November 15, 2020
South Taranaki joins push for Maori wards
A South Taranaki Council community representative says the council’s decision to support the establishment of a Māori ward is courageous and right.
Bonita Bingham, who serves on the Taranaki Coastal Community Board, says it’s a significant day for iwi in a district where the land confiscation and scorched earth policies of the 19th century continue to have an impact in the 21st.
She says attitudes are changing, and there is a greater desire in the council to collaborate and to understand the significance of iwi as treaty partners, not just interested parties.
"People are seeing the light. They are understanding that having Māori voices at those higher tables of power is not threatening. If anything it adds far more flavour, far more information and far more understanding and robust decision making for all our communities," she says.
Ms Bingham says while the threat remains of a petition calling for a referendum which could overturn the decision, supporters are also mobilising to defend the council.
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