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2023-24 Representation Review

Every six years, we’re required to take a fresh look at Napier’s representation arrangements, and now it's your chance to be part of the process. Take a look at our proposal for Napier’s future local democracy arrangements and let us know what you think.


Elections for councils are held every three years. This is when residents vote for mayors and councillors, and in some parts of New Zealand, for community board members.

Councils are required by the Local Electoral Act 2001 to take a fresh look at their representation arrangements at least once every six years. This is to ensure the council is structured to best serve the interests and needs of its community.

For Napier, this means we have considered:

  • How many councillors should be on council?
  • How many wards should our city have, what should their boundaries be, and what should they be named?
  • Should we have a mix of both ward councillors and at large councillors?
  • How many Māori wards and councillors should Napier have?
  • Should we establish community boards?

We undertook a community survey on these matters in late 2023, including analysis to identify communities of interest in Napier. Council considered the community’s feedback and analysis. A further community survey was then undertaken in May 2024, asking the community for their most preferred option out of five potential options.

Council is now making an initial proposal for Napier’s representation arrangements, and we want to know what you think.

What are we proposing?

We are proposing that Napier residents are represented by councillors and a mayor under the following arrangements. Please refer to the map to see the ward boundaries.

It’s important to note that all councillors, regardless of the area they are elected to represent, make the same declaration to act in the best interests of the whole of Napier. A resident can ask any councillor for help and is not limited to their local ward councillors. Note that your rates won’t be affected even though we are proposing to have less councillors. The total pool of remuneration for councillors is determined by an independent government agency. Napier City Council will have the same amount of money to pay its elected members, no matter how many there are.

One Māori ward – Te Whanga

  • We are proposing one Māori ward, to be known as Te Whanga.
  • It would cover the entire boundary of Napier City.
  • This ward would have two councillors.
  • Only people enrolled on the Māori roll would be able to vote for candidates for this ward.

Three general wards

  • We are proposing three general wards, to be known as Ahuriri Ward, Napier Central Ward and Taradale Ward.
  • All these wards would have three councillors each.
  • Only people enrolled on the General roll would be able to vote for candidates in these wards.
  • Residents may only vote for candidates in the ward they live in.

Swipe ButtonClick on the swipe button (next to the ruler button) and then slide the bar to compare our current wards with our proposed new wards.


LegendClick on the legend button to view the map key to the proposed ward boundaries.


Layers ButtonClick on the layers button to view new or proposed ward names, boundaries and other items.

Ahuriri Ward
Bay View, Westshore, Inlet Napier City, Ahuriri, Bluff Hill, Hospital Hill, Poraiti Flat, Poraiti Hills, Napier Central, Nelson Park, McLean Park, Awatoto, the eastern part of Meeanee, and the northern part of Onekawa West.

Napier Central Ward
Marewa West, Marewa East, Onekawa Central, Onekawa East, Onekawa South, Maraenui, Pirimai East, Pirimai West, Tamatea North, Tamatea West, and Tamatea East, the southern part of Onekawa West, and the Bupa Willowbank Retirement Village.

Taradale Ward
Greenmeadows West, Greenmeadows Central, Greenmeadows South, Taradale West, Taradale Central, Taradale South, Tareha Reserve, Bledisloe Park, and the western part of Meeanee.


Electoral population estimate

Number of councillors

Population per councillor

Ahuriri General Ward




Napier Central General Ward




Taradale General Ward




Sub total - General Wards




Te Whanga Māori Ward










What about Māori wards?

For Napier’s population and proposed council size, there is the possibility of having either one Māori ward with two councillors, or two Māori wards with one councillor each.

In this consultation, we are proposing to have one Māori ward with two representatives for the following reasons.

  • There will be two councillors working together.
  • Will have a similar number of councillors to some of Napier’s general wards.
  • Collective responsibility.
  • Easier selection process for voters.

We considered proposing two Māori wards – one smaller ward with a high percentage of Māori electoral population and one larger ward with a similar percentage of Māori electoral population. Although this arrangement would reflect where a high percentage of Māori electoral population lives, it may result in uneven numbers of candidates standing in each ward, or no-one standing in one of the wards. There is also an increased chance that a candidate gets in without any competition. We are therefore not consulting on having two Māori wards.

See further information below about why Māori wards are included in this Representation Review.

What about community boards?

Community boards have functions and powers delegated to them by their councils. The cost of community boards is funded through rates.

Currently Napier doesn’t have any community boards. In our first survey on the representation review in late 2023, we asked the community whether introducing community boards would be appropriate for Napier. Most respondents said Napier does not need a community board, with 33% across Napier expressing support. However, there was positive feedback from residents based in and near Maraenui to establish a community board there.

