Regional | Te Tauihu Iwi

‘Mutually beneficial’: Iwi cadets welcomed to Te Tauihu councils

The beginning of a Te Tauihu councils cadetship programme is hoped to boost iwi engagement capability across the top of the south.

The Te Aka Pūkenga programme being run across Nelson City, Tasman and Marlborough District councils with support from with eight iwi of Te Tauihu was launched with a pōwhiri, welcoming the first cadets for Nelson and Tasman on March 18.

Funded through the government’s Better Off funding, the three cadets will work within their respective councils for the next year across various roles in an effort to increase iwi capability and give the cadets exposure to the inner workings of local government.

Tasman District Council’s kaihautū hononga Renee Thomas (Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Tama, Te Ātiawa, Ngāi Tahu) said pressure from requests from council regarding local government processes had been growing for iwi, so she hoped the cadetships would “fill a gap” regarding iwi engagement.

“In Tasman, we have quite a large area and there’s lots of room for growth and development, so there’s a lot of subdivisions, a lot of big restoration projects, and they all require iwi engagement, iwi consultation - even right down to recourse contests.

“Having an understanding of what those processes look like and how they work will build up capacity amongst the iwi.”

Tasman District Council’s cadet Kelly Hayes (Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō) had previously been working with the council and was excited to strengthen her connections over the next year.

Tasman’s chief executive Leonie Rae said Hayes’s return would boost the council’s relationship with iwi, as well as providing intergenerational benefit and a deeper understanding of local government functions.

Nelson City Council’s cadet Rangi Anderson has whakapapa outside the rohe from Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Te Ranginui, however her whānau had strong connections within Te Tauihu, Thomas said.

Anderson was looking forward to building a stronger future for whānau in the rohe.

“Personally, it means a lot to me working with Te Kaunihera o Whakatū as well as the local iwi - helping to make a change for everyone and making a difference for āpōpō (tomorrow),” she said.

Nelson City Council Māori ward councillor Kahu Paki Paki (Te Ātiawa, Taranaki) said the cadetships would be mutually beneficial for iwi across Te Tauihu and councils.

The cadets will be able to uplift te ao Māori at their respective councils while learning the mechanisms of local government and governance, Paki Paki said.

“Those opportunities are mutually beneficial in the long term where our young people who will be involved in that larger iwi Māori spaces will get a better understanding of how to integrate Māori things into local government, but also so they understand how local government works and work with local government so that there’s a reflection to true partnership there.”

Marlborough District Council’s cadet will be welcomed later.

- Nelson Mail