We have a along history of asserting our presence in our rohe. Now other iwi have examples of approaches that are working throughout the motu. A recent development in Te Arawa is a unique agreement guaranteeing that they will have an ongoing voice in their community.
Greater iwi influence in local government is becoming a reality through a new partnership agreement between Te Arawa and Rotorua Lakes Council. The modified partnership model was voted in by Rotorua Lakes Council with eight votes for and five votes against on Tuesday 26 May, 2015. An elected Te Arawa board will be able to nominate two people to sit on two of the councils main governance committees. Over 1800 written submissions were received from the Rotorua public in support and opposition to the partnership.
Maori have too often been underrepresented in local government across the country and Ngati Porou is no exception. The Local Government Act 2002 attempts to recognize part of the Crown’s responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi by ensuring that our local government be required to provide processes for consulting with Ngati Porou (for example).
The Te Arawa partnership is unique because it is self-determined by the iwi and will ensure continued and consistent representation for Te Arawa in the decision making processes of the rohe. A precedent has now been set for the rest of the country to make real commitments to acknowledging the rights of Tangata Whenua to have a voice and to be involved in the forging of our own future. Ngati Porou has a strong history of leadership. Whatever form that that leadership takes in the future, we have evidence that concrete Maori political partnerships are strengthening and our voices are continuing to become louder. Toitu te kupu, toitu te mana, toitu te whenua.