Council mulls Maori positions

Mana whenua positions may be added to two Dunedin City Council committees to represent Maori interests.

That is one of the options city councillors will debate next week, as they consider how they might enable Maori to have a stronger decision-making voice within the council.

Council staff have recommended runanga representatives be appointed to the planning and environment committee and the infrastructure services committee.

Both committees are prominent ones for the city council.

Two mana whenua representatives could be added to each — one from Otakou Runanga and the other from Kati Huirapa ki Puketeraki Runanga.

If councillors do not support this approach, they may choose to review the Maori participation working party’s terms of reference or opt for the status quo.

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins has previously described the working party as a forum for mana whenua and mataawaka Maori to provide strategic input into the work of the council, but added the council was looking at how it could strengthen the relationship.

Mataawaka refers to Maori not aligned with mana whenua.

The council’s project governance arrangements frequently include runaka members and staff from the Aukaha consultancy, but direct representation does not extend to governance of the council itself.

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