Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall is looking to make good on his intention to have iwi representation on Whanganui District Council's three main committees.
He says the aim is to improve Māori participation in decision-making at the council table whether Māori wards are brought in or not, and representation with speaking and voting rights will be an advancement.
"In 2019 when I got re-elected I stood on the Opera House stage and I said I want iwi representation on the three main committees of council within this term.
"I've been talking to iwi leaders about how we'd do that successfully, how we'd get iwi representation with speaking and voting rights on our joint committees.
"I've got a model that I hope will work and I'll be socialising that with iwi leaders."
McDouall says he is looking to make headway on the plan in August-September.
In the meantime, Māori wards are still on the drawing board.
McDouall says he will write to local rūnanga to ask for their up-to-date position on establishing Māori seats for Whanganui District Council.
He says two years ago, after the council's last six-yearly representation review, the clear message was that Māori wards weren't needed.
"We are happy to consider Māori wards if it's the view of tangata whenua, and that's all three iwi in the rohe: Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Apa, Whanganui iwi.
"If there was a clear direction we'd absolutely vote on a Māori ward.
"My immediate action is to write to the heads of the rūnanga formally and say, look, this is our position. Please come back to council if you want us to consider Māori wards."