Napier City Council's decision to delay the possibility of Maori wards until 2025 has been slammed by a 200-strong protest on Marine Parade.
Protest leader Alayna Hokianga, of Te Aka Charitable Trust, claimed NCC was the only Hawke's Bay council that didn't give Maori a voice.
"I don't want our tipuna to have the same conversation in 181 years. This is a hikoi about equality, justice, our rights," she said.
At the protest Hawke's Bay District Health Board member and the Māori Party's former Ikaroa-Rāwhiti candidate Heather Te Au-Skipworth said council was "taking away our rights".
"The Crown is scared of losing power and control. All we are asking for us is to unite under the contract we signed in 1840. Mayor Wise do not deflect your obligations under the Treaty.
"How much longer do we have to keep marching?"
Margaret Tipene Simeon, who drove from Porangahau for the protest, said it was important to note that nobody's rights were diminished if Maori had a say.
"A say about who has our voice. It's not a decision made by representatives of Crown. Where are the descendants of rangatira.
"I want NCC to decide Maori wards for 2022. we are not taking away anyone's rights. We just want someone who we won't have to re-educate.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise, who was present at the rally but did not address the protesters, told Hawke's Bay Today council would not be re-visiting its decision.
She said unlike other councils around the country who decided to introduce Māori wards in 2022, Napier City Council never engaged in formal consultation on Māori wards with mana whenua or the wider community and therefore "full and meaningful consultation" was required.
"Following a meeting with mana whenua on April 21, council resolved on April 22 to begin engagement and consultation immediately. However with one month to go before the deadline, Napier City Council requested an extension to the Central Government deadline to allow it to undertake consultation on the matter of Māori wards.
"We are already fast-tracking to consult by 2025, now to November is fast-tracking the process.
"In October council will consolidate and analyse the submissions and the decision will be made in November. It will be a binding decision which cannot be overturned by incoming council."
On the same day as the protest the Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui ā Orotu released a statement saying it had passed a vote of no confidence in the council and its consultation process.
Taiwhenua chairman Hōri Reti said the board members raised a number of concerns about comments which had originated from the mayor's office implying the Taiwhenua was in support of the Napier Council's "Engagement and Consultation Plan for Māori Wards 2025".
Reti expressed his disappointment and refuted the comments originating from the mayor's office and asked Wise to desist from quoting him out of context in an attempt to validate her commentary.
The Taiwhenua Board advised Wise on April 21 they support an engagement and consultation strategy/plan that will lead to the implementation of Māori Wards for the 2022 local body elections, saying they could quickly mobilise their community and call hui with marae and hapū to support the council if needed.
He said the Taiwhenua board will be seeking legal advice to review council's decision.