Four Māori compete for Waitākere Local Board seat

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

There are four Māori candidates chasing a seat on the Waitākere Local Board this year, the most Māori at any local board elections ever in Auckland.

These women claim that since the Super City took over the Waitākere City Council, local Māori, including the Taumata Rūnanga, have lost their voice.

Candidate Tiaria Fletcher from Te Arawa says, “Council engaged really well and really effectively with Māori because of that Taumata Rūnanga, since the Super City was established, that Taumata Rūnanga was subsequently dis-established.”

Paula Bold-Wilson (Te Arawa) who is also vying for the position says, “Our local board area has the second highest Māori population, and so we want to make sure that, like Tiaria was saying that our local board actually reflects our community.”

These are business women who are part of the community including Hoani Waititi Marae. They are mothers and nannies who want to share their skills to fight for their community.

“Our children grew up here, as did our grandchildren. We're hoping to carry on the legacy left by our elders of the Taumata Rūnanga, and to provide a voice for our next generation,” says the third candidate Georgina Papa from Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Whatua.

Their journey to stand for local council began last year and they hope to convince more Māori to vote.

For Bold-Wilson it's about Tino Rangatiratanga, and making sure our whānau vote.

Meeting the people and gathering support and voters is the priority for these three women and their male candidate, Will Flavell, heading to the start of the online local board voting in September.