Regional | Auckland Council

Efeso Collins to take iwi with him as super city mayor

Auckland mayoral candidate Efeso Collins is a son of Sāmoa and Tokelau, born and raised in Ōtara, a South-Sider made good. Now he is challenging the status quo.

But the race to become the next mayor of the country's largest city is heating up. Businessman Wayne Brown and councillor Collins are the two frontrunners for the Auckland mayoralty according to recent polls.

Collins was first elected to Auckland Council as a councillor in 2016. Now, in his pursuit of the top job, he says the council must understand its obligations to iwi completely.

"Under my mayoral leadership, we will be calling it Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. Because it's our Māori identity that really does set us apart from the rest of the world."

"The role of the council is to ensure we are working with iwi, that we understand who we should be speaking to, and that we reach positions that are going to be acceptable for everyone. I'm not an expert in how we understand those challenges."

Advisor and wards

Collins says there are plenty of avenues for him to achieve this.

"I'm going to have a senior Māori advisor in the office of the mayor because that person needs to guide me on what's the best option."

"I've been supportive of Māori wards since they were talked about, discussed, and resolved in 2016 by the current council, so I'd like to see the Māori wards. It's a discussion we don't need to have anymore because we voted on it. I think by the 2025 local government election we should have Māori wards in place for Auckland."

Collins isn't a newbie when it comes to engaging with Māori in Auckland. Tūpuna Maunga Authority of Auckland spokesman Paul Majurey says Collins must recognise different iwi have different approaches.

Close race

"What's important, always, is that relationship and being respectful of the mana motuhake of the iwi and how they want to engage. Do they want to be doing that on a one-on-one basis? Do they want to be at some form of collective table because there are lots of examples of both operating.

"He's a very hard-working, diligent person, very open to the relationships that are important in Tāmaki Makaurau, especially with mana whenua, mātāwaka, and all the various local communities of Tāmaki."

It won't be all plain sailing though, According to the latest Ratepayers' Alliance-Curia poll, candidate Wayne Brown has his nose in front at 28% to Collins' 26%.

So, it's all systems go until the 8th of October, when polls close.