The mayor of New Plymouth, Andrew Judd, says Maori should ideally be given 50-50 representation on local councils.
The New Plymouth District Council has voted for the creation of a Maori seat, but the proposal was met with resistance, and one councillor resigned in protest when it was narrowly accepted by seven votes to six.
Mr Judd said despite the anger over the decision, only positive things will come of it and believes people need to get past their fear of building an equal partnership with Maori.
He said Maori should have an equal voice at the table, but their representation depends on the proportion of tangata whenua on the Maori Electoral Roll - a system that has been brought to Aotearoa by Pakeha.
The mayor said that means currently, there is only one Maori seat available on the New Plymouth District Council.
Mr Judd said if 1000 extra tangata whenua went across to the Maori Electoral Roll, that would give the council two Maori seats.