Our Wellington

News | 11 March 2021

Council votes for Māori Ward

Wellington City Council has today agreed to take the next steps toward creating a Māori Ward at the 2022 council elections.

Panoramic view from harbour to the city.

The Council’s Strategy and Policy Committee voted 12-3 to support the creation of a Māori Ward - a vote welcomed by Committee Chair Jill Day who has driven the process to make a Māori Ward a reality in Wellington.

The vote was welcomed by Mayor Andy Foster, who congratulated Cr Day on what he described as an important day for local democracy and equitable representation.

Cr Day (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) says a Māori Ward “is one way that we can ensure Māori are always represented at the Council table. This is an important step in honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

She adds: “I am pleased the Government has made the recent change to law that removed the onerous and frankly racist process for establishing Māori wards.

“Wellingtonians have been very supportive in honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and a Māori Ward is another step in addressing the wrongs of the past and making good, inclusive, decisions for Wellington’s future.”

Mayor Foster says he was proud to support Cr Day’s February notice of motion that got the ball rolling. “I think it is important to enable Māori to determine the form of elected representation they wish to have on the Council. That is democratic and progressive – which reflects our city and our people.”

Today’s meeting agreed in principle to establish the Māori ward at the next triennial election (2022) subject to consideration of feedback from the community. Targeted engagement with mana whenua and Māori will commence shortly.

Council staff will report back to the Strategy and Policy Committee on the results of the engagement by 13 May. A decision to establish a Māori ward will require the Council to hold a representation review before next year’s triennial election.