LGNZ debuts at pivotal Waitangi commemorations

2 February 2024

For the first time, LGNZ will officially be represented at Waitangi commemorations, recognising the significance of the conversations taking place.

“This Waitangi commemoration will involve pivotal discussions that shape the relationship between Government and local communities. These conversations cannot take place without local government being represented,” LGNZ President Sam Broughton said.

"It is a privilege to be part of the Waitangi celebrations for the first time.

“For local government to deliver good outcomes for all parts of our community, it is essential that there are strong, sustainable relationships forged and robust engagement with Māori. Local government has been working on this for decades. We know how fundamental these relationships are to delivering the wide range of services and infrastructure that our communities rely on.

“Our attendance at Waitangi underlines our commitment to build authentic partnerships and take a locally led approach to how we work with Māori in our rohe. The way relationships and engagement work in Whangarei can be different to how they work in Selwyn. The way councils collaborate with their local hapū and iwi recognises that.

“Decision makers around the council table come and go but our mana whenua partners are there for the long term. That’s why when we are making decisions for the next 30 to 150 years on things like infrastructure and climate change, it makes sense to have deep relationships and understanding of the needs of Māori,” Sam Broughton said.

"Being at Waitangi provides us with a genuine opportunity engage with our whānau about their concerns and collaboratively seek solutions,” said Bonita Bigham, Co-Chair of Te Maruata.

“This term, local government has its highest representation of Māori elected members ever. It’s taken a lot of work to get this far but we still have some way to make sure all council tables reflect the communities they serve.

“Over the past decade, Māori elected membership has jumped from less than 5 percent to more than 22 percent,” Bonita Bigham added.

The LGNZ delegation will participate in a series of events at Waitangi, including the traditional dawn service, lead a panel discussion on the role of Māori leaders in local government and participate in discussions with central government politicians and iwi leaders.

Local Government New Zealand, the national voice for local government, will be represented by LGNZ President Sam Broughton, Te Maruata Co-Chair Bonita Bigham, and LGNZ Vice-President Campbell Barry.