Two young Far North District councillors have been recognised nationally for their leadership skills.
Moko Tepania, 29, has been appointed co-chairman of the Local Government New Zealand Young Elected Members' Committee, which represents elected members under the age of 40 on the LGNZ National Council.
It has 10 members selected from around the country, the Far North District Council being the only authority with two representatives.
Councillor Rachel Smith represents the Zone 1 geographic area, while Tepania is Te Maruata Roopu Whakahaere representative, another national council subcommittee that is focused on promoting Māori representation and participation in local government.
Smith is also an elected member of the LGNZ Governance and Strategy Advisory Group.
Far North Mayor John Carter said Tepania's appointment as co-chairman was recognition of the strong leadership skills he had demonstrated since being elected to the district council last year.
"He is our youngest councillor, and the youngest elected member in Northland.
"However, he has very quickly made an impression, and proved to be a strong advocate for greater recognition and participation of Māori in local politics," Carter said.
In December 2019 he had called on all councils to respect the New Zealand Declaration of Independence by not holding meetings on October 28, and last month he presented what was thought to be New Zealand's first bilingual council meeting report to his fellow councillors, calling for an appropriately resourced review of Māori representation to be implemented.
Tepania said he was both humbled and excited to represent the Far North on the committees.
"He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. At the heart of what we do are the people. Time to do some mahi," he said.
Carter added that two national leadership roles being taken on by two of the district's youngest and newest councillors was proof the district was progressive and increasingly inclusive.