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Te Arawa partnership decision 'historic and pragmatic'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A decision by Rotorua Lakes Council to support in principle an iwi partnership model that would include two Te Arawa representatives on its key standing committees, is both an historic commitment to a genuine partnership with iwi, and a pragmatic acknowledgment that the wider community should have a say, says Mayor Steve Chadwick.

Today’s council meeting [Thursday 18 December] voted to support in principle a Te Arawa proposal that would see the establishment of an iwi board sitting outside of the council structure to replace the council’s former Te Arawa Standing Committee.

The new Te Arawa board would appoint two representatives, with voting rights, to sit on the council’s Monitoring and Operations Committee and on the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee, one member on the Chief Executive’ Performance Committee and a representative on RMA hearings panels.

However the council decided to make their support subject to a special consultative process next year.

"Today we’ve taken a momentous step forward in acknowledging the significant contribution Te Arawa has made to the development of Rotorua. But more importantly, this step also acknowledges the vital role tangata whenua can play alongside the council in building a better future for our district.

"I’m very proud of the way our Te Arawa community has come together to present a compelling and well-developed proposal to share our journey. They have acted with exceptional dignity and have remained calm and reasoned throughout that process.

"And I’m immensely proud that as a council we’ve shown that we’re mature enough to have a robust debate and make a bold decision despite the complexities and challenges that come with it. I’ve been very conscious from Day One that this was always going to be a test of our leadership.

"However, the long history of Rotorua, more than in any other place in New Zealand, shows that we have nothing to fear from working hand-in-hand with tangata whenua. In fact the opportunities from doing so are unlimited and very exciting.

"Today’s council resolution helps fulfil the community’s clear wish for an enduring and sustainable partnership with iwi that was identified as part of our engagement programme with residents when we developed our Rotorua 2030 vision and goals.

"It also helps provide a meaningful mechanism for Maori to contribute to council decision-making, a critical legal obligation which the council has under the Local Government Act.

"Today our council has demonstrated a real commitment to the aspiration of inclusion set out on our district crest. We’ve shown we’re absolutely committed to the principle of ‘Tātau tātau - we together,’ and Rotorua’s future is looking brighter as a result," said Mrs Chadwick. "I look forward to hearing our wider community’s views when we consult publicly on this proposal next year."

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