A bursting public gallery. Heckles from the public and between councillors. A councillor storming out of the council chamber. A stirring waiata.
The introduction of Māori wards to Rotorua was an emotional affair for many, for vastly different reasons.
It's a national conversation that has seen some argue they're a way of embedding the Treaty of Waitangi in local government.
For others, they're special treatment for one group.
Local Democracy Reporter Felix Desmarais finds, in Rotorua, they are not just contentious but also complex.
'Stop thinking about yourself, Trevor'
I ask veteran district councillor Trevor Maxwell if we can meet at his place to talk - it's a much less sterile backdrop for a video. It's a no-go today. "I'll wear a colourful scarf," Maxwell emails back.
Sure enough, Maxwell turns up to the Rotorua Daily Post office with his colourful scarf and works the room before we usher him into one of those sterile meeting rooms to kōrero about Māori wards.
"We pretty much made history" establishing Te Tatau, he says proudly, waving clippings from the paper from that time. Te Tatau o te Arawa is a partnership with voting members on council committees but not at the council level.
He was worried whether that legacy would be ruined by Māori wards.
The main concern was those on the Māori roll - Maxwell among them - wouldn't be able to vote for all councillors, only those running in the Māori wards.
He's never been a fan of the ward system because it means people could be disenfranchised from voting for people they supported in wards outside their own.
However, he'd been convinced by a council report prepared for the council which said in other districts, controversy had arisen "mainly when a council has declined or postponed establishing a Māori ward".
"To establish a Māori ward may attract controversy and anti-Māori sentiment," the report said.
"On the other hand, not establishing a Māori ward will almost inevitably lead to a loss of reputation and credibility in the eyes of Te Arawa and central government."
The report stated if Māori wards were introduced, the allocation of seats on the council would reflect the population split of 72 per cent on the general roll and 28 per cent on the Māori roll.
If the council was made up of 10 elected members, three would be Māori ward councillors.
Māori roll voters could only vote for Māori ward councillors but could still vote for the mayor and rural or lakes community board members, if applicable.
Support for the wards from younger whānau members also influenced his decision.
"I thought, stop thinking about yourself Trevor, and [think about] what is best for the future. Māori might not be as fortunate as I have been."
Though he stands by his vote, Maxwell still seems conflicted about the issue.
"[It's] not that I'm against Māori wards for around the country.
"I was for Māori wards for other areas bar Rotorua ... a lot of [Māori in other regions] don't even have a voice, so I celebrate with them that they've got something now."
He says Māori wards do guarantee Māori representation on the council, though "even non-Māori can stand for a seat" - not that that would be a problem, in Maxwell's view.
"It would be chosen by our people."
He hopes Māori wards aren't used as justification to render Te Tatau redundant.
"I'd hate to see ... people [say] 'you guys can go away now, we've got our three members in our wards here'."
'I don't think that guarantee is needed'
Reynold Macpherson left the room before the vote on decision day and says his opposition to Māori wards was not clear-cut.
He's laid out his arguments on paper, set neatly in front of him at his dining table.
"I was quite divided on the issue but I probably would have voted against the introduction of Māori wards."
Māori wards would also ensure everyone's democratic and human rights were "safeguarded", he says.
Under the current model, those who were elected had "the full mandate from everybody", which he says would be preferable to three councillors having a mandate from just Māori.
"That divides us … on a racial basis.
"Most of the issues that [the] council deals with, I believe, should be dealt with on a whole-of-community basis."
I point out the counter-argument from some that the wards guarantee seats at the top table for tangata whenua.
"I don't think that guarantee is needed," Macpherson says.
"We've consistently elected a disproportionate number of people who self-declare as Māori or self-declare as Te Arawa. They've had very strong representation, I don't see that changing.
"If you then start dividing people on the basis of their ethnicity ... it's going to change the way people think and feel about who they should elect."
He said he left the chamber in protest on decision day, because of interruptions from other councillors while he spoke.
"The outcome of the vote would have been reflective of a deliberately distorted process. So why persist? It's better to make the point by walking out."
The Te Tatau report to the council stated there was strong support from Te Arawa to move towards co-governance, with Māori wards a step toward that.
Macpherson says he's opposed to co-governance.
"Fifty-fifty co-governance by an ethnic group in our community which comprises 25 or 28 per cent … would violate the Bill of Rights.
"If you give that group 50 per cent of the power, you no longer have democracy. It would introduce a new form of sovereignty."
He says he understands the arguments for co-governance related to the Treaty of Waitangi.
"But neither the Local Government Act nor the Bill of Rights Act embeds the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi."
He says power should be shared with Māori "proportionately".
"On our council our majority typically comprises a substantial number of people of Te Arawa descent. It's not impossible for … Te Arawa perspectives to come through and to be dominant in the decision-making."
Macpherson acknowledges Māori have "special status as mana whenua" and says he's "very respectful of that".
He says he wants to see reform in Te Tatau o Te Arawa to represent the interests of Māori more broadly.
In his opinion, a consultation process with the wider community would have given the decision more legitimacy and the lack of wider consultation could leave the decision vulnerable to a judicial review.
'I'm not here to be liked'
We meet Tania Tapsell in a committee room at the Rotorua Lakes Council building. The 2020 National Party East Coast candidate is wearing a crisp suit and looks, as always, as if she's just walked off the Parliamentary forecourt.
She acknowledges for some, it was a "shock" she voted against Māori wards but says they could be a "backwards step" for mana whenua.
"The reason for having Māori wards was to ensure fair representation and to, hopefully, get more Māori into councils.
"For Rotorua … that has not been an issue."
With four Māori councillors this term, and Māori often polling well, she says, Rotorua has a "pretty good track record" of valuing Māori representatives.
Her big reason for opposition was people on the Māori electorate roll would be restricted to only voting for Māori wards.
"I believed [Māori] should be able to vote for up to 10 councillors which everybody else can do."
She says voting against Māori wards has been "quite hard", given the room was filled with Te Arawa people who wanted them.
She believed many of those people respected her for standing up for what she believed in.
"I'm not here to be liked, I'm here to make a difference and to make the right decision."
She says she hasn't received "a single bad message" about her vote. She is happy with her decision and not worried about it impacting the polls at next year's local election.
"When the problem to others was 'we need to guarantee a seat for Māori at the table' … actually that question we should be asking is how do we ensure that mana whenua are there.
"We're trying to do this to have fair representation, to acknowledge Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and if we're truly doing that, then we should be doing it in a way that represents mana whenua."
Tapsell suggests what should have been looked at was improving the Te Tatau model and ensuring hapū such as Ngāti Whakaue had a better voice instead of "some token seats".
There'd been some online commentary Tapsell's vote might have been influenced by her allegiance to the National Party, but she says it had nothing to do with it.
"I do find it really disappointing people have tried to use [my allegiance to the National Party] as an excuse for me being staunch in my beliefs and values, because this was ... a decision I made as a councillor here … [what] I believed was right for Rotorua."
Looking ahead now the decision on Māori wards in Rotorua has been made, she says she will be "fighting hard" for Māori roll voters to also have a say on councillors-at-large.
"I think it's a great disservice to reduce their influence in who represents them on council to only being a percentage of the people at the table.
"I'm not confident but I have a small hope that we'll still be able to find a way for those on the Māori electoral roll to feel like they're getting value out of their vote."
Māori wards - not 'a sinister thing'
Te Taru White is Te Tatau o Te Arawa's chairman and a Māori ward councillor on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, representing Ōkurei.
The regional council has had Māori constituencies since 2004.
We meet at the Te Tatau office, less than 30m from the council entrance.
White believes Māori wards at the regional council have worked well and while Māori constituency councillors - there are three out of 14 - are outnumbered, decisions are based on reasoning and persuasion.
Not all three Māori ward councillors always have the same view on a topic.
"It's a political beast, but it depends on how you play that politic.
"It's not just Māori who support Māori."
White is aware of some criticism around Te Tatau's consultation but rejects it - there has been at least one hui where there were 3000 people engaged on a live stream.
He says consultation was as good as it could be given the small timeframe.
He did not share concerns such as those expressed by Tapsell on the limitation for those on the Māori roll, saying many Māori people were also on the general roll.
"They can vote at large … and potentially add another one or two, if they vote strategically."
He was not concerned people who were not Māori or Te Arawa could stand in the Māori wards.
"If that happens then … the people of Te Arawa want that - or they just haven't got off their backsides to go and vote."
White says co-governance is ideal but would require legislative change. Māori wards were a step towards it.
Co-governance meant a 50/50 partnership "in respect of the Treaty and the obligations of the Treaty" as some believe it to be.
"Te Tatau right now, we are a partnership in progress. We don't have votes around the top table, … we are [permitted] to certain parts of [the] council but not to others."
He believed Te Tatau wouldn't have been established if the Māori wards and Māori Constituencies Amendment had already been in place and the council and Te Arawa hadn't tried to implement wards because the provision for a referendum still existed.
White says he would have been "quite happy" for there to have been wider consultation, but it wasn't Te Tatau's call.
"Wards aren't a sinister thing, they're actually something to improve the engagement and hopefully improve the decisions for the benefit of the wider community. It's a way of improving diversity, it's a way of delivering equity.
"You might get the same view back from the wider community, proportionately, but the fact is the council must now decide … irrespective of what they're hearing necessarily, but in their own judgment call."
White says the timing was critical for Te Arawa and the council - the decision couldn't have been delayed.
"It would have been quite challenging, strategically, for the council to not have gone with wards, when we were seen as the leader up front in working with iwi."
Regarding Macpherson's statement Te Tatau could better represent all Māori, White said what was good for Te Arawa was often good for understanding what was good for Māori.
"If Māori who are here felt we were compromising them, let them speak out. Not Reynold."
How it unfolded
In March, the Labour Government passed the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act.
The new law closed the door on a law which would allow electors to prompt a local referendum on Māori wards if a council voted to establish them, and 5 per cent of electors voted for a referendum on the decision.
It gave councils until May 21 to resolve to establish Māori wards for the 2022 local elections, regardless of any previous decisions or previous poll outcomes.
Rotorua Lakes Council invited Te Tatau o Te Arawa to make a recommendation on the issue.
After consultation it recommended establishing Māori wards and retaining Te Tatau. Those consulted expressed "strong views" for a 50/50 power split.
On May 21 Rotorua Lakes Council voted in favour of Te Tatau's recommendation, with two councillors - Tania Tapsell and Raj Kumar - opposed.
Another councillor - Reynold Macpherson - walked out of the council chambers before the vote.
Others, such as long-standing councillor Trevor Maxwell, voted in favour of Māori wards but said he did so reluctantly.
A representation review, a six-yearly legislative requirement likely to be out for public consultation in September, will consider the total number of council members and the number, name and boundaries of the Māori wards.