National | Auckland Council

Tau Henare: Why should Māori have to move into a shed?

Tau Henare is the deputy chair of the Independent Māori Statutory Board. Photo / NZME

Auckland’s Independent Māori Statutory Board deputy chair and former MP Tau Henare wants Mayor Wayne Brown to leave the Māori money alone and has told council staff they are not moving from their plush downtown waterfront offices to uptown Albert Street.

Brown and the Auckland Council are looking to slice $250 million from the city’s operating budget, and nothing is off the table.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown. Photo / Dean Purcell / NZME

Henare, a Matawaka - a Māori living in the Auckland region who is not a Mana Whenua (Māori who have historic and territorial rights over the land) - representative on the six-person board, says Māori spending should be ring-fenced and protected from Wayne Brown’s “mitts”.

Henare says in the 12+ years of the Auckland Super City, Māori have never had a fair go and the paltry putea (money) set aside each budget is always under-spent.

He says there are plenty of other places to look to make in the $250m budget shortfall, rather than make Māori feel even more left out.

“But there is some good news from the IMSB viewpoint,” Henare told the Herald.

“There will be no cuts to Māori in terms of the Māori money, but a lot of the Māori money is tied to the arts and festivals and some events and funding, which may have been seen as Māori money, will be cut in the proposals.

“Reality is the money given for Māori is beer money, but from what I am hearing is the purview of the IMSB money will not be touched.”

Independent Māori Statutory Board offices at 16 Viaduct Avenue on Auckland's Waterfront. Photo / Google Maps / September 2023

Henare added council wanted the IMSB to shift from its offices on Auckland’s waterfront - where they have been since 2014 - to the Albert St council building.

“They wanted us out of our waterfront offices, and admittedly it’s a nice office, but why should Māori have to move into a shed?

“They said you have to move up to Albert St to be with the other council staff, but they forget that the IMSB is independent and it says so in the legislation. We don’t belong to council.”

The IMSB mission is to advance the interests of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau by:

  • helping Auckland Council to make decisions, perform functions and exercise powers that improve outcomes for Māori
  • promoting cultural, economic, environmental and social issues of significance to Māori.
  • ensuring the Auckland Council acts in accordance with statutory provisions relating to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
    Henare said the IMSB feels it is constantly fighting a rearguard action against the council bureaucracy.