Mayor Wants Maori in KCDC
And Community BoardsBy Alan Tristram 8th February 2010
The Kapiti Coast District Mayor, Jenny Rowan, has marked Waitangi Day by calling for much greater Maori representation in local government on the Coast.
She spoke to several hundred people gathered for Waitangi Day celebrations at Katihiku Marae, Swamp Road, Te Horo.
In her speech, Ms Rowan says Maori representation at present is ‘woefully inadequate’ and points to the importance of local body elections later this year.
However, the Mayor says, the KCDC is already dedicated to working with Maori and to the development of Te Reo – and says it intends to appoint a wahi tapu officer soon.
And she pays tribute to the Wellington Regional Council for their moves to appoint Maori to key decision-making committees.
The Waitangi Day event at Te Horo, based on the theme of “Remembering our Treaty History – Celebrating Our Diversity,” is the latest in a succession of Waitangi celebrations held by the KCDC and Iwi at marae on the Coast.
They are sponsored by the KCDC and Te Whakaminenga o Kapiti, representing all local iwi.
When visitors arrived at the secluded rural Katihiku Marae, just south of the Otaki River, one of the first sights was the Maori Tiro Rangatiratanga flag fluttering
proudly from the marae flagpole.
(Last year the Maori Party and the Government agreed the flag should be flown at ‘significant sites’ on Waitangi Day).
There were also other subtle changes in protocol this year, with the Mayor seated with Maori leaders at the front of the meeting house, and several major speeches from women.
The main speakers were: Nganeka Wilson, chair of Ngati Huia ki Katihiku; the Mayor, Jenny Rowan; Helen Keivom, Kapiti Ethnic Community; Debbie Bustin, artist and creator of the ‘Tent of the Universe’ at the event; and Te Waari Carkeek, chair of Te Whakaminenga o Kapiti.
After the formalities, visitors were able to sample a variety of ethnic foods, buy from market stall and listen to performances by several musical groups.
There also displays illustrating Ngati Huia history; items from the Alexander Turnbull Library; and Taonga including Te Rauparaha’s sword.
The weather was fine, more visitors kept arriving throughout the Day, and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly — so once again the Waitangi Day event in Kapiti was a success for the organisers, and the people.