Ngāti Whātua Reluctantly Joins Auckland City Maori Advisory Board

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua has reluctantly decided to participate in the Maori Advisory Board to be set up as part of the new Auckland Council structure, but has vowed alongside Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei to continue to fight for representation on the full council.

Chair, Naida Glavish, says Ngāti Whātua as an iwi has always been willing to engage with the leadership of the city ever since the days of Hobson, even in blatantly flawed forms of governance.

She says Ngāti Whātua will continue to fight for true partnership and representation in the governance of Tāmaki Makaurau as Mana Whenua.

“It is a shame the Maori Advisory Board, the governance and management structures of the new Auckland City will continue to disappoint the people of the region as they will perpetuate the inefficiencies and lack of representation that currently exist,” she says.

“There is a distinct lack of vision for the future of the city and that is evident in the exclusion of the immense opportunities Mana Whenua offer; to position the city as dynamic, culturally rich and unique in its people and environments.“

Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei Maori Trust Board spokesman Ngarimu Blair says this Maori Advisory Board will be seen as an interim step to real representation.

He says these types of boards have not been of any value in the past, therefore it is a little odd for a new look council to recreate old structures; unless the aim is to try and contain Maori aspirations rather than truly engage in a 21st Century way.

“We are very clear that this lightweight board does not replace direct consultation with Ngāti Whātua that is a Treaty obligation for the Auckland Council under the Local Government Act and the Resource Management Act.

“We are joining this Maori Advisory Board on the basis that it is there to advise only and contact between the Advisory Board and the Council cannot be construed as consultation with Ngāti Whātua proper.”

Therefore, Blair says, the Maori Advisory Board represents a duplication of bureaucratic layers, a duplication of cost and process which runs contrary to the reason that was given for the new Council structure being put in place.

He says Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei is joining the advisory board because as Mana Whenua of central Auckland the hapu has an obligation to participate and looks forward to working with other Iwi to hold the Council to account for its decisions.