The majority of those who took part in a council survey want to see Māori wards introduced in Whanganui.
Whanganui District Council’s online Māori wards consultation asked in August and early September for community feedback on whether Māori wards should be established.
Council chief executive David Langford said more than 500 people completed the survey.
“We’ve also received some letters from iwi and hapū. Overall, there was just over a majority in favour of the Māori wards.
“It’s been a really good response from the community.”
The full results of the survey, including the number of people who responded in favour of Māori wards, were expected to be released next week.
Langford said the response showed times were changing.
“If you look across the country, over 30 councils now have Māori wards and it’s worked well for them. I think the community as a whole has seen that it’s not as big or scary as they originally thought, so there’s a greater degree of acceptance.”
Langford said council staff have been reviewing the feedback and preparing reports for the council to consider.
“The process going forward now – we are writing the reports that we need to put to council so that the elected members can make a decision.”
The council is expected to make its decision next Tuesday, 24 October.
On its website, the council said Māori wards were one way for councils to honour the principle of partnership committed to through Te Tiriti o Waitangi, because they guaranteed that Māori would be represented on the council.
The council must decide on Māori wards by 23 November if they are to be introduced in time for the 2025 local elections.
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