Wairoa District council leads the way in Māori representation

By Mare Haimona-Riki

From left to right: Danika Goldsack (Ngāti Porou) Denise Eaglesome-Karekare (Ngāti kahungunu ki Wairoa) Chaans Tumataroa-Clarke (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa) Hine Flood (Ngāpuhi) Melissa Kaimoana (Ngāti Tuwharetoa)

The Wairoa District Council has recently sworn in new Māori members, bringing the total number of Māori in the council, to five. Three in the Māori ward and two in the general. Working alongside mayor, Craig Little, the new members are looking to make important changes and improvements to their community, from a Māori perspective. 

“We are all one, we speak for one and I know we are gonna represent the whole of the community. That’s what’s so good about Wairoa.”

Former Deputy Mayor and current councilor, Denise Eaglesome Karekare (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa) knows exactly where the focus needs to be regarding the betterment of the community.

“Wairoa people want us to work on a whole lot of things, but the most important things as far as I’m concerned is climate change, the three waters review and our aging infrastructure."

“Obviously the three waters are huge… Somehow we’ve got to work out how we are gonna afford to get that out of the river eventually, but that’s a whole community thing,” says Mayor Craig Little.

With Māori being so heavily represented in the Council, Chaans Tumataroa-Clarke (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa) look forward to applying the principle of kotahitanga in their mahi for the term to come:

“Ehara taku toa he toa taki tahi, engari he toa taki tini.”

My strength is not that of an individual but that of the collective.

That’s the main thing for me. There has to be an emphasis on team work in this council. One person cannot do this alone,” Little says.