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Council and iwi to look for what's best for Taupo District

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Taupō District Council has chosen not to establish Māori seats and will instead look for alternative options alongside the district’s iwi.

At an extraordinary meeting today, the Council voted unanimously to investigate other options, remaining focussed on identifying what works for the Taupō District.

Mayor David Trewavas said the Council had looked to what other districts had done and as a result identified a real opportunity to better engage with Māori in the Taupō District going forward.

"Elected members have also met with our iwi partners and discussed the co-design of something special, which considers our existing touch points, our new post-settlement space, and the potential for a great partnership."

Settlements between iwi and the Crown have historically included obligations for local government and the co-management of assets inside the district. An example of this was the Ngāti TÅ«wharetoa Deed of Settlement signed in July of this year at Waitetoko Marae which includes the establishment of ‘Te Kōpua Kānapanapa’ the Taupō Catchment Statutory Board where iwi, Crown and local government representatives will develop the catchment plan.

"This partnership with our multiple iwi of the district and the district and regional councils has to be meaningful, and based on what we can develop together considering our natural surroundings and the people of the Taupō District," said Mr Trewavas.

Under the Local Electoral Act, all councils must review how their city or district would be best and most fairly represented every six years.

Taupō District Council already has a number of existing agreements with the district’s iwi of Ngāti TÅ«wharetoa, Raukawa to the north and Ngāti Tahu/ Ngāti Whāoa as part of the Te Arawa River Iwi Trust.

This includes the country’s first Joint Management Agreement signed in 2009 that transferred decision making powers to a 50/50 committee, including iwi, for resource consents and private plan changes on multiply-owned, Māori freehold land. Other Joint Management Agreements include those borne out of the 2010 Waikato River legislation.

The next step will be to develop a work plan to research options, develop and refine those options and seek collective agreement with iwi. The Council has also made a commitment to review Māori representation in the Taupō District again in three years time.

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