6 Apr 2021

Taranaki Regional Council votes to establish Māori ward

6:00 pm on 6 April 2021

Taranaki Regional Council has voted to push ahead and establish a Māori ward.

Mount Taranaki

The vote was nine to two in favour of the Māori ward. File photo Photo: Unsplash / Tyler Lastovich

The council heard about 20 oral submissions on the proposal to create a Māori ward in time for the local body elections in 2022 at a public hearing in Stratford today.

Immediately after the hearing, the council reconvened to make its decision.

The vote was nine to two in favour of the Māori ward.

Councillor Neil Walker opposed the proposal saying it was undemocratic and would not represent the majority of Taranaki Māori who were not on the Māori roll.

Opponents were told they had nothing to fear.

Council chair David MacLeod said there was a lot of impassioned debate, but some of it seemed based on fear of the unknown.

"I think they are almost scared of what this is, and I don't believe there's anything to be scared of. In fact, I think in due course we will be celebrating this outcome."

MacLeod said although the Māori ward system was flawed, the eight iwi of Taranaki supported it and their view could not be ignored.