In our second survey in May 2024, we asked residents for their views on establishing a single community board in Maraenui and surrounding areas. 64% respondents from Maraenui expressed support and 53% of respondents from Nelson Park ward. However feedback on this did not reach a consensus across the city, with a nearly even split of 45% against and 41% in favour, and 14% unsure or neutral. Just under half of respondents believed there are enough existing means within the Maraenui community to be represented; 22% were dissatisfied with existing arrangements, and one-third (33%) were unsure.

After considering this feedback and acknowledging that there are alternative ways to maintain and strengthen local community representation and connections within Napier, Council is not proposing a community board for this or any other area in Napier.

How to make a submission

We've provided a number of ways for people to have their say on Napier's Representation Review.

  • Complete the online form below before 9am, Thursday 8 August, 2024
  • If you need assistance, pop in and see the friendly team at our Customer Service Centre, 215 Hastings St, or Taradale Library.
Follow this link if the form fails to load. online form.

More information about Napier’s local democracy arrangements

There were many potential options for Napier’s representation arrangements. In coming up with an appropriate option, we considered:

  • Whether elections should be by ward only or a combination of ward and at large councillors
  • Accessibility, size, and configuration of the area including:
    • the number of councillors considered appropriate to effectively represent the views of their electoral area and
    • provide reasonably even representation across the area through activities like public meetings and opportunities for face-to-face meetings.
  • Identifying communities of interest that are geographically distinct or spread across the district. Communities of interest are about how people see themselves as ‘fitting in’ to a particular area; also using similar facilities as others in the area and facing similar challenges.
  • Not splitting recognised communities of interest between different wards.
  • Not grouping two or more communities of interest with few common interests.
  • Avoiding arrangements that may create barriers to participation with Council.

Your rates won’t be affected even though we are proposing to have less councillors. The total pool of remuneration for councillors is determined by an independent government agency. Napier City Council will have the same amount of money to pay its elected members, no matter how many there are.

In 2021, Napier City Council consulted with the community on whether to introduce Māori wards to Napier. Following this consultation, Council made the decision to introduce Māori wards at the 2025 local authority elections. This means we also need to confirm how many Māori wards and councillors for these wards Napier should have, so we’re ready for the next local authority election.

The Government is introducing legislation requiring local authorities to hold a binding poll if they want to establish Māori wards. The Government’s proposed legislation means that because NCC established Māori wards without a poll, we will have to either rescind that decision, or hold a poll at the 2025 election. The poll would ask the community whether we should keep Māori wards beyond the 2025-2028 triennium. If the community’s answer is no, then Māori wards will be removed from the 2028 election. A further representation review would need to be completed before 2028.

Full Ward arrangement

Wards are various areas within a council’s territory. Each ward is represented by a certain number of councillors, according to its population. In Napier there are currently four wards – Ahuriri, Nelson Park, Onekawa-Tamatea and Taradale.

Adopting a fully ward-based system for electing councillors:

  • means representation is likely to be more evenly distributed geographically across the district, although candidates are not required to live in the ward in which they are standing.
  • encourages residents to become better informed on candidates and their policies because there are fewer candidates, who may also be better known to locals.
  • may improve accountability in that ward and ensure a closer link between Council and residents of particular parts of the district. This could contribute to the effective delivery of local services and facilities.
  • may result in residents feeling more able to approach ward councillors directly.
  • may enable more effective management of community/council consultation processes.
  • could result in potential candidates finding it easier financially, and in terms of time, to campaign in a ward than under an at-large system.

At large

This is when councillors are elected to represent the entire city, not just a ward. All voters can vote for councillors-at-large.

The “at large” option can:

  • be seen to give a wider choice of candidates for residents to vote for, rather than restricting them to voting only for candidates from one area of the local authority.
  • be seen to remove any perceptions of parochialism from Council deliberations.
  • make it easier for “at-large” councillors to take a district-wide perspective.
  • may achieve more diverse representation. For example, ethnic minority groups and other interest groups spread across the city could have a greater chance of being elected in an at-large system.
  • if residents are given the opportunity to choose from all candidates, may result in increased accountability.

Note: In Napier, we are unable to have a fully ‘at large’ arrangement, due to the introduction of Māori wards. We can have wards-only, or a mixed system (see below).

A mixed arrangement

A mixed arrangement, where some councillors are elected to represent wards and some are elected at large:

  • can be seen to provide a balance between representation of district-wide interests and local concerns.
  • means that residents can vote for more than just their ward councillor(s), as they can also vote for councillors being elected at-large.
  • still provides specific ward (local) representation.

Important points about all options

All councillors, regardless of the area they are elected to represent, make the same declaration to act in the best interests of the whole district. There is no difference in the decision-making role of councillors elected at large and councillors elected to a ward. Ward and at large councillors do, however, continue to represent the areas they are elected from at the council table.

A resident can ask any councillor for help and is not limited to their local ward councillors, if under a ward arrangement.

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