Wellington City Councillor Sean Rush is seeking cultural training and has publicly apologised after turning his back on a waiata.
Rush has previously apologised to his colleagues for the incident, saying he meant no disrespect and didn't actually realise they were singing a waiata.
It happened at a full council meeting on Wednesday when a number of his colleagues stood to sing a waiata in support of an amendment to give mana whenua voting rights and remuneration on council committees.
Rush turned to face the window and crossed his arms, later telling the Herald he felt ambushed and excluded from behind-the-scenes discussions the night before.
He said he realised on reflection that turning his back was the wrong thing to do and apologised to his colleagues.
A petition launched on Sunday over the situation has been signed by more than 1000 people.
"This petition calls for Councillor Rush to attend diversity and sensitivity training surrounding Te Tiriti, the manner in which local govt representatives must work to uphold the tenets of Te Tiriti and ways to further support and uplift mana whenua, as well as issue a public apology," it said.
The petition was posted by Roxy Coervers, who claimed community members submitted their concerns to Rush and Mayor Andy Foster directly, but their requests for educational training and a public apology were "brushed off".
Foster confirmed he was cc'd into an email addressed to Rush outlining those concerns.
But he didn't feel he needed to respond as Rush already had.
The petition said Rush's behaviour amounted to a breach of the council's code of conduct.
"This behaviour is rude, problematic, inappropriate and disrespectful and is not indicative of how local residents wish to be represented in their local government, nor is it the manner in which an elected councillor should behave when presented with issues that directly affect local iwi."
Foster said he would review what happened against the council's code of conduct to determine whether it was in fact a breach.
"If it does, the remedies are relatively limited anyway and he's apologised already."
Rush posted a public apology on his Facebook page this afternoon.
"I deeply regret what happened and any offence caused. I was always taught to 'own' your mistakes and I certainly own this one, he said.
"In my various careers I have always strived for good outcomes for Māori. I hope I can earn the trust of Wellingtonians, and Māori in particular, to use my role on the Council to seek better outcomes for Māori here in Wellington.
"To ensure this type of error does not occur again I have asked for some training to learn more about the important cultural protocols that apply to councils and during council meetings."
Rush confirmed he completed Te Tiriti o Waitangi training as part of his induction as a councillor, but said it was from a regulatory perspective rather than on protocol.
Māori partnerships portfolio leader councillor Jill Day said she has actively encouraged her colleagues to learn waiata so they can support the mayor when he speaks at events.
Prior to lockdown they practised during Tuesday pre-meetings and sung together as recently as two weeks ago when the name Tākina was gifted to the Convention Centre, she said.
Day pushed for the incoming council to be schooled on race relations in October last year.
That was after Day accused councillor Simon Woolf of being racist over his reaction to the gift of a te reo Māori name for the city's Botanic Garden.
The stoush between the pair erupted after councillors were invited to an event acknowledging the gifting of the name Paekākā to the city by mana whenua.
Woolf said in an email he backed the council's te reo Māori policy but was concerned about the lack of transparency and consultation for the new name.
"There is a large segment of our community who for one reason or another (and believe it or not, most isn't race related) do not wish to see an unreasonable use of te reo seen in places where there may not be significance.
"This is equally important to some of our community, where the history of a place or area maybe altered by creating or, even adding a te reo name."
Day replied to Woolf saying his comments could not be "interpreted in any other way" than as racist.
"The last time I checked, there were many names across Aotearoa which were actively removed through the process of colonisation, no consultation, just removed."
Woolf told the Herald at the time he regretted what was said in the exchange and supported the training planned for the incoming council.