Representation Review

Do you feel represented at the council table?

We’re undertaking a Representation Review to ensure that our communities are represented at Council fairly and effectively. Required every six years under the local government act, the review must consider things like how many elected members there are, community boards, and ward names and their boundaries.

South Wairarapa District Councils current arrangement consists of a mayor, who is chairperson of the Council and nine councillors elected via a constituency system (Wards).  You can find background on current and past representation here.

We’re currently asking for informal feedback via a survey about how South Wairarapa communities feel represented at the Council table. The valuable feedback we receive will help inform the next steps of the Representation Review, which will include formal community consultation in July about a proposed arrangement.

Why does representation review matter?
This is an important process because we want our elected members to reflect who we are. A review of how we are represented will:

  • enable the community to be involved in the discussion around how we are represented
  • ensure that the number of elected members suits our population and communities of interest; and
  • promote confidence in local democracy and the electoral process.

How you can get involved
Please review Council’s engagement survey to provide your feedback, details below.

The survey will be used to help inform Councils decision on a preferred representation arrangement, this will go to public consultation for South Wairarapa communities to have their say in July.

Representation Review timeline

Community engagement21 May – 5 June
Proposed arrangement approved by Strategic Working Committee3 July
Public consultationTBC July – August
Hearings & Deliberations TBC September
Representation option confirmed2 October
New (or maintained) arrangement to be in place for 2025 local elections

Share your feedback before 5 June

Feedback has now closed. Keep an ear out for the consultation on a proposed arrangement in July.

  • Email your thoughts or questions to


Why are we reviewing the structure of how we are represented?

The Local Electoral Act 2002 requires all councils to review how communities are represented every six years.  Representation reviews consider the number of elected representatives and the way in which they are elected.  The last representation review was in 2018.

Who is involved in making these decisions?

Council, with input from South Wairarapa communities, will make the final decision about how people and communities in our District will be represented.  The final decision will also be approved by the Local Government Commission.  

What is the current arrangement of Council?

South Wairarapa District Council consists of a mayor, who is chairperson of the Council and nine councillors elected via a constituency system (Wards) – there are three councillors for each of the wards – Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough.  

Is there a minimum number of councillors the district needs?

Yes, at least six but no more than 30, South Wairarapa currently has nine[APCA1] . 
Each elected member should represent roughly the same number of people. The population of each ward, divided by the number of members to be elected by their ward, must produce a figure no more than 10% greater or smaller than the population of the district, divided by the total of elected members. 

For example, if the population of a district is 10,000 people and there are 10 elected councillors, the arrangement of wards and councillors must be organised so that each councillor represents around 1,000 people (+ or – 10%).

This is important in working out the boundaries of wards and number of councillors per ward.

What are wards?

Wards are ways of splitting up a council area into smaller areas for election purposes. In South Wairarapa there are three wards – Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough.

What is an ‘at large’ ward?

‘At Large’ refers to elected representatives who are elected to represent the whole District, rather than a ward.

What are community boards?

A community board is an elected body that works locally in the specific geographic area it represents. Community boards are established in wards which cover a wide geographical area and contain groups with different communities of interest.

Will a Māori ward still go ahead?

A Māori ward for South Wairarapa was voted in favour of in November 2023. At present, we are including a Māori Ward as the status quo for the 2025 election until we are provided with clear guidelines on legislative change – we expect this in July 2024.

What is a Māori ward?

Māori wards provide a way for Māori to contribute to decision-making and have representation at Council. Those enrolled on the Māori electoral roll will vote for candidates standing for Māori wards.

What is councillors’ remuneration?

Remuneration for elected members is set by The Remuneration Authority based on the population of the district or region. If the number of elected members decreases or increases, the pool would remain the same. Find out more here.

What happens next?

The feedback from this survey will help inform the development of a proposed arrangement that Council will formally consult on.

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