MDC seeks more iwi input
More iwi representation is being sought around the Marlborough District Council table.
The council will hold a hui, or workshop, with Te Tau Ihu iwi from the top of the south in the new year to establish a stronger partnership and encourage more iwi into local government.
It comes as part of the council’s first Te Ao Ma¯ ori subcommittee, held last month, which aims to achieve greater representation for iwi in the Marlborough region.
Councillor Nadine Taylor, who chaired the new subcommittee, said the hui was a step towards allowing iwi and the council to better work together.
"We’re sending out invitations to Te Tau Ihu iwi to a hui next year to talk about partnerships and how to move forward with dialogue, stronger relationships and a stronger partnership,’’ she said.
‘‘Part of that is iwi representation. We have three standing committees at the council, but only one has an iwi representative.’’
The positions allowed representatives from Te Tau Ihu to get their views across to council committees and to the Te Ao Ma¯ori subcommittee before items were put to full council for a final vote.
At present, Maataa Waka member Richard Hunter was the only active iwi representative, having served for the past two decades.
There were still two iwi representative positions available at the council.
‘‘We don’t have a fixed idea of whether to have one representative across all three or three individual representatives. That’s something we need to talk to iwi about,’’ Taylor said.
‘‘I think this is a really excellent beginning which will allow issues, items and topics to be fed into an orderly space,’’ she said. ‘‘In essence, this work is about creating better partnerships.’’
The council first flagged the need for Te Ao Ma¯ ori representation as part of this year’s long-term plan, which was approved on June 28.
It originally planned to engage a Te Ao Ma¯ ori cultural adviser, but later opted to establish a Te Ao Ma¯ ori subcommittee to help with iwi representation.
‘‘It wasn’t that a subcommittee was a better option, just a mechanism for us to talk with iwi to work out what was the best way forward with the appointment of cultural advisers and iwi representation,’’ Taylor said.
Other items discussed at the subcommittee were the frequency of the meetings and remuneration for iwi representatives, which staff at the council were asked to report back on.
The subcommittee had the power to allocate $30,000 a year to projects that improved the council’s access to cultural advice and long-term relationships with Ma¯ ori.
The immediate focus of the subcommittee was creating a visible Ma¯ ori presence in the council buildings through artwork and bilingual signage, and increasing access to knowledge and education for council staff.
Marlborough district councillor and Te Ao Ma¯ ori subcommittee chair Nadine Taylor hopes the upcoming hui will establish a stronger partnership between the council and iwi.