Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has praised New Plymouth's mayor for his push to create representation for tangata whenua on the district council.
Andrew Judd says New Zealand is a bicultural nation and Maori have an equal right to be represented.
The New Plymouth District Council voted for a Māori ward, but it was only narrowly passed by seven votes to six, with one councillor resigning in protest.
Te Ururoa Flavell says Mr Judd has set the benchmark for other local councils, and together the local body and mayor have taken the bull by the horns and adopted an enlightened approach.
Mr Flavell said New Zealand should embrace their decision rather than allowing it to cause division, which has occurred in some places.
He believed Aotearoa should be able to move forward in this day and age and accept one seat on the council.
Mr Flavell the move acknowledges that tangata whenua have an important voice in making decisions at a local level.