The name of the Gisborne councillor alleged to have said "not enough" local Māori were killed by crew of the Endeavour is likely to be released tomorrow.
This was the outcome of a sometimes emotional special meeting today of Gisborne District Council, called to discuss comments by councillor Meredith-Akuhata Brown after the decision of a code of conduct review board was released last week, but its findings and the name of the councillors concerned were kept in public-excluded.
The process was initiated after Akuhata-Brown claimed she overheard a colleague say not enough Māori were killed by members of the Endeavour crew in 1769.
During today's meeting, she said she stood by her comments and did not accept the apology made by the councillor, which was made at a meeting between the two of them and deputy mayor Rehette Stoltz.
"I believed when it was offered it was an admission, an apology for the offensive comments made, but that apology was backhanded."
She now also realised she should have spoken up when she heard the comment made to another councillor.
She had not spoken up at the previous meeting to discuss the report because she was cognisant of the process the council had gone through and felt bound by it.
She was in tears when she got to the carpark after the previous meeting, and a racist email she received "nudged" her in the direction of speaking out again.
"[The email] said New Zealand would be better off if all Māori were dead.
"We still have people, who still hold on to such strong, colonial views around Māori."
Despite the code of conduct review process, she believed she had the right to express her views.
"It is a public interest issue. Like all generational things, unless we make a stand now, change won't happen.
"I am standing by this because I am tired. I have spent five years in this institution. I love the opportunity to be part of conversation governing this region but I cannot sit there any more and allow such wrong views to go by.
"I think it is really important that I stand now for the future of my children and their children."
She had heard over and over comments "in this place" that were detrimental to the wellbeing of Māori.
"I won't let these comments be said to our people, who are still struggling.
"I am not prepared to let those comments be a 'throwaway'. This is our time to stand up and say racism won't be part of this council.
"I am a true Kiwi. I was born in this place and I believe I am the person who should front this."
Some councillors expressed the view the council should go ahead and release the board's report, despite the fact that it had been threatened with a defamation action if the councillor's name was released.
Stoltz, who chaired the review board, said she had received racial abuse after the original decision of the council to not release the report, which would name the councillor involved.
The council today decided to call an extraordinary meeting tomorrow, at which a motion to release the minutes of the previous meeting including the report of the review board will be put and is likely to be carried.
The minutes would contain the name of the councillor who Akuhata-Brown said made the comment.
Stoltz said the council had three options. One was to keep the report of the board public-excluded because of the threat of legal action against the council, the second was to decide it did not want to keep the report in public-excluded and release it to the public.
The third was for Akuhata-Brown to name the person herself.
Akuhata-Brown said she was prepared to do that if she had council support but other councillors said she should not have to take that responsibility and the decision should be made by the council.
During the meeting councillor Bill Burdett inadvertently named the councillor involved when he asked, "are we going to hang ----- out to dry?"
Stoltz said she would inform the councillor who was said to have made the comment, who was not present at today's meeting, of the special meeting to be held tomorrow.
A decision for today's meeting to be an open one was made when it opened at 8.30am.
Opening the meeting, Stoltz said it had been called to get an explanation from Akuhata-Brown as to why she had made a statement after the council had agreed not to release the report.
She wanted to see where they went from here and how to move forward.
"I have said many times that I am disappointed about how this played out in the media."
A "GDC stop protecting racism rally" organised by six local people has this morning changed its name to "Thanks to GDC for not protecting racism rally".
The protest is timed to be held at the next full council meeting on September 27.
- with Gisborne Herald