Hundreds of people have signed up to a new Northland campaign fighting for Māori seats on the region's councils.
"We have been encouraged by the level of support," Kevin Grose, Inclusion Northland campaign leader said.
Northland Regional Council (NRC), Kaipara (KDC) and Whangārei District (WDC) councils recently made groundbreaking first-time decisions to include designated Māori seats on their councils.
Grose is spearheading the two-pronged Inclusion Northland campaign in support of these decisions.
"It's great NRC, KDC and WDC councillors, on behalf of their constituents, made well-informed decisions in favour of having Māori seats," Grose said.
"It's disappointing Far North District Council didn't go the same way.
"We know there are a lot of Northlanders in favour of these seats on their local council."
The Inclusion Northland campaign plans to deliver a petition to Parliament early next year calling for changes to the Local Electoral Act so that electors can no longer demand a poll about councils' Māori seats decisions.
Such polls almost always overturn these decisions, as has been the case with eight of New Zealand's nine most-recent polls.
Māori seats proponents are also adding signatures on Inclusion Northland's separate statements of support letters which will be formally delivered to NRC and WDC early next year.
Inclusion Northland was at the Whangārei Growers Market on Saturday, and plans to be again this weekend, gathering signatures.
"We want to support the councils and keep Māori seats in place," Grose said.
"There are a lot of people in our Tai Tokerau community who are in favour of Māori wards."
The group has set up a website - inclusionnorthland.weebly.com - where people are also able to download petition forms.
Grose said it was important Northlanders in favour of the seats made their views known.
The group was created on November 27. It came as a 10,000-plus signature petition is delivered to Parliament by a Whakatane-based group also calling for removal of electors' rights under the Local Electoral Act to demand a referendum over council's Māori seats decisions.
Grose said it was important Northlanders added their voice to this already-delivered campaign.
The three Northland councils that voted for Māori seats made up the only regional group among New Zealand's record nine councils that this year voted for Māori wards. Northland was also the only region where all its councils considered Māori seats at the same time.
He said the just-delivered petition showed how much of a groundswell there was in favour of the seats.
"Māori wards are important," he said.
The Government has strongly signalled it will remove the right of electors under the Local Electoral Act to be able to demand a poll on council Māori seats decisions by the next local government elections in 2022.
But Grose said it was important the Government moved more quickly in the short term to deal with that right for the nine councils that have voted in favour of Māori wards this year.
Those councils are Gisborne, Kaipara, New Plymouth Ruapehu, South Taranaki, Taupō and Whangarei district councils along with Tauranga City Council and NRC.
Grose said Māori wards offered diversity and inclusion.
They were part of Te Tiriti o Waitangi expectations of Māori having a greater governance role than happened currently.
Hundreds of Northlanders opposed to Māori wards have already signed up to New Zealand's biggest opposition polling demand campaign.
Democracy Northland wants 11,000 signatures across three citizen-initiated petitions to oppose recent decisions in favour of Māori wards/constituencies by the three Northland councils.
Polling for the three councils which have voted in favour of the seats would cost a total of around $360,000.