Challenging list of responsibilities for new Local Leadership Body

EDITORIAL

Gisborne District Council has moved closer to a deeper, wider relationship with Turanga iwi with its decision to take two steps towards the establishment of a Local Leadership Body, as part of its Treaty of Waitangi obligations.

The council has appointed the Mayor and councillor Josh Wharehinga to work with the three iwi involved to establish the leadership body. The Mayor and five councillors will become establishing members.

The role of the leadership board stems from Waitangi Tribunal decisions on the Turanga claims and is a statutory obligation on the council. Its purposes are wide.

It will aim to contribute to the sustainable management of natural and physical resources in the area it oversees. It must give regard both to present and future generations, while recognising and providing for the traditional relationships of Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga a Mahaki with their ancestral lands, water, wahi tapu and other taonga. It should enable communities to provide for social, economic and cultural wellbeing, and to achieve better environmental outcomes. It also must ensure the council upholds its statutory obligations to the Treaty of Waitangi.

It is a challenging list of responsibilities for the Local Leadership Body which the council wants to see established by October this year. It has been delayed for some years while the three iwi involved in the Turanga tribes tribunal decision of 2010 settled their individual claims.

The council’s record of dealing with Maori since it was formed in 1989 has been patchy. A Maori liaison group established in 1992 was discontinued and a tangata whenua committee from 2001 never actually met.

Establishment of the board will see the two local runanga treated separately, as Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou has negotiated a joint management agreement with the council which continues to develop.

It is unfortunate that there is not one overriding body that would oversee the council’s role with Maori but the leadership board is a major step forward, albeit one that is now long overdue.

Gisborne District Council has moved closer to a deeper, wider relationship with Turanga iwi with its decision to take two steps towards the establishment of a Local Leadership Body, as part of its Treaty of Waitangi obligations.

The council has appointed the Mayor and councillor Josh Wharehinga to work with the three iwi involved to establish the leadership body. The Mayor and five councillors will become establishing members.

The role of the leadership board stems from Waitangi Tribunal decisions on the Turanga claims and is a statutory obligation on the council. Its purposes are wide.

It will aim to contribute to the sustainable management of natural and physical resources in the area it oversees. It must give regard both to present and future generations, while recognising and providing for the traditional relationships of Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga a Mahaki with their ancestral lands, water, wahi tapu and other taonga. It should enable communities to provide for social, economic and cultural wellbeing, and to achieve better environmental outcomes. It also must ensure the council upholds its statutory obligations to the Treaty of Waitangi.

It is a challenging list of responsibilities for the Local Leadership Body which the council wants to see established by October this year. It has been delayed for some years while the three iwi involved in the Turanga tribes tribunal decision of 2010 settled their individual claims.

The council’s record of dealing with Maori since it was formed in 1989 has been patchy. A Maori liaison group established in 1992 was discontinued and a tangata whenua committee from 2001 never actually met.

Establishment of the board will see the two local runanga treated separately, as Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou has negotiated a joint management agreement with the council which continues to develop.

It is unfortunate that there is not one overriding body that would oversee the council’s role with Maori but the leadership board is a major step forward, albeit one that is now long overdue.

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