The Department of Internal Affairs

ngā kaunihera-a-rohe

Local Government in New Zealand - Local Councils


Māori participation in local government


Many of the decisions councils make affect the everyday life of Māori. Councils enable democratic local decision-making and action, on behalf of your community.

Active community participation in local democracy is a key concept in the Local Government Act 2002. The more people participate in local government, the more likely council decisions and actions will help achieve decision-making for sustainable communities now and for the future.

There are a number of ways to be involved in council decision-making processes. These include:

  • Voting in local government elections.
  • Being elected as a councillor or community board member.
  • Making a submission to council on local issues.
  • Attending council meetings.
  • Participating in council consultation with Māori, community or ethnic groups.

Some council decisions involve land or a body of water. When a council is making an important decision involving land or a body of water, it must take into account the relationship of Māori and their culture and traditions with their ancestral land, water, sites, wāhi tapu, valued flora and fauna, and other taonga.

If you are interested in being more involved in local government decision-making, contact your council in your region. You may wish to contact your iwi liaison officer from your council. Or you could invite your local councillor to come along to your school, marae, or community group meeting to discuss how they engage with Māori.

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