Christchurch City Council will not establish a Mori ward for the next elections.
The idea was floated with the iwi and mana whenua in October, but the local authority was comfortable with the current relationship, a council spokesman said.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced sweeping changes to a racist law on Mori wards on Monday.
Some councils, like Wellington City Council, have already made moves to establish Mori wards just a day after the law changes took effect.
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Similar to Mori parliamentary seats, Mori wards establish areas where those on the Mori electoral roll vote for representatives who sit alongside general wards.
Christchurch City Council head of community support, governance and partnerships John Filsell said it had decided against establishing a Mori ward after consulting with iwi and Papatipu Rnanga (Ngi Thuriri as mana whenua) in October.
Papatipu Rnanga were comfortable with the current relationship and did not feel that it was appropriate for a Mori ward to be established in tautahi-Christchurch for the 2022 local elections, he said.
Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta makes an announcement at the New Plymouth District Council regarding Mori wards.
Christchurch city councillor James Daniels, who is also Ngi Tahu, said from he understood mana whenua Ngi Tahu to be reasonably comfortable with the relationship already.
There were also several senior members of staff offering a strong Ngi Tahu presence in council, he said.
Mana whenua represented Mori, and it was their decision whether a Mori ward was needed.
My understanding is there has been no great push for it at this stage.
But he felt it was a wake-up call for the country to consider how discriminatory local government had been to Mori in the past.
Its a really interesting time in the development of our nation, really.
From where I sit, it looks like its reasonably healthy, but this change will bring a new view on all of this.
University of Canterbury School of Mori and Indigenous Studies senior lecturer Garrick Cooper, who is not mana whenua, was not surprised a Mori ward was not called for in Christchurch.
He understood Ngi Tahu had its own relationship directly with the council, possibly invigorated by the earthquake rebuild.
There is a view within some Mori communities that [Mori wards are] not necessary.
I think [removing legislation barriers is] a good thing, after not being able to get adequate Mori representation on a range of councils across the country.
It was a little different in Christchurch, where the iwi had a fairly active, ongoing relationship with the council.
That could be due to its commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, or it could be driven by economic clout, he said.
The council cant afford to ignore Ngi Tahu because theyre the biggest organisation in the South Island.
But he did not think councils responsibility to Mori ended at whether it established wards or not.
If it really subscribes to democratic principles, it has to be comfortable that its makeup is representative of the communities it serves.
Te Maire Tau, poko of Ng Thuriri, said the papatipu rnanga (mana whenua for tautahi/Christchurch) preferred negotiating clear outcomes through its Treaty relationship with the council.
Im not convinced that representation leads to outcomes we need.
Mori wards were about addressing matters of race representation, but did not necessarily empower iwi relationships, he said, and papatipu rnanga had committees with each council to have mana whenua issues addressed.
It had, for example, negotiated with Waimakariri District Council to get better water and sewerage services to Tuahiwi.
Treaty partnerships were clearer in the south, with the one Treaty partner, he said.

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