National | Elections

Rotorua council to have three Māori ward seats: 'We're ecstatic'

Pōwhiri at Rotorua Council in 2019.  Photo / File

Te Tatau o Te Arawa is "elated" Rotorua will have three Māori ward seats at the next local election.

“We are ecstatic that our people have been heard," says Jude Pani, manahautū (chief executive) of the body that represents more that 43,000 Te Arawa uri.

In November, the local council decided there would be one Māori ward seat, one general ward seat and eight at large seats in October's local election. However, a dissatisfied Te Tatau o Te Arawa appealed this decision, "with endorsement from many Te Arawa hapū, iwi and trusts".

On Friday, the local government commission overturned the council's decision and determined that there should be one Māori ward with three seats, one general ward with six seats and one rural ward.

"The decision aligns with what Te Arawa descendants and many enrolled on the Māori roll, asked for during our engagement on Māori Wards and the Representation Review," Pani says.

"It's a win-win for us. We’re no longer solely relying on the Rotorua District Council (Representation Arrangements) Bill being passed by Parliament to see three seats around the Council table come 8 October.

The commission has also made decisions on Māori representation across many of the country's other councils.