3 Maori Ward Seats for Ruapehu District Council

3 Maori Ward Seats for Ruapehu District Council

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Fiona Kahukura Chase started this petition to Don Cameron (Mayor Ruapehu of District Council) and

Tena koutou

Below is a speech to the Ruapehu District Council on the 5th August 2020 requesting for fair representation and equity in the Council and therefore 3 Maori Ward seats.


A couple of hundred years ago my Tuwharetoa chief apparently gifted the Tongariro National Park to the people of New Zealand. Soon after one of my tupuna Takiwa Tauarua escaped with Te Kooti at the battle at Te Porere. Takiwa was my grandfather’s grandfather, and Takiwa went on to marry Te Hina from Parinui,  from the Whanganui river. They lived in Kakahi.

At about that time Taumarunui’s first white man arrived, Mr Bell and he married our tupuna Princess Kataraina Te Waihanea. Kataraina descends from Tutemahurangi and the people of the river ; our rivers are woven by our Queen, Hinengakau.

My grandfather, Aperahama Tutemahurangi from Kakahi and Pukawa served in World  War II with his two cousins. When they returned they returned to whanau in despear, living in poverty and homeless, removed from their land and forced to cut our beautiful native trees to feed their now hungry children.

By 2020 the mokopuna of Tutemahurangi, Takiwa, Tehina, Kataraina and Bell struggle to live here. We are tangata whenua, ahi kaa of this area and make up 45% of the people who live in Ruapehu. 

Whakapapa matters to Maori. It is how we connect to each other, the land, rivers and mountains. The 45% Maori population have whakapapa and connections that go back many centuries. We will always call this place home however, right now we own less than 15% of the land, own very few homes and hