Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Canterbury mana whenua Bill passes second reading

The Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill, passed its second reading in Parliament yesterday – with 77 votes to 42 – after being considered by the Māori Affairs Select Committee.

Environment Canterbury Chair, Jenny Hughey has welcomed progress on the Bill that she says will enable the appointment of two mana whenua members of Council.

The Māori Affairs Select Committee released its report on the Bill on 2 June, recommending that it proceed to a second reading.

“We are grateful to the Māori Affairs Select Committee for the close and prompt attention given to the Bill,” Ms Hughey said.

“It is pleasing that, after a robust public consultation process and thorough consideration of the Bill, the Committee has agreed to recommend it without substantive change from what was proposed.”

The Bill seeks to provide for mana whenua representation around the Council table, by empowering Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to appoint up to two members of the Council, with full decision-making powers. It passed its first reading in Parliament on 8 December 2021.

Environment Canterbury works in partnership with 10 Ngāi Tahu papatipu rūnanga who hold mana whenua status within its boundaries, through a collective called Te Rōpū Tuia.

Te Rōpū Tuia co-chair, Liz Brown says the Ngāi Tahu Representation Bill reflects the rangatiratanga between local government and mana whenua.

“This Bill allows us to build on the mahi of our tīpuna (ancestors), who have advocated over many generations for better representation of mana whenua when decisions are being made within our takiwā (tribal area),” she said.

“If this Bill passes, we will bring our tribal values of kaitiakitanga and tino rangatiratanga, when we make decisions with Councillors about the future of our awa, whenua, mahinga kai, and taonga native species. As an iwi we take an intergenerational view, and our decisions today must consider Waitaha a hundred years from now. Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – For us and our children after us.

“We are pleased to see the recommendation of the Select Committee and look forward to the Bill progressing through the remaining parliamentary processes.”

Follow the Bill’s progress.

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