Intolerance of the Māori world view is "obsolete and needs to be ignored", says a Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc director.
New tangata whenua representatives appointed to Hastings District Councils standing committees say it was time for change.
Ngaio Tiuka , Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc director of environment and natural resources, said councils have a responsibility to meaningfully involve Māori in the decision making of council.
"Whether Māori are part of sub-committees of council or not, the responsibilities of council are statutory, also the need to represent and respond to Māori in practical terms is growing as is the Maori proportion of the population."
"Involving Māori can benefit the whole community and should not viewed as something to fear."
"As a nation the intolerance of Te Ao Māori or the Māori world view is obsolete and needs to be ignored."
Tiuka has been appointed to the Finance and Risk Committee.
Strategy, Planning and Partnerships appointee Tracee Te Huia said non-Māori councillors did not have a Māori world view.
"But equally we don't have theirs, so often we are speaking past one another."
She said the decision was one in many which need to be made in a process of system change.
"What we want to do, is we want to help the council, we want to help the people of Hastings to make the best decisions."
She said the decision had not been for the faint hearted, and was sure those who supported the decision would be challenged by some members in the community.
"All power to them, I think they were very courageous, and very collaborative."
She said she wanted to be able to work with the four councillors who voted against the decision to prove it was important for the representatives to be around the table.
Lecturers at the Māori Studies school at Victoria University have supported the decision
Head of school Maria Bargh said the council should be congratulated for it's decision.
The vote went through after a last minute email campaign from group Hobson's Pledge encouraging councillors to vote against the motion.
Bargh said the position held by Hobson's Pledge ignores the fact that councils are allowed to appoint unelected voting members to standing committees if they possess the relevant expertise.
"Tangata whenua who are appointed to Māori Joint Committees possess relevant expertise relating to Iwi and Māori interests in the areas."
"Allowing tangata whenua the right to speak and vote on decisions is one way for councils to work towards equitable processes."
Lecturer Annie Te One , said that taking measures which put tangata whenua at the decision making table are important, and could potentially help avoid issues which can arise when Māori are bought into the discussion later.
"Any measure which ensure Māori are not only at the table but have a substantial say through a vote and through speaking rights can help mitigate some of the "post" issues which may occur."
Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the decision was about having a more inclusive, engaged council, and she was proud of the decision council had made.
She said the model can be refined after the election if need be.
Hastings District Council has four standing committees which each provide oversight and policy direction in a certain area. All councillors sit on the standing committee, but any decision made at committee level must be ratified at a full council meeting.
The four representatives are not receiving remuneration for sitting on the committees.