Mana whenua representatives could sit on all Wellington City Council (WCC) committees and subcommittees with full voting rights and remuneration of $111,000 for each iwi by July this year.
A report with details of the move to give mana whenua voting rights on WCC committees was made public this week.
Wellington city councillor and Māori partnerships portfolio leader Jill Day said it's an issue the council has been "lagging behind" on.
The process is happening alongside consultation on an in-principle decision to establish a Māori ward, now the Government has abolished a law that allows local referendums to veto such decisions.
In draft Long-Term Plan deliberations, councillors also voted to consult on increased operating expenditure for the Māori and Mana Whenua Partnerships budget to $3 million per annum in years 2 to 10 of the plan.
Currently, representatives of Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust and Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Incorporated are members of two council committees.
While they have a seat at the table and can discuss and debate matters, they do not have the right to vote and are not remunerated.
The report identified a preferred option to change this by allowing two representatives to sit on all council committees and subcommittees with full voting rights, excluding the CEO Performance Review Committee.
The representatives would be from Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira.
Under this option, the respective iwis would be paid an annual fee equivalent to the remuneration of a full time elected member, which is currently $111,225.
This would be in place from July 2021.
The remuneration has been worked out through the calculation that if a single representative were to sit on all committees and subcommittees they would have a similar workload to an elected member.
The report said mana whenua indicated they may nominate one representative to sit on all committees or different representatives to sit on committees relevant to their individual skill set.
Day said it's something that should have happened a long time ago.
"It's actually been really frustrating and disappointing to be a part of a council that has been lagging behind, so this feels like a really important step but a step that we need to hurry up with.
"This is a really important opportunity to uplift the voice of mana whenua."
The other options set out in the report are to maintain the status quo or have representatives on the council's main three committees with voting rights and an annual remuneration of $88,980 a year for each iwi.
Wellington city councillors will debate and vote on the options on Thursday.
Other local authorities across New Zealand have also moved to partner with Māori through representation.
On Tuesday, Horizons Regional Council held its inaugural meeting of the Climate Action Joint Committee.
Chairwoman Rachel Keedwell said it was the first time tangata whenua representatives will be formally appointed to any Horizons committee and have full voting rights.
"The committee will use scientific evidence and Mātauranga Māori to form and achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation. We will also share information, facilitate collaborative action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate change impacts", Keedwell said.
In Hamilton, the city council already has one or two iwi representatives sitting on all committees.
Remuneration is provided as an annual fee per appointee per committee, with the cost of appointments estimated at $110,000 per year.
Auckland Council has an Independent Māori Statutory Board that nominates representatives to several council committees. They have voting rights and are remunerated as board members.
When Day asked for a report into mana whenua voting rights at WCC last year, she said conversations about representation were happening all around Aotearoa.
"In fact we're seeing daily that councils are coming on board with talking about Māori wards and representation and I feel the tide is turning."