Iwi proposal: Details still a month away

By Matthew Martin

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Rotorua district councillor Mike McVicker says he'd be happy to wait another three years for Te Arawa to decide how they would like to be represented around the council table.

But Te Arawa representatives say they'll be going back to the Rotorua District Council with a revised model of representation by the end of August.

The proposed Te Arawa Board structure has caused a storm of controversy since Mr McVicker released the proposal to the Rotorua Daily Post in early May.

The proposal, put together by Auckland-based solicitor Tama Hovell at a cost of $15,000, is to form a new Te Arawa board to replace the council's Te Arawa Standing Committee.

The board could consist of eight members - six of those appointed by a Te Arawa-mandated entity and two appointed during a Te Arawa hui-a-iwi (tribal meeting).

The report suggested the new board could be in place by July 1, and would be separate from the council, but could allow members to sit on council committees, be part of Resource Management Act decisions and establish its own sub-committees.

Mr McVicker said he had not been updated on the process since early last month.

"What was proposed to us at the first meeting - that this could be in place by July 1 - has not happened, so we have achieved our objective at this time.

"We've been waiting three years for Te Arawa to come up with a flag to fly on Waitangi Day, so I'm not confident we will have any result for quite some time. They can take another three years if they want to," he said. "We are watching and waiting to see what they come back with, but there is no way I will stand by and allow unelected representation on the council," Mr McVicker said.

Te Arawa Standing Committee spokesman Arapeta Tahana said the partnership project continued to progress its vision of establishing an enduring partnership between Te Arawa and the council. "At this stage there is support for the intent of the model, however further research and consultation is required to confirm the detail of the model."

He said a project steering group - made up of elected Te Arawa Standing Committee iwi members, mayor Steve Chadwick, councillors Merepeka Raukawa-Tait and council officers - will be holding workshops with Te Arawa stakeholders to work through the details of the model.

"This process will culminate in a hui-a-iwi (tribal meeting) in late August to confirm Te Arawa support for the revised model.

"The project steering group acknowledges that the process has taken longer than originally expected however, we feel it is appropriate to ensure a robust process is followed that genuinely considers the views of Te Arawa stakeholders and the council itself.

"Building an enduring relationship between Te Arawa and the council should not be rushed, we all care about our community and getting things right takes time," Mr Tahana said.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said Te Arawa had not yet come back to her with any further proposals or feedback. "This is a work in progress.

"When Te Arawa are ready they'll present their proposal to the council.

"There's no set timeframe," she said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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