New Plymouth is destined for a referendum over a controversial move to introduce a designated seat for Maori at next year's local body elections.
The district council's decision to introduce a Maori ward in 2016 met with opposition when the vote was passed in September last year. Councillor John McLeod resigned in protest when it was narrowly accepted by 7 votes to 6.
The city's former Greypower president, Hugh Johnson, today gave the mayor a petition with more than 4000 signatures calling for a poll on the Maori ward initiative.
He needed 2700 signatures, or 5 per cent of eligible voters, to spark a binding referendum.
Mayor Andrew Judd received the petition backed by about 50 supporters.
He said it was now up to the people of the wider district to have their say.
"I respect people's view and I would just challenge people to look within themselves, to question have they fully endorsed or researched what this actually means."
The council says it needs about a week to validate the petition and a referendum is likely to be held in May.