Ma¯ori appointees welcomed
Hamilton City Council welcomed five Ma¯ ori appointees to council committees yesterday, marking the beginning of a new era for partnership-based decisionmaking for the city.
The new appointees will have the title of Ma¯ ngai Ma¯ ori, which means ‘The voice of Ma¯ ori.’
At a ceremony held at the council building on Thursday morning, Norman Hill, Bella Takiari-brame, Te Pora Thompson, Oliver Te Ua and James Whetu introduced themselves to elected members and council staff, and spoke of the long journey it had taken Ma¯ ori to get to this point.
Ma¯ ngai Ma¯ ori representative for the growth and infrastructure committee Norman Hill said he was humbled to be in the role.
“I was going to be a little unorthodox and change the name to sustainable growth and infrastructure, because with growth comes the recognition that resources are not sustainable,” Mr Hill said.
“I come here as a servant of my iwi to help support the aspirations of Kirikiriroa.”
Ma¯ ngai Ma¯ ori representative for the finance committee Bella Takiari-brame said it was courageous leadership that made the day possible.
“As a Ma¯ ori woman it has been at times lonely and challenging, but today I am inspired and hopeful,” Ms Takiari-brame said.
“This is a model for our diverse future, and I guarantee that my contribution will be to make sure this model is a success.”
Ma¯ ngai Ma¯ ori representative for the community and services committee Te Pora Thompson said Ma¯ ori and council have come too far to not go further.
“I look forward to the journey, I look forward to the bumps in the road, and I look forward to making that relationship with councillors, and I look forward to the progress,” Ms Thompson said.
Oliver Te Ua, who is also a Ma¯ ngai Ma¯ ori representative for the community and services committee, said he was overwhelmed about his new role.
“Councillors I just want to commend your courage for supporting these new positions,” Mr Te Ua said.
Ma¯ ngai Ma¯ ori representative for the regulatory and hearings committee, James Whetu called himself the mischievous one and that he would push hard for the voices that got him there.
“In that search for balance, I will not be searching for that balance.
“I will be searching for an outcome that will show a reflection of Ma¯ ori participation in these processes,” Mr Whetu said.
Mayor Andrew King said that council must provide opportunities for Ma¯ ori to be involved in council discussions.
“Anything less than a voice and a vote around our council decision table is tokenism,” Mayor King said. “Together we agreed on a model, avoiding division in our city which would had been a step backward, not forward.
In August this year, the council approved six votes to four to appoint one Ma¯ ori representative on the Growth and Infrastructure committee, Regulatory and Hearings committee, the Finance committee and two representatives on the Community and Services committee.
The appointees will be able to vote during the committee meetings only and will be paid $100 per hour, with the total cost varying depending on the length of the meeting and the committee.
From left: Hamilton Mayor Andrew King, Kauma¯ tua Tumuaki o te Kı¯ngitanga Anaru Thompson, Norman Hill, Bella Takiari-brame, Te Pora Thompson, Oliver Te Ua and James Whetu.