Caleb Royal has begun work as the first Maori representative appointed — with voting rights — to a committee of the Kāpiti Coast District Council.
The KCDC says: “When Caleb Royal sat at the Council table it was an historic moment in the history of Kāpiti Coast District Council.”
Mr Royal is one of three Māori representatives recently appointed to three of Council’s standing committees.
He sat on a meeting of the Resource Management Committee
The representatives are not voted in, as councillors are, but go through an appointment process..
Other appointees recently approved by Council are Russell Spratt, who will sit on the Corporate Business Committee, and Rupene Waaka, who was appointed to the Environment and Community Development Committee.
Last year the Council decided – under the Local Government Act 2002 — to consider the appointment of Māori representatives with voting rights to each of the three major standing Committees of Council.
And in June the Council voted to proceed with the process, which has been managed through Council’s partnership advisory body, Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti.
‘Long journey,’ says Mayor
“It has been a long journey to get to this point,” said Mayor Jenny Rowan, welcoming Mr Royal to the Council table.
“My belief has always been that the Tāngata Whenua of this district as our treaty partners should be involved in the decision making process, to challenge, inform and assist us in developing the best outcomes for this district.”
Mayor Rowan said it was fitting the historic moment was happening during Matariki.
Speaking in Māori, Mr Royal told the meeting he was honoured to be representing the three Iwi of the district on the committee:
“For me it is about being responsible for upholding and pursuing our collective dreams and aspirations for the district. I would like to acknowledge the Mayor and Councillors and Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti for all their work in making this opportunity available.”
Passion for the environment
An article in a recent Council for Educational Research release says: “As a kaiako at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Caleb has had many opportunities to progress his passion for the natural environment, and to consider the place of Māori within Te Ao Māori.”
Mr Royal added:”The activities and subsequent pressure people are placing on Te Ao Māori has upset the balance between people and the natural world in which we live.
“As Rangatira and Kaitiaki of ‘o rātou whenua o rātou kainga me o rātou taonga katoa’ we urgently need to begin restoring a balance with Papatūānuku and Ranginui.
Our challenge now, and into the future, is to assert our position as Rangatira and apply tikanga that is consistent with kaupapa Māori to restore a balance between us and Te Ao Māori.”