Wellington Scoop

Wellington City Council adds two mana whenua members to all its committees

mana whenua vote

News from Wellington City Council
A proposal to add mana whenua representation to Wellington City Council committees later this year – with the representatives having a vote and being paid – received a majority vote to go to full Council this month at yesterday’s Strategy and Policy Committee meeting.

Mana whenua within the city is defined as Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

The Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee voted on a recommendation that one representative from local mana whenua Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira sit on all Council committees and subcommittees and have voting rights from 1 July.

The proposed arrangement would not extend to the Council’s CEO Performance Review Committee, the city’s two community boards or the District Licensing Committee.

The recommendation stems from a notice of motion successfully introduced last year by Councillor Jill Day (Ngāti Tuwharetoa), who chairs the Strategy and Policy Committee, and who holds the Council’s Māori Partnerships portfolio.

Under the proposal each mana whenua would be paid $111,225 a year – the equivalent to the salary paid to city councillors. Mana whenua would decide which representatives would attend committee meetings.

Councillor Day says she and Cr Tamatha Paul are the only two Māori on the Council and are often looked to for a Māori perspective. “We do bring a perspective, but we know that authentic representation by mana whenua will provide for the best decisions for Wellington.

“I want to strengthen relationships between Māori and the Council so together we can improve community wellbeing. It is only through our partnership that we can take full advantage of the opportunities from the growing Māori economy in Wellington.

“Wellingtonians have embraced Te Reo Māori in record numbers and I anticipate they will be proud their Council is taking our responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi seriously,” she adds.

At the moment mana whenua are non-voting and unpaid members of the Strategy and Policy Committee and Annual/Long Term Plan committee.

Cr Day says the Local Government Act 2002 requires councils to provide opportunities for Māori to contribute to decision-making and to foster ways for the development of Māori capacity to contribute to the decision-making processes.

“Wellington City Council wants to work in partnership with mana whenua and to be active Tiriti partners in the way in which we govern the city. This is one of the ways we wish to do so, amongst other opportunities we are actively pursuing, such as Māori wards.”

The Local Government Act also contains provisions for additional members of council committees of to be appointed by councils. Wellington City Council already uses this provision when appointing additional independent expertise to its Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.

Cr Day notes that Wellington City Council has long had Māori representation and input in matters of local governance. The Council was the first local authority to establish a Māori Committee in 1989.

The City Council also has memoranda of understanding with Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Incorporated. Each memorandum provides a framework of Council’s responsibilities to mana whenua and focuses on a strategic partnership to provide opportunities for mana whenua to contribute to decision making processes at a leadership level.

Ngāti Toa representative Naomi Solomon supports this kaupapa.

“This will establish a further opportunity for iwi to work in partnership with Council in a more meaningful way. Te Tiriti recognises the right of iwi participation and this is supported at an international level by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This kaupapa is not a complicated one.”

Huia Puketapu, Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika Trustee says: “Yesterday saw a historic moment for the future generations of Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Yesterday enabled the possibility of diversity and a Māori world view at the committee tables of Council. Our future is watching.”

Last month, following another notice of motion from Cr Day, the Strategy and Policy Committee resolved in principle to establish Māori wards in Wellington City at the next local body elections at the end of 2022, subject to consideration of feedback from the community.

Targeted engagement will now be undertaken with several groups including mana whenua, Māori and other members of the community. Feedback received from these engagements will be considered before a final decision is made.

Wellington.Scoop – April 8
The Wellington City Council today voted to appoint one representative from each of Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira to sit on all Council committees and subcommittees with full voting rights from 1 July.

The only exceptions are the CEO Performance Review Committee, Community Boards, the Appointment Group, and the District Licencing Committee.

The vote was supported by eight councillors, and opposed by six. Deputy mayor Sarah Free was absent.

The council will reimburse each iwi by paying an annual fee, equivalent to the remuneration of a full time elected member, which is currently $111,225.

While one person will be appointed to each committee and subcommittee from each of Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira, the relevant person nominated by iwi may be different for different committees / subcommittees.

The Chief Executive will prepare an agreement to be signed between the Council and iwi and a declaration to be signed by the representatives).

The representatives nominated by mana whenua for each committee and subcommittee will be brought to Council for endorsement and formal appointment to the relevant committee.

Councillors were told today about similar arrangements on other councils:

Kāpiti Coast District Council: a partnership body Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti nominates one iwi representative to Council and one to each of the Council committees. The Chair of Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti can also attend meetings of Council and is able to contribute to the debate but not to vote. An iwi representative is also invited to sit on the Strategy and Operations Committee, and this representative has voting rights, remunerated on a meeting basis.

Porirua City Council has representation from one iwi on a whole of council committee, which is equivalent to Wellington City Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee and the CE employment committee. The iwi representative has full voting rights and are remunerated at a standard councillor rate $50,100, based on one day a week. They also have speaking rights at Council.

Hutt City Council has representation from two iwi on the Council’s Water Committee and District Plan Review Subcommittee. The representatives have full voting rights for these committees and are remunerated at an hourly rate.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has iwi and mana whenua representation on most committees. All appointees have full voting rights. Council make the appointments upon each iwi authority’s recommendation after recommendation from the Council’s Māori advisory group, Ara Tahi, which has a mana whenua entitlement. Iwi authorities nominate persons for appointment to the Wellington Regional Leadership Committee (WRLC). The WRLC recommends to Council (as the administering body) its preferred candidates. The meeting fees for iwi appointees has not yet been set.

Report from RNZ
The Wellington City Council has also made a first step towards establishing a Māori ward, in time for the next election.

“A Māori ward in itself is not the only tool we should be using to engage with Māori,” said Councillor Jill Day. “We need to be using multiple tools. We need to be creative, and we also need to not accept the status quo, so we do need to challenge and we do need to change and [to] be expecting our systems to become more inclusive. Our past has been that Māori have been legislatively excluded from decision-making, which they were actually promised the right to be a part of.”

Read also
Palmerston North to establish Maori wards


  1. Jill Day, 8. April 2021, 14:09

    Another step towards decolonisation of Wellington City Council today, Maori ward next. Quote of the day from Huia Puketapu “the future is watching” (said in reference to the hopes and desires of the tamariki in this city). [via twitter]

  2. Debbie Ngarewa-Packer MP, 8. April 2021, 14:12

    Tēnei te mihi ki a Tamatha Paul, Jill Day and everyone who supported mana whenua seats with full voting rights and remuneration on the Wellington City Council. This is a huge win for Te Tiriti relationships in local government and will strengthen outcomes for everyone. [via twitter]

  3. Marion Leader, 8. April 2021, 14:32

    Will they be able to do a proper job re Shelly Bay?

  4. Vale Democracy, 8. April 2021, 15:35

    Decolonisation of Wellington. What does that ultimately mean?

  5. Claire, 8. April 2021, 15:56

    I agree with Maori reps on the council.
    But decolonisation. Does this mean all people with colonist ancestors should go back to country of origin.

  6. michael, 8. April 2021, 21:13

    I thought there was going to be public consultation on this?

  7. bsmith, 9. April 2021, 6:47

    What does Jill Day mean by “Another step towards decolonisation of Wellington City Council”.

  8. TrevorH, 9. April 2021, 8:00

    “Decolonisation”? Has the Wellington City Council issued a unilateral declaration of independence, and if so, from what? Ratepayers perhaps? We should be so lucky.

  9. Robert Scott, 9. April 2021, 8:24

    What does “decolonisation” mean? This is a slippery slope that drives a wedge between the peoples of New Zealand.

  10. Guy M, 9. April 2021, 8:46

    Decolonization is a political concept that it would be useful to have someone talk knowledgeably about. There is obviously some fear and uncertainty here as it is a new subject for most. As far as I’m aware, no, it does not involve sending people back to where they came from. But it does involve stopping treating Maori as children, incapable of making decisions for themselves and instead invite them to the table where they can join in the decision making process. A typical example may be like the water issues: the pakeha way is to commission a water expert who may say “treat the water by poisoning it with chlorine” and then everyone votes for that to happen. Hopefully with iwi involvement we may get an alternative viewpoint. Perhaps like: “hey, we would rather not do that because we have been drinking this water for the last few hundred years and it tastes nice – so let’s find out what went wrong and try and fix it before going down the chlorine pathway”. There’s a lot of hope and positivity in a decolonized future.

  11. Lindsay, 9. April 2021, 9:35

    On this subject, a council paper on the Central Library (to be considered next week) states:
    there is currently much effort put into retaining colonial heritage, with much less of a focus on acknowledging the far longer presence of Māori in this place. Libraries in their current form are colonial institutions and by design privilege western knowledge. The Council will consider different ways, apart from written, that knowledge is transmitted.

  12. Marion Leader, 9. April 2021, 9:59

    The efforts to “de-colonise” were all supported by the eight young women on the Council and opposed by the four men and the two older women. Perhaps it is gender that raises the concerns about colonisation. Or is it youth?

  13. michael, 9. April 2021, 16:35

    Guess I had better get my bags packed ready to leave, but not sure where to go as, even though I am a 4th generation kiwi, it is starting to feel like I do not belong here.

  14. Martin Lawrence, 10. April 2021, 10:06

    Under the Treaty of Waitangi we are all equal and Maori can stand for election alongside any other New Zealander. No race should be held to be more important than any other. Immediately separate wards are initiated, democracy is lost. Appointment rather than election would encourage a divisive society where Maori have greater rights than the rest so we would inherit a split society, viz “them and us”.
    This would be AGAINST the Treaty of Waitangi which states everyone is to be equal. Don’t let us lose that. No, I do not agree with separate Maori wards.

  15. Claire, 10. April 2021, 12:31

    Martin: Yes the treaty states we are all equal. But we are not all treated equally – that is the point.

  16. luke, 10. April 2021, 13:04

    Some are a little more equal than others. Race-based politics should be consigned to history, including the Maori only electorates in Parliament.

  17. TrevorH, 10. April 2021, 14:20

    The vote to create racially privileged positions with full voting rights on Council committees without any consultation with the public further undermines the Council’s credibility. And we’re expected to pay a further 13.5% in rates next year?

  18. Alf the Aspirational Apterxy, 10. April 2021, 14:59

    If some Councillors wish such non-elected positions to be created, they should make it part of their platform for the 2022 Council elections.

  19. Daniel, 10. April 2021, 23:00

    “Some are a little more equal than others…” Agree completely, and precisely why this is the right thing to be happening.


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