Community & Environment

Hamilton City Council reaffirms Maaori representation

Maangai Maaori representatives (from left): James Whetu, Olly Te Ua, Te Pora Thompson and Norm Hill.

Hamilton City Council reaffirmed its ground-breaking Maaori representation initiative, more closely aligning it with the new governance structure put in place by Mayor Paula Southgate at the 4 February 2020 Council meeting.

Changes to the Council’s Maangai Maaori arrangements for the 2019-2022 triennium were unanimously approved at today’s meeting, to provide additional support to the five committee representatives.

The annual budget to fund Maangai Maaori was increased by $34,400 to reflect additional hours required of the representatives. Council also confirmed that professional development for Maangai Maori representatives would be provided.

Mayor Southgate says having Council unanimously reaffirm the Maangai Maaori partnership indicates the value it has already added to the decision-making process.

“By 2038, a third of people living in our city will be Maaori,” she says. Frankly, how well we do as a city hinges on a strong and collaborative relationship with Maaori.

“The Maangai Maaori representatives are highly skilled people in their own right with significant credentials and mana.  They are important advocates for tangata whenua and their involvement on Council allows us make more durable decisions for the city.”

Maangai Maaori, meaning the voice of Maaori, were first appointed in 2018, to five Council committees with full voting rights.

Following a review process which included feedback from current and past elected members, Maangai Maaori now sit on eight committees and an advisory group, to align with the Council’s new governance structure.

The Maangai Maaori represent and are chosen by iwi (Waikato-Tainui) and maataawaka (Maaori not of Waikato-Tainui descent) organisations.

Bella Takiari-Brame (representing iwi)

Bella Takiari-Brame (representing iwi)

All five Maangai Maaori from the previous triennium were reappointed for 2019-2022 in November last year:

  • Bella Takiari-Brame (representing iwi) – Finance Committee, Strategic Risk and Assurance Committee
  • James Whetu (representing iwi) – Strategic Growth Committee
  • Norm Hill (representing iwi) – Infrastructure Operations Committee, Environment Committee, CBD/River Plan Advisory Group
  • Te Pora Thompson-Evans (representing iwi) – Community Committee, Economic Development Committee
  • Olly Te Ua (representing maataawaka) – Community Committee, Economic Development Committee.

All five Maangai Maaori appointees are members of the Hearings and Engagement Committee, for items relevant to their portfolio.

“Hamilton was courageous in pioneering an innovative model of Maaori representation that has wide support,” says Mayor Southgate. “What the Maangai Maaori bring to Council in terms of their connections, their skills, their experience and their people is incredibly useful.”

The Maangai Maaori initiative was a finalist in the Cultural Wellbeing category of the 2019 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Excellence Awards. Waikato District Council introduced Maangai Maaori to three of its committees last year.

Image: Maangai Maaori representatives (from left): James Whetu, Olly Te Ua, Te Pora Thompson and Norm Hill.

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