Rangitīkei District Council is seeking feedback on its preferred option for the make-up of future councils, which will include Māori wards.
The council is proposing retaining its existing ward structure with nine councillors elected from Northern, Central and Southern wards, and two councillors elected from two new wards – Northern Māori and Southern Māori.
The Northern and Southern general wards would each lose a seat to make way for the new Māori wards, but the number of elected members would remain at 11 plus the mayor. Community boards for Otaihape and Rātana would remain unchanged.
Councillor Tracey Hiroa, one of three Māori councillors elected to general seats on the current council, said the proposal was a good balance of the options considered and protected the opportunity for Māori to participate in council decisions and business.
She said Māori representation at the council table in the past had been hard won.
"The reality is that the Rangitīkei District Council since they amalgamated back in 1989, they've only ever had two iwi people on it.
"People talk diversity, but personally myself I feel lucky that I even got in, to be honest. I was lucky to have gotten in by four or five votes.
"One of the considerations, of course, in looking at how to bring in those Māori seats - was it going to be detrimental to the northern end or the southern end of our district, and I think that the proposal is balanced. It will bring more opportunity for our people to stand."
However, under the council proposal, a number of people from the Turakina Valley Rd area would be moved from the Southern to the Central general ward to ensure that councillors represented similar numbers of ratepayers. Hiroa said there were concerns from the Rātana community that Turakina and Rātana would not lose out to representatives from Bulls.
Written submissions on the proposal can be made until 30 September and can be heard as oral submissions on October 14.