Central Hawke's Bay District Council last week adopted its first Māori Engagement Strategy - Tūhono mai Tūhono atū.
The strategy was adopted at Central Hawke's Bay District Council's Strategy and Wellbeing Committee Meeting last week, and provides a framework for council and tangata whenua aspirations for Māori cultural development, with a particularly strong focus on recognising how culture connects and strengthens communities, instils a sense of pride and identity and improves individual and community health and wellbeing.
"Māori cultural development is a priority area for Central Hawke's Bay District Council - Te Kaunihera ā-rohe o Tamatea," says Kelly Annand, deputy mayor and chairwoman of the Strategy and Wellbeing Committee.
"Our new Māori Engagement Strategy strategy is a channel to ensure council continues to consider and promote the current and future opportunities for Māori wellbeing.
"It is a living, breathing document that over time will become an integral part of the way council speaks, hears and acts.
"At the establishment of the Strategy and Wellbeing Committee late in 2019, this committee identified the need to raise the bar of Māori engagement and development as a priority and I'm incredibly excited and proud to see a strategy in support of this adopted today," says deputy mayor Annand.
"Central Hawke's Bay District Council is committed to enhancing the partnership it has with iwi, hapu and marae across our district. We've been working hard on relationships but now Tūhono mai Tūhono atū represents a more formal step towards where council want and need to be," says Alex Walker, mayor of Central Hawke's Bay.
Dr Roger Maaka, Kaiārahi Matua of Central Hawke's Bay District Council, says, "This strategy which has been adopted today is a significant symbol in Treaty partnership.
"In Tūhono mai Tūhono atū I see a very thoughtful document, with one of its strengths being that it covers all bases, representing an entire attitude for this council.
"It is a forward-thinking document which is representative of a respectful and constructive relationship between Tangata Whenua and council," says Dr Maaka.
The committee stood spontaneously for waiata following the adoption of the strategy.
"As a council, we recognise the special and unique position of tangata whenua o Tamatea and the vital role Māori have to play in council's decision-making processes," says Mayor Walker.
"Section 14 of the Local Government Act 2002 requires all councils to ensure there are specific opportunities for Māori to contribute to decision-making processes and Central Hawke's Bay District Council takes this seriously."
The four pou of Tūhono mai Tūhono atū are:
Whiriwhiria / Council-iwi relationships
Tikanga / Language, culture and place
Oranga / People and prosperity
Rauemi / Infrastructure and resources
Targeted within the four pou, Tūhono mai Tūhono atū considers objectives that:
• Identify matters and areas of interest to tangata whenua
• Foster consultation with tangata whenua at all levels
• Foster capacity building of Māori to take part in decision-making processes
• Provide information to assist Māori participation in decision making
• Consider options for capacity building of tangata whenua to enable better involvement in decision-making processes
• Develop bespoke relationships with iwi, hapu and marae across Tamatea / Central Hawke's Bay
• Recognise the special status of mana whenua and take into account Te Tiriti o Wāitangi in resource management decision-making processes.
• Increase cultural capacity and capability of Central Hawke's Bay District Council to effectively engage with tangata whenua, including increasing the level of cultural competency within the council.