Marlborough District Council has announced Hara Adams as Council’s new Kaihautū, manager of Māori partnerships.
Council says the ground-breaking role is designed to facilitate partnerships with iwi and promote collaborative and positive engagement with Māori to effectively deliver Council services.
Hara, of Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Muaūpoko, Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Toa Rangitira and Ngāi Tahu descent, will also support Māori in decision making and help Council, councillors and staff work in partnership with iwi.
“Central government reforms these days include enhanced roles for iwi to enable them to contribute at the Council governance level, and the Kaihautū will help with that,” said Council Chief Executive, Mark Wheeler.
Ms Adams says she is excited about her new role and working with, and alongside the people of Te Tauihu and Wairau.
“The Kaihautū role is a great example of how our people can be involved in shaping ways in which organisations engage and partner with iwi and Māori,” she said.
“I am looking forward to enhancing space for iwi to be involved in decision making, regarding issues that affect them.”
She says she was humbled by the Whakatau and warm welcome she received and is excited to get out and about to meet kanohi ki te kanohi with iwi in Te Tauihu and familiarise herself with Council staff.
“I understand the significance of my role to Council, iwi and the wider Marlborough community and am looking forward to what is ahead, enhancing Council’s capability to engage effectively with mana whenua which in turn provides positive outcomes for both.”
Ms Adams has recently worked as an advisor to the Ngāi Tahu Fund working directly with whānau and Papatipu Rūnanga to successfully manage the delivery of programmes that support the development of Ngāi Tahu whānui.
She will provide strategic advice and guidance on iwi engagement and Māori cultural matters enabling Council to grow its partnership with Māori.
She will also facilitate civic and ceremonial events to ensure tikanga Māori is appropriately incorporated into Council’s event planning.
Within Council, Ms Adams will support the culture of inclusivity and cultural competency.
“The new role is part of Council’s commitment to strengthening its partnership and level of engagement with tangata whenua iwi and developing working relationships and trust,” Mr Wheeler said.
“It’s very important Council builds on its relationships with iwi and that Councillors and staff are supported to work more effectively with iwi in Wairau and across Te Tauihu.
“The Council team warmly welcomes Hara – we are privileged to have her skillset available in-house. It’s a win-win for Council and mana whenua.
“The addition of a Māori ward councillor to be contested at this year’s local elections in October will also help to raise the Council’s capacity to work in partnership with Māori at the governance level,” he said said.