guarantee any mana whenua representation, and the Royal Commission model sets only one seat for all Tamaki Makaurau mana whenua,” Toleafoa says.

The board supported the Commission’s three seat model but called for it to be made up of two mana whenua appointed seats and one for mataawaka - those without iwi ties but still resident in the city - elected at large by Māori roll voters.

Toleafoa says that would require a law change that might delay seats until 2025, but members agreed with local mana whenua that the issue was too important to get wrong. “The right approach shouldn’t be sacrificed for expedience.”

Members reiterated previous advocacy for Māori - especially mana whenua - representation on boards and asked the Governing Body to urgently seek the necessary law change to enable that.

“We’re concerned future governments might not prioritise legislation to provide better Māori local government representation and we’ve asked the Governing Body to advocate for the protection of such measures.”

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