Tauranga City Council votes against Māori ward

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Tauranga City Council has voted no to Māori wards at their meeting today.  However, Tauranga Moana iwi believe establishing a Māori ward won't be easily forgotten. 

Tauranga is the sixth largest city in New Zealand and today the Council voted on whether to establish a Māori ward.

Stuart Crosby says, “We've decided collectively, unanimously not to proceed with a Māori ward.” 

Over 127,000 people live in Tauranga and every six years the Tauranga City Council is obligated to discuss whether there should be a Māori ward, but Tauranga's native tribes believe despite the current council opposition, the issue won't go away.

Matire Duncan says, “Really I guess we just need to go back to the whiteboard and start looking at what our next move will be or plan.”

Bay of Plenty Regional councillor, Awanuiarangi Black holds the Mauao Māori district seat and he says that Māori representation on a council should be encouraged.

“Firstly Māori need to have a voice, in terms of the Māori language concerning tribes, sub-tribes, communities, secondly in the past Māori were at the decision making table discussing issues concerning the region,” Black explains.

Māori have a representative board under the Tauranga City Council with the power to recommend or advise, for now that will have to do.