Ngā Poari Hapori
As local government bodies become larger, new avenues are needed for people to engage in the decisions that shape their future. Community boards are a way of achieving this.
Community boards typically represent a smaller area within their council/kaunihera, to ensure smaller communities’ voices aren’t lost in the big picture conversations/kōrero.
Not only do they ensure better representation, boards also promote stronger community wellbeing/hauora for all the diverse communities that exist in their area.
They can do this in several ways - from creating community plans and feeding in local issues and needs to advocating for local voice and making submissions on council policies and decisions. They’re also an important part of providing information from council/kaunihera back to the community.
Common responsibilities include managing community facilities, local parks, road and traffic, hearing committees, resource management functions and community liaison.
There are now around 110 community boards in Aotearoa, ranging in size from those representing only a few hundred residents to more than 60,000 residents.
Most members are elected during local body elections although council/kaunihera members can also be appointed to a community board.
How do boards work?
Community boards are unincorporated bodies which are neither local authorities nor committees. They give a voice to specific communities within a council/kaunihera catchment and act as representatives, advocates and connectors of those communities.
A board’s purpose is to engage with that community and advocate for it in council/kaunihera discussions/kōrero and decisions. Councils can delegate responsibilities and decision-making powers to community boards if they wish.
It is up to the council/te kaunihera to decide how their community boards will function. Each board is set up differently depending on what their community needs, and how their council/kaunihera chooses to organise them.