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Council approves Te Arawa partnership agreement

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Councillors have approved a partnership agreement between Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa.

The agreement is expected to be signed tomorrow [Friday 18 December] at the inauguration of the recently elected Te Arawa partnership board - Te Tatau o Te Arawa.

Approved at today’s [Thursday 17 December] full Council meeting, it will be signed on behalf of Rotorua Lakes Council by Mayor Steve Chadwick and Councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait.

Tomorrow’s signing and inauguration are the next steps in the process of establishing a formal partnership with Te Arawa, following adoption by the council earlier this year of a new partnership model that will see two iwi representatives, with voting rights, sitting on each of council’s two committees. The committees have delegation to make recommendations only to the full council. Final decisions will be made by the full council.

At today’s council meeting Mayor Chadwick congratulated the working party which led the Te Arawa board election process and developed the partnership agreement. "I thank you sincerely for your contribution," she said.

"We have agreed to move ahead in a very significant way," she said of today’s decision.

The new partnership model replaces the former Te Arawa Standing Committee which was established 20 years ago. Developing a new partnership model with Te Arawa was a key commitment made by the current council following the 2013 elections, as part of a Rotorua 2030 vision.

Councillor Trevor Maxwell, who was on the former Te Arawa Standing Committee since its inception, said tomorrow’s inauguration and signing would be an historic occasion.

Council’s Te Arawa Partnership portfolio lead Councillor Raukawa-Tait said the partnership document had "taken time and careful thought".

"We have a document that will better inform the decision-making at this council … I think the people of Rotorua will see some excellent decision-making as a result of this partnership," she said.

The mayor said other councils around the country considered the partnership significant and were looking to Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa for advice as they looked at how they themselves could start to develop an enduring relationship with iwi.

As well as sitting on council committees, Te Arawa will be represented on the Resource Management Act (RMA) policy committee and will be able to recommend iwi representation on other council working groups which are established.

Iwi representatives to sit on the council committees will be nominated by the Te Arawa board and are expected to be put forward to the Rotorua council for approval and appointment in February.

The partnership agreement approved today sets out the framework for an ongoing relationship, outlining objectives, principles, expectations and deliverables.

Councillors were told at today’s meeting that the agreement drew heavily on the partnership proposal and statement of proposal which were the basis of a special consultative procedure which included public information sessions, submissions and hearings.

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