Policies for Liaising with Maori
The Manawatu District is home to a number of Marae. In recognition of the important part they play within the community and because of a request from a Tangata Whenua Representative Group, a Marae Consultative Standing Committee was created in 1998. Its principal purpose is to liaise between Council and local Tangata Whenua.
Membership of the committee initially comprised one member from Aorangi, Kauwhata, Parewahawaha, Poupatate, Te Rangimarie, Taumata o te Ra, Te Hiiri and Te Tikanga Marae, along with three elected members appointed by the Council with the Chairperson being appointed by the committee. The Marae of Kotuku and Te Iwa were added shortly after the committee was established.
In May 2014, the committee requested that Council give consideration to extending the membership of the committee to include representation from the hapu of Ngati Te Au, Ngati Rakau (Motuiti Marae) and Ngati Turanga (Paranui Marae) as although they are located in the Horowhenua District, they have mana whenua status within the Manawatu District. This is a similar situation to Parewahawaha Marae which is located in the Rangitikei District, but who have mana whenua status in the Manawatu District. Council accepted the committee's request and invited representation from the three suggested hapu. The hapu of Ngati Te Au and Ngati Turanga took up Council's invitation and are now represented on the committee.
In November 2015 the committee was renamed "Ngā Manu Tāiko Manawatū District Council".
A continuing focus for Ngā Manu Tāiko Manawatū District Council will be to ensure that all Maori of the district are represented, and are able to have a say in Council decision making and that Council is liaising with the people who have mana whenua.
Ngā Manu Tāiko Manawatū District Council meets on a bi-monthly basis, with items of business reflecting Council's current activities and issues identified by committee members.
The committee meetings provide a forum for regular communication and is one avenue for tangata whenua to have input into Council's decision making processes.
In 2015, Ngā Manu Tāiko Manawatū District Council established Te Kaunihera Working Group as a mans of working through specific outcomes. This Working Group reports directly to Ngā Manu Tāiko Manawatū District Council.
The Local Electoral Act 2001 provides for the establishment of Maori Ward(s). Consideration of the establishment of a Maori ward in the Manawatu District is required to be done before 23 November, two years prior to the next election.
In November 2017 the Council resolved to establish a Māori Ward in the Manawatū District for electoral purposes. The public notice detailed the public’s right to demand a poll to countermand this decision.
A valid demand was received from electors and a poll held in May 2018 to determine whether Council’s decision to establish a Māori Ward was final and would remain in force for the next two triennia (i.e. 2019-2022 and 2022-2025) or be overturned.
The majority of those electors who voted in the poll voted against the proposal to establish a Māori Ward. Under the current legislation the Council cannot consider establishing a Māori Ward in the Manawatū District until November 2023.