Taupō District Council has voted to introduce Māori wards for the 2022 and 2025 local body elections.
Mayor David Trewavas has described the move as "a landmark decision".
At an extraordinary meeting held today, the council voted 7-3 in favour of establishing the wards.
Staff were also directed to continue working in collaboration with Māori and iwi to further analyse and develop a package of specific actions the council could undertake to improve Māori representation in decision-making.
The Local Government Act 2002 requires councils to establish and maintain processes to ensure Māori contribute to local government decision making.
Under the Act, the council must also review its representation arrangements every six years. Taupō District Council brought this decision forward, to ensure a decision on Māori wards would be made in time for the 2022 election.
Trewavas said the decision was about strengthening relationships and furthering the council's commitment to Māori representation in council decision-making.
"This process has been an evolving one, with ongoing discussions and hui held to identify ways to improve Māori representation, including a decision to establish representatives on council committees in 2019.
"This is another step we are taking to enable more Māori to participate in decision-making and to ensure council is more representative of our district as a whole.
"Māori make up 30 per cent of our district and it is important we are working in partnership to help engage our community and improve opportunities for Māori to contribute to local government decision-making processes.
"I am immensely proud of being part of a council that has made this decision for the good of our community and showing leadership where it matters," Trewavas said.
A public notice will be issued later this week, advising the right to a poll to countermand the decision if five per cent of enrolled electors (1241 people) demand it by February 22, 2021.
If a valid demand for a poll is received by February 22, a poll will be held by May 21, 2021.
The results of the poll are binding for six years.
If the council's resolution is not revoked by a poll, it will need to carry out a Representation Review to determine the number of councillors, how the councillors are elected, the number and location of Māori wards, and the continuation of existing wards and community boards.