22 Apr 2015

Out-of-town politician claims iwi support

11:27 am on 22 April 2015

A Christchurch local body politician who has moved to the North Island claims he has the confidence of Ngāi Tahu to continue working in his role from his new location.

Adrian Te Patu

Adrian Te Patu Photo: Twitter / @Te_Patu

Adrian Te Patu of Te Ātihaunui-ā-Pāpārangi lived in Diamond Harbour on Banks Peninsula for 25 years and recently moved to his hometown of Whanganui.

During his time living in Canterbury, he has been a trustee on school boards, worked in the health and education sectors, and also for Ngāi Tahu.

Mr Te Patu said he planned to retain his seat so that he could save the Lyttelton-Mt Herbert Community Board money by not having to run a by-election.

He said he had local iwi support.

"I actually worked for the Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation a number of years ago so I've kind of had an ongoing functional relationship with mana whenua as a visitor being there," Mr Te Patu said.

"I know they were very supportive when I first stood for the community board two elections ago and then I managed to secure a place on the community board again with their support.

"[There are] a number of the local rūnaka or rūnanga within our particular community board area and I certainly have the support and confidence from them."

Legitimate case for retaining seat - Adrian Te Patu

Mr Te Patu said even though he has chosen to live away from the Lyttelton-Mt Herbert Community Board's area, there is no law that says he needs to live within it.

"There is probably less of a challenge in terms of me being able to maintain the role because the actual law says I'm able to do that, I don't have to live within their [boundaries].

"I gave the example [to the community board] that most district health boards in New Zealand have ministerial appointments from people who don't actually live within those regions.

"And, if you're on a school board of trustees, you don't have to live within the region or have anyone [enrolled] at the school, so there are certainly precedents [of those] who don't necessarily live there but bring skills to the fore and that's what I kind of bring to the community board."

Mr Te Patu said he had the support of most of the board except for a couple who said that, in principle, he should reside in the Lyttelton-Mt Herbert Community Board area.

He said he had been attending all of the board meetings, which he pays for out of his own pocket, and keeps up to date by sending and receiving emails, using Skype, and regular phone calls.

Mr Te Patu has held his position for just over four years.