Council vote Yes to Te Arawa Partnership

updated By Heeni Brown
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The Rotorua Lakes Council has voted 8 to 5 to adopt a modified Te Arawa partnership model.

This will give the local tribe two seats on the council's two main committees. So Te Arawa must now form a board.

It's a new road Te Arawa iwi and the Rotorua Lakes Council are taking.

Chairman of Te Arawa Standing Committee, Arapeta Tahana says, “It looks like the dreams and aspirations of Te Arawa have been realised.”

Mayor, Steve Chadwick says,” I felt the tide was turning but this is so endorsing an incredible democratic process that we've undertaken."

This week, the council put forward a modified version of the Te Arawa Partnership proposal with two changes.

Firstly, the removal of the authority for the council's two main governance committees, meaning the committees can only make recommendations to the council.

Second, Te Arawa would have to elect, instead of appoint, its own board, which would then nominate two people to sit on each of the council's two main committees.

But the council would be able to veto or overrule those nominations if they found the nominees unsuitable.

Tahana says, “Those changes are good because we're still trying to find the best fit for this relationship.”

Chadwick says, “Well immediately, we have to set to work with Te Arawa about the establishment of the Te Arawa board and then that needs to start straight away like this week."

The council received more than 1800 written submissions and over 200 people made verbal submissions regarding the proposal.

Te Ururoa Flavell says, “The fear now is that those critics of the model will decide to challenge the decision in the courts or through other channels. That's the fear at this stage.”

Nanaia Mahuta says, “It's an example for others. The good thing is that the idea came from the iwi and wasn't adopted from elsewhere.”

Mayor Chadwick says the Te Arawa partnership model should be up and running by the end of this year.