Westland District Invites rūnanga representatives on to council
The Westland District Council has invited representatives from local Papatipu Rūnanga to serve as full members of its Finance, Audit and Risk Committee in a move designed to strengthen the council’s partnership with mana whenua.
The invitation has been extended to the Chairs of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, and Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio, positions currently held by Francois Tumahai and Tim Rochford respectively, each will have speaking and voting rights at committee level. The invitation also includes full council meetings where the two chair will have full participation rights but not voting rights
Deputy Mayor Latham Martin, who is also Chair of the Finance Audit and Risk Committee, said the council believes that participation of Papatipu Rūnanga representatives as full members of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee will not only strengthen the council’s partnership relationship with iwi, hapu and rūnanga within Westland District, but will also bring social and economic benefits to the community.
“We recognise that mana whenua have a unique connection to the region, and this move works to ensure they have more input into council decision making,” says Martin.
“Their participation will bring unique experience and wisdom to our decision making processes that cannot be matched. It will add a productive element to our thinking that would be much harder to achieve through the more usual, but more remote, channels such as public consultation or via a non-voting Māori advisory committee.”
“We already have an excellent working relationship with mana whenua through the two Papatipu Rūnanga. But bringing our Treaty partners directly on to the council table will build on that relationship and enhance the opportunities we have for working together for the benefit of all of our ratepayers and residents.”
Chairman of Te Rūnanga O Makaawhio, Tim Rochford, said, “Our rūnanga is excited at the opportunity to develop this partnership. We believe a strong, unified, Tai Poutini is the best way for the Coast to move forward. There are exciting opportunities for the West Coast that will bring benefit to all.”
Francois Tumahai, Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, says he looks forward to working with the council in this capacity. “It is an opportunity for Papatipu Rūnanga to be more influential at the council table.”
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