Dame Naida Glavish intends to meet embattled Kaipara District Mayor Craig Jepson this week to discuss his refusal of karakia at council meetings.
The Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara chair says the mayor’s response to new councillor Pera Paniora’s request to open the first full council meeting last week with a karakia is putting the council’s relationship with the iwi at risk.
“Mēnā e kore tāea e ia te tuku i ngā karakia nō tātou tēnā mai rā anō, mua noa atu i tōna taenga ake ki konei ki runga ki tō tātou whenua pēhea taea e ia te tiaki i ngā mea katoa e pā ana kia ngāi tātou te iwi Māori. Pēhea tāea e Ngāti Whātua te mahi tahi ki a ia, te manaaki i ngā manuhiri katoa kei roto i te rohe o Kaipara?
(If he is refusing to allow a traditional practice that has been around a lot longer than he has in our rohe, how can we trust that he will look after us as Māori? How can Ngāti Whātua continue to work together with him to look after all our manuhiri that come into the Kaipara region?)
Glavish wants kanohi ki te kanohi with Kaipara Mayor.
Glavish says she will meet with Jepson despite not having formally requested a meeting, nor intending to do so.
“Korekau kē ko te īnoi atu, korekau kē ko te pātai atu heoi ka tae atu. Pai, kino rānei ki a ia.”
(There will be no begging, there will be no asking for a meeting, we will simply turn up, whether he likes it or not.)
Jepson campaigned on a platform of anti-co governance and led the opposition to his council introducing Māori wards ahead of this year's local body elections. Dame Naida is calling for Jepson to step down as mayor, saying he isn’t the right person to advocate and deliver for the people of Kaipara.
Dame Naida’s call comes at the same time a petition has been launched and a peaceful protest is being organised by failed council candidate, Paturiri Toautu (formerly known as Moemoea Mohoawhenua and Benjamin Nathan).
Teaomāori.news has asked the mayor and the Kaipara District Council for comment. No reply has been received.