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Frequently Asked Questions - English

What are Māori wards?

A Council may establish Māori wards for their city or district.

Similar to the Māori Parliamentary seats, Māori wards establish areas where only those on the Māori Parliamentary electoral roll vote for the candidates in that Ward. The Māori wards sit alongside the general wards of each city or district.

The aim of Māori wards is to ensure Māori are represented in local government decision making, like the dedicated electorate seats in Parliament.

Who can vote for candidates in a Māori ward?

  • People enrolled on the Māori electoral roll for the area can vote for candidates standing in their Māori ward.
  • Electors on the Māori electoral roll can only vote for candidates from a Māori Ward.
  • Electors on the General electoral roll can only vote for candidates from a General Ward.
  • People vote either in a Māori ward or a general ward – plus a vote for the Mayor.

Who can nominate a Māori ward candidate? 

The nominator and seconder of a candidate must live in the Māori ward area they are nominating them for and be on the Māori roll for that area, however the candidate can be on the electoral roll (General or Māori roll) anywhere in New Zealand.

Who can be on the Māori electoral roll?

  • If you are of Māori descent you can enrol in either the General or Māori electoral rolls.
  • If you are not of Māori descent you can only enrol on the General Electoral roll
  • You can find more information about the Māori Electoral Option on the Electoral Commission’s website.

Who can stand for election in a Māori Ward?

To be eligible to stand for election, a candidate must be:

  • A New Zealand citizen (by birth or citizenship ceremony); and
  • Enrolled as a Parliamentary elector (anywhere in New Zealand); and
  • Nominated by two electors whose names appear on the electoral roll within the ward a candidate is standing for. Candidates in Māori Wards do not need to be of Māori descent, but they do need to be on the parliamentary electoral roll.

Candidates cannot stand for both a General ward and a Māori ward at the same time.

Do Māori ward elected members only represent Māori?

No. Once elected, all elected members, whether elected from General or Māori wards, take a formal oath of office to represent the entire community.

If Napier had Māori wards, how would it work?

The numbers of Māori wards is set in a formula in the Local Government Act based on a ratio of Māori electoral population and the total electoral population. Should Napier implement Māori ward(s), based on current estimates there would likely be two Māori ward members in Council. If a decision is made to establish Māori wards, this would be included as part of a representation review in 2024.

What is a representation review?

The Representation Review process determines how the council is made up, including:

  • The number of councillors to be elected
  • The basis of election for councillors (wards, boundaries and names of those wards)
  • Whether there are to be community boards in the district, where they might be, and what their membership arrangements are.

More information can be found on the Representation Review Fact Sheet

How do you work out the number of Māori wards?

The number of Māori wards is not discretionary and is calculated by the following formula


Number of members is the proposed number of members of Napier City Council.

The number of members excludes the mayor, who is elected separately.

What are Council's obligations to  Māori?

We have an obligation under the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) and a commitment to

  • take appropriate account of the Treaty principles, and these are intended to facilitate participation by Māori in local authority decision-making processes.
  • establish, maintain and improve processes to provide opportunities for Māori to contribute to the decision-making processes of the local authority
  • consider ways in which it may foster the development of Māori capacity to contribute to the decision-making processes of the local authority; and
  • provide relevant information to Māori for the purposes of their contribution to decision making and fostering their capacity to contribute.

How does Napier City Council currently support Māori to participate in local governance?

We have recently made changes to the membership arrangements on our Māori Committee to ensure mana whenua and community representation. The Māori Committee provides a critical role in council’s decision-making process.
Please read our Local Governance Statement, which includes information about how Napier City Council will encourage/support Māori to participate (pg 37) - Local Governance Statement 2019-2022

What is Napier City Council's current position on Māori wards? 

We are committed to ensuring significant progress is made on this important matter of representation. We want to understand the views of our community before we make the decision in November about whether to establish Māori wards which would be in time for the 2025 local body election. We have begun engagement, with formal consultation taking place in September.

Do you want to hear from us more often and have your say on other Napier projects?

Join our People's Panel

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