Kāpiti Coast District Council has voted to establish a Māori ward because young people in the district wanted the change.
Mayor Janet Holborow said the overall feedback showed the community was not in favour of a Māori ward but a breakdown of the result showed rangatahi did.
“These rangatahi are the future of our district. We want to encourage them to have their say on civic and democratic matters, so they need to see that we are listening to them”.
She said the feedback also showed those on the Māori electoral role were also more supportive of establishing a local Māori ward.
“We’ve committed to be a council that listens, and that means listening to mana whenua and our wider Māori community, and drilling down below the surface results”.
Councillor Martin Halliday, who moved the motion, said the decision would enhance the strong relationship the district council has with mana whenua.
“This is a step in an ongoing journey about relationships that is part of the fabric of who we are as New Zealanders in Aotearoa, and it will be a journey that is with us always”.
The decision triggers a representation review for Kāpiti Coast, which must take place next year if the new ward is to be in place for the 2025 local body election.
The District Council will receive further advice on the next steps soon.