About Māori wards and constituencies
What is a Māori ward or constituency?
Māori wards and constituencies provide a way for Māori to contribute to decision-making and have representation at council. People elected onto Māori wards and constituencies will represent Māori communities for fair and effective community representation. The establishment of Māori wards or constituencies are one way for councils to honour the principle of partnership committed to in Te Tiriti o Waitangi because they guarantee that Māori will be represented at council.
“Wards” are the parts of a council area that have been determined by population and communities of interest. These can be either general wards or Māori wards. In a regional council, the term “constituency” is used rather than “ward”.
Electors enrolled on the Māori electoral roll will vote for candidates standing for Māori wards. Similarly, electors enrolled on the general electoral roll will vote for candidates standing for general wards.
The successful Māori ward candidates will become councillors at council. Councillors have a responsibility to represent their communities. Māori ward councillors will have a particular responsibility to represent people of Māori descent and bring forward Māori views and aspirations. However, they also represent the entire community in a region, city or district.
Council resolutions to establish Māori wards or constituencies
Recent changes to government legislation allowed councils to decide on whether to include Māori wards in their arrangements – it is not a mandatory requirement. A Council can vote on whether to establish Māori wards for their city or district.
Thirty-five councils will have Māori wards or constituencies in the 2022 elections. Twenty-nine are territorial councils and six are regional councils.
- Northland Regional Council
- Far North District Council
- Kaipara District Council
- Whangārei District Council
- Waikato Regional Council
- Hamilton City Council
- Matamata-Piako District Council
- Ōtorohanga District Council
- Ruapehu District Council
- Taupō District Council
- Waikato District Council
- Waipā District Council
- Taranaki Regional Council
- New Plymouth District Council
- South Taranaki District Council
- Stratford District Council
Bay of Plenty
- Bay of Plenty Regional Council
- Rotorua Lakes Council
- Tauranga City Council
- Whakatāne District Council
Gisborne / Hawke’s Bay
- Hawke’s Bay Regional Council
- Gisborne District Council
- Hastings District Council
- Wairoa District Council
Manawatū / Whanganui
- Horizons Regional Council
- Horowhenua District Council
- Manawatū District Council
- Palmerston North City Council
- Rangitīkei District Council
- Tararua District Council
- Masterton District Council
- Porirua City Council
- Wellington City Council
- Marlborough District Council
- Nelson City Council
Following council resolutions to establish Māori wards, councils consulted with their community to help decide on what was fair and effective number of elected members to have, how they were elected, and whether they were elected from wards or “at large” across the whole district, or by a mix of both. Councils also looked at the boundaries, names of wards and communities of interest.
Following community feedback, councils looked at the options against the requirements of the Local Electoral Act 2001, the general electoral population; the Māori electoral population; the total number of elected members allowed under legislation; and the proportion to be elected from Māori wards.
- The number of councillors they should have
- How councillors are elected – by ward or district
- How many people are represented by each councillor
- Whether their communities would be fairly and effectively represented
- How many wards the council should have and the names of those wards
- How Māori wards will be established and structured
- Whether any changes to wards or ward boundaries were needed
After considering all the different options, councils each made their own decision on their representation arrangements. People who submitted to their council during the consultation period were able to appeal the decision to the Local Government Commission. All appeal decisions are available from the Commission here.