Awarau motivated to see Māori represented in Hutt City North ward

By Ripeka Timutimu

Pomare local Dina Awarau is hoping to be the first Māori in 20 years to represent the Hutt City North ward in this year’s local body election. The Ngati Porou health worker wants to be a voice for Māori, whom she says are often overlooked in the region.

Local iwi in Pomare fought to name this centre, Te Mako. They failed, but it became the motivation for Dina Awarau to run for council.

Candidate for the local body election’s Dina Awarau says ,“Part of that was the reason why I decided to run because it felt like people didn't understand where we were coming from when we were asking for that name, that’s why I think it’s important.”

Awarau has lived in Pomare for 30 years.

She says the Māori voice often falls on deaf ears, “Māori has not won a seat or sat in a seat in this electorate since 1992 and that was Tata Parata.”

Pomare has seen big changes in the past two years.

State housing has turned to new housing, which Awarau says hasn't been the best for the community, “A lot of those homes are privately owned so you only have 20 state houses and 20 social housing out of 135. So that area has definitely changed.

Awarau says she won't just be a voice for Māori, instead for her community as a whole, “It'll be about making sure people are registered and just talking to whānau and getting them to know the importance of getting them to have their say.”

Local body elections will take place in October.