Media Release: First meeting of 2023 makes historic progress

This first meeting of the Māori Standing Committee (MSC) was held on 31 January where some significant moments were recognised and celebrated.

At the meeting held on Tuesday, Mayor Connelly informed the Chair, Andrea Rutene (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa), that there is now an opportunity for MSC members to be appointed with voting rights to some Council committees. “Our Committee is delighted with this news, and a formal letter has been sent to all membership bodies to confirm representation on the MSC. We have much to progress this triennium and having a voice and a vote at forums such as the Council’s committees is a key step in ensuring we are heard at the highest level”, said Ms Rutene.

She went on to say that “We also become part of the decision-making, and that is something we take seriously. It is about ensuring the best possible outcomes for our whanau and all in our communities”. The four committees are Finance, Infrastructure and Community Services, Climate Change and Environment, and Assurance and Risk.

The meeting was preceded by a riveting presentation from Haami Te Whaiti and Rawiri (Ra) Smith of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Settlement Trust who have over many years, with the help of local archaeologists, Drs Foss Leach and Janet Davidson, and Christine Barnett of Heritage NZ, been advocating for the protection of Māori archaeological sites in Wairarapa.

The challenge is to find a way that the district plan can provide for these highly significant sites so that they are not lost in the future as many are under pressure from coastal development and changing land use.

It was clear that documenting these sites by iwi is being undertaken with a great deal more certainty and accuracy than before. It is envisaged that the information held will inform the draft Wairarapa Combined District Plan to protect areas of significance to mana whenua as well as retaining history of Aotearoa dating back, in some instances, to 1100AD.

A hui will be held in March where the Māori Standing Committee will wananga about its key priorities. The Committee next meets on 27 April and the public are very welcome to attend. Details are on the Council’s website:

Media contact:
Sheil Priest, General Manager, Communications & Engagement
Mob: 027 252 2863    

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