Hawke's Bay's first wahine Māori regional councillor has sights on polluters

By Aroha Treacher

Hinewai Ormsby is the first Māori female councillor to be elected onto the Hawke's Bay Regional Council in what is largely a male-dominated arena. Her first point of call this year is tackling environmental issues in the region.

"I'm really lucky with the other councillors sitting around the table that they treat me the same and I expect them to treat me the same in terms of being a wahine," Ormsby says.  

She used to stand on the other side presenting to council for environmental change and improved water quality.

"That was my challenge, kua takoto te mānuka. Being in front of them so many times, I might as well sit there." 

Elected late last year, she came out on top with 11,838 votes.

"Part of that is because our Māori aren't running for council, especially the regional council. We have to have wāhine, youth, Māori running for these councils to reflect the makeup of our society and our community and the values we bring."

An environmental advocate of many years, she wants to call time out on polluters. 

"I'd like to see those who pollute our environment, that there are actual consequences that deter them from polluting further.

"Sometimes some awhi and tautoko are needed to do that, but essentially I think there needs to be harsher consequences." 

That goes hand in hand with her number one issue, improving water quality in the region.