19 Oct 2011

Northland iwi seek better regional council representation

6:53 pm on 19 October 2011

Several Northland Maori leaders have met the Northland Regional Council to discuss improving iwi representation on the authority.

Tribal representatives from Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngati Wai, Ngati Whatua, Whaingaroa, Te Aupouri and Ngati Kuri spoke about the possibility of introducing dedicated Maori seats on to the council by 2013.

The iwi chairs also raised concerns over kaitiakitanga or guardianship of significant historical sites across the region, with the aim of developing better engagement between iwi and the council.

A Ngati Whatua spokesperson Tame Te Rangi says his iwi would like to see a structure set up similar to that operating on the Auckland Council.

He says iwi were quick to point out that the Independent Maori Statutory Board currently operating in Tamaki Makaurau was ideal.

Mr Te Rangi says although no decisions were made at the end of the two hour long meeting, both the iwi and the council agreed to further talks about dedicated Maori representation at regional council level.

He says Maori make up a significant proportion of Northland's population at 30%, which is increasing, and it's inevitable iwi will be playing a greater role in local government.