First-term Far North District councillor Moko Tepania has confirmed he is running for mayor in the upcoming local body elections.
He says the time has come for someone to unite the towns and communities of the region, especially with the introduction of Māori seats this year.
"Hei tēnei tau ka tū anō mai ai ngā tūru Māori, ngā kaikaunihera Māori, ngā kaikaunihera whānui. Ko tāku, e tika ana kia tū ahau ki tēnei koromatua hei whakakōtahi i wērā mema, hei whakatau i ngā raruraru nui, ka whakapau pūtea maha mō te painga o tēnei rohe te take," he told teaomāori.news.
(This year we have Māori wards coming in, alongside the general wards. I believe it's best if I stand for mayor to bring those councillors together, to help smooth out any conflicts and help spend money where it will best serve our region.)
Tepania, of Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa, who is also a kaiako at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kaikohe is the councillor for the Kaikohe-Hokianga ward, and is the youngest member of the Far North District Council.
This year the council will see four Māori seats and six general seats contested and Tepania says the voice of Māori has been ignored for too long in the region. In the 2019 local elections, the Far North had only a 47% voter turnout and he's hoping for a much better turnout for Māori this year.
The district council was set up in 1989 after local body amalgamations. Millie Srhoj served one term as mayor from 1989 to 1992. Sue James served two terms from 1992 to 1998. Yvonne Sharp was mayor from 1998 to 2007 before being defeated by Wayne Brown. Brown was challenged by former businessman Sir John Goulter in the 2010 local elections but won a second term. John Carter has been the mayor since 2013.
For the full story tune into Te Ao Mārama on our website at 4.30pm, and again on Te Reo at 5.30pm and Whakaata Māori at 6.30pm.