Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and his councillors were welcomed to Ōrākei Marae today by local tribe Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei. It's his first visit as mayor and marae stalwart Taiaha Hawke says it's an opportunity for the tribe to forge a new relationship with the new mayor.
Ōrākei locals have taken the initiative to invite the city's new council head to their home marae.
Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei spokesperson Taiaha Hawke says, “Phil Goff has come out on top, he's the new Mayor of Auckland, so it's right for Māori to familiarise ourselves with him, let him know what our dreams and hopes are, what the concerns are amongst the Māori communities.”
During the formalities, kaumātua Joe Hawke made an impromptu stand and a request to his former Labour Party collegue.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told Te Kāea, “I did not promise Joe that I was going to bring rates down, he did say that with a smile.”
Goff says Auckland has the lowest number of state houses since the 1940's. Goff is keen to use his political influence to build more homes.
“It's also about advocacy to central government because they have the resources that we need for more affordable housing for more state housing.”
Today's visit has solidified a sign for Ngāti Whātua that they are ready again to strengthen their ties with the Auckland council which they say was weakened over the last 6 years under former Mayor Len Brown. The iwi have tabled their wish list and hope to see some progress under the new leadership.
Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei member Joe Pihema, “We want our relationship to be as it was years ago. When Ngāti Whātua sat alongside the council.”
Goff says there will not be more than a 2.5 percent increase on rates for homes in Auckland.