Yesterday, Hamilton City Council approved five new Maaori appointees to committees of Council, marking the beginning of a new era for partnership-based decision-making for the city.
The new appointees will have the title of Maangai Maaori which means ‘The voice of Maaori’. They were chosen from more than 40 applicants by a selection panel comprising representatives of Waikato-Tainui, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa and Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa.
The newly appointed Maangai Maaori are:
- Norman Hill (representing Iwi) – Growth and Infrastructure Committee;
- Bella Takiari-Brame (representing Iwi) – Finance Committee;
- Te Pora Thompson (representing Iwi) – Community, Services and Environment Committee;
- Oliver Te Ua (representing Maatawaka) – Community, Services and Environment Committee; and
- James Whetu (representing Iwi) – Regulatory and Hearings Committee.
Mayor Andrew King says “We’re enormously proud to be at a point where we can take these brave steps towards providing meaningful representation for Maaori. It’s been a long time coming and we’re committed to making it work. You know you’ve achieved something pretty special when you start fielding questions from other councils around New Zealand asking us how we’ve done it. I think the answer boils down to true and respectful collaboration.”
Executive Chair for Waikato Tainui, Rukumoana Schaafhausen says “We received 40 outstanding applications and were extremely fortunate to attract such high-quality candidates for the roles.”
“I am confident that they will advocate an Iwi and Maaori perspective and this will ultimately lead to a much more informed decision-making process,” she says.
Mere Balzer from Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa was a key member of the project team and says “It’s been a long but incredibly positive journey and we are determined to show this new model can work and might even inspire other authorities to follow our lead.”
Rawiri Bidois represented Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa on the project team and says “This has been a very empowering and humbling process to be involved with. Everyone, including the hapuu, have worked together in a unified way to achieve a positive outcome for Maaori and Hamilton City.
The new Maangai Maaori will be formally welcomed to the Council at a ceremony on Thursday 11 October, supported by their whanau. They will commence in their new roles from next week.