Stronger voice for mana whenua in decision-making
Council has taken a step forward in strengthening its partnership with mana whenua on the Kāpiti Coast today by enhancing iwi representation within the Council’s governance structure.
Mayor K Gurunathan says Kāpiti Coast District Council has a long history of Māori representation and input into matters of local governance, having signed a Memorandum of Partnership in 1994 with the three Kāpiti Coast District mana whenua iwi - Ngāti Toa Rangātira, Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust.
“The decision to appoint one representative from each of our three iwi mana whenua partners to the Council’s Strategy and Operations Committee, Appeals Hearing Committee, and the Grants Allocation Subcommittee with full voting rights from 1 July 2022 supports the commitment made in the Council’s 2021-41 Long-term Plan for Mana Whenua and Council to have a mutually mana-enhancing partnership that honours the Crown’s Treaty obligations,” the Mayor said.
Council also resolved to extend a seat at all Council meetings to representatives from Ngāti Toa Rangātira, Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust.
“While by law iwi representatives can’t have voting rights at our Council meetings, they will be able to fully contribute to our discussions and share important perspectives,” said the Mayor. “This will lead to better decision-making and is in-line with the approach being taken by councils across Aotearoa.
“An iwi representative with the relevant skills and experience will also be appointed to the Audit and Risk Subcommittee through a formal recruitment and selection process, further strengthening our governance capability.”
The decision to enable stronger mana whenua representation around the Council table followed a series of recommendations made by the Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust following a review of its partnership with the Council.
“The Council is grateful for Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust’s review and recommendations, highlighting areas where there is improvement needed to ensure a strong partnership that matches the aspirations of both mana whenua and the Council.
“Bringing these matters front and centre has allowed us to take actions to help strengthen our partnerships with all three iwi mana whenua in Kāpiti.”
Council recently considered whether to provide for Māori representation as part of its representation review but on the advice of all three iwi partners, Council resolved not to establish a Māori ward ahead of the upcoming 2022 local body elections.
“Māori wards are just one way to provide for Māori representation in governance, and at the time iwi expressed a desire to continue this discussion in the next triennium, and to focus on strengthening their partnership with Council,” the Mayor said.
“The changes made to the Council’s governance structure honour that commitment and will better ensure the interests of mana whenua are considered in all the decisions that we make.”
Mayor Gurunathan acknowledged that Council still has some work to do to enable better partnership around operational planning and delivery and said a programme of work was already under way.
“Ensuring we achieve equitable social, economic, and environmental outcomes for mana whenua and Māori is important to us and it is accepted that we need to better support Ngāti Toa Rangātira, Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust to participate in the work of Council at all levels.
“Council is focussed on delivering on its commitments and is proactively working to improve understanding of Te Ao Māori, and our iwi partners’ role, at both a governance and operational level,” the Mayor said.