South Taranaki will have two Māori wards at next year's local body election, each covering half the district, rather than a single ward with two seats.
On Monday councillors approved their final proposal for South Taranaki District's representation review, sparked by the adoption of Māori seats last November.
Council chief executive Waid Crockett told councillors Ngāruahine and Ngāti Ruanui iwi had together determined the ward boundary, which mirrors their tribal boundary.
The northwestern Māori ward covers the rohe of Ngāruahine and Taranaki, and those iwi had named the ward Te Kūrae (the peninsula).
The southeastern Māori ward encompasses Ngāti Ruanui and Ngā Rauru iwi, which had named it Te Tai Tonga (the south coast).
The representation review did not include debate on whether or not to have Māori wards, as that had already been decided at last November's meeting.
Despite that, some submitters opposed the seats, with a Mr Adams calling them "racism at its best… creating racial tension".
Graeme Fendall wrote that the council "should be advocating for ONE New Zealand, not having separate councillors by race or group".
"My thoughts are [to] be careful what you create for our future."
But most submitters supported the Māori wards as proposed, with 70 per cent in favour and only 20 per cent opposed.
Among the supporters was Federated Farmers, which said the Māori wards were "an effective way to get fair and equal representation for the Māori constituency around the district".
Splitting the district, rather than having a single Māori ward with two seats, means each voter on the Māori roll will have only a single vote to cast for a candidate.
The introduction of Māori seats has seen the number of councillors increase by one, with the coastal ward losing a seat.
The other wards are Taranaki Coastal with two seats, Eltham-Kaponga with two seats, Te Hāwera with five seats, and Pātea with two seats.
The cost of councillors will not rise as a district's councillor pay pool is decided by the Remuneration Authority, then divvied up between however many councillors the district chooses.
The council's proposal now goes to the Local Government Commission for determination, as some of the wards have a share of district population outside the plus-or-minus 10 per cent variance set by the Electoral Act.
However, councillors are confident the proposal will be accepted as providing fair representation for various communities of interest.