The race is on in Gisborne to replace outgoing mayor Meng Foon.

And because the two frontrunners are women, it's likely that Gisborne will get its first female mayor this October.

But Gisborne District Councillor Meredith Akuhata-Brown wants to take it a step further and become the region's first Māori mayor as well.

"When I first ran for council, I had people say, 'you probably won't get in the first time, Meredith. You're Māori and a woman'."


In 2013, Akuhata-Brown was elected to council.

"I've had six years of absolute learning," she said. "Discussing a whole lot of issues for our region and I realised that actually, I would love to be the first woman mayor of this region. And I would love to be that because I come from real grassroots of this region."

"The time has come for a bottom-up approach and I want to see more people participate. People need to realise that I work really hard as a district councillor. I have to, because there is still some strong unconscious and conscious bias, especially in regards to Māori."

In this interview with Local Focus she talks further about fighting racism, the issues facing Gisborne and how she would transform the region if voted as mayor.

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