The Department of Internal Affairs

ngā kaunihera-a-rohe

Local Government in New Zealand - Local Councils


Encouraging Māori participation in local government

Photo by Manukau City Council

The Local Government Act 2002 (the Act) contains a number of provisions that relate specifically to Māori.

The Act recognises and respects the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi by placing some specific obligations on councils.

The Act requires all councils to:

  • Establish, maintain and improve opportunities for Māori to contribute to local government decision-making processes.
  • Ensure processes are in place for consulting with Māori.
  • Consider ways to foster Māori contribution to local government decision-making processes.
  • Provide relevant information to Māori.

Taken as a whole, they are an obligation to consider what steps the council can reasonably take to encourage and assist Māori to participate in local affairs. These provisions do not confer special rights and privileges on Māori that are not accorded to other tauiwi (other members of the public).

The Act’s requirements apply to the general activities and decisions of councils; they do not over-ride the requirements on councils specified under other statutes. The Resource Management Act 1991, the Historic Places Act 1993 and the Biosecurity Act 1993, for example, each have their own requirements for councils to consult with Māori.

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has published a substantial amount of information about the ways Māori and local government collaborate and interact. You can access this information on their website by clicking here.

File Attachment Icon