Strengthening iwi and Māori Participation in Council Decision-Making

Council recognises that we need to build capacity and capability in order to have effective and meaningful partnerships with the iwi of Te Tauihu. Valuing and nurturing these relationships enriches the whole community and builds the cultural wellbeing of Nelson. We are committed to:

  • Continuing to strengthen genuine partnerships with all eight iwi of Te Tauihu at governance, management and operational levels
  • Supporting iwi and Māori to participate in local government
  • Providing opportunities for Council to build its cultural competency.

As part of the development of the Long Term Plan, Council and iwi held a series of hui to discuss the Activity Management Plans which support the Plan.

Key initiatives to build Māori capacity to engage with Council decision-making over the next 10 years include:

  • Continuing regular iwi-Council hui at both governance and management levels
  • Increasing iwi/Māori representation across Council’s governance structure
  • Supporting events and activities to promote te reo Māori me ōna tikanga within the Whakatū Nelson community, including Te Huihui-o-Matariki - Matariki Festival, and Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week).

The government recently enacted the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Act, to make the process for establishing Māori wards for local authorities the same as the process for general wards. Council has previously advocated for a change to this process and made a submission in support of this amendment.

Nelson has been offered the exciting opportunity to host Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival in 2026 - pending the successful hosting of two major competitions leading up to Te Matatini. These are Te Mana Kuratahi, the National Primary Schools Kapa Haka Competition in 2021, and Ngā Kura Tuarua Kapa Haka, the National Secondary School Kapa Haka Competition in 2022.

Te Matatini is a biennial national event hosted by a different region each year. It is a world-class four day festival showcasing Māori performance in competitive kapa haka. Te Matatini 2026 and its lead-in events may provide an economic boost of up to $20 million to the region over the next five years, with a very large number of visitors expected. The events over the next five years will be an opportunity for all people, regardless of ethnicity, background or age to come together, to share in and celebrate Māori culture.

Total costs for this major undertaking have not yet been finalised. This is a partnership project for Te Tauihu (the Top of the South) and once there is more certainty around budgets there is an expectation that our neighbouring councils will also allocate funding. Council has included $100,000 per annum in its draft budgets for 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25, plus $40,000 in 2020/21, 2023/24 and 2025/26 to support venue costs. We will also support a part-time Kaituitui Ahurea (Events Coordinator).

There are many organisations contributing to the wellbeing of the community that Council collaborates with, particularly as the Nelson region navigates its recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. With a common desire to see people of all ages and backgrounds thriving and living safe and happy lives in Nelson, we can all play a part in our region’s recovery and regeneration. During a time when the community is under extra pressure our programmes and projects need to deliver on multiple priorities. Working together is a cost effective way of getting better outcomes for everyone, and ensuring Council is not always relying on ratepayer funding but looking for other contributions where possible.