Waikato-Tainui support Te Arawa's call for Māori wards

By Hone-Haunui Rapana

Waikato-Tainui gathered at Tāheke Marae in Rotorua for the annual Te Arawa poukai celebration. For over 22 years, Te Arawa has been pushing for a Māori voice at local government level.  

Mauriora Kingi says, “Te Arawa Standing Committee was established in 1993 to discuss and manage issues pertaining to Te Arawa. 20 years has passed and the standing committee hasn't made much inroads.”

Over the weekend the topic of Maori representation in local government re-emerged with strong support by some Waikato-Tainui leaders, according to Tipa Mahuta, “Rotorua is known worldwide as a face for Māoridom but says the community of Rotorua need to work with the Māori of Rotorua first.”

The Te Arawa Partnership was proposed to establish an independent Te Arawa Board sitting outside of the council, to represent iwi interests, with board members elected by the Te Arawa community.

Mauriora Kingi from Te Arawa Partnership says “The time has come for the Council to decide if they agree with this proposal or not, they sit undecided at the moment.”

George Haimona says, “Māori should have an input into the matter. We know Māori and Pākehā see things differently.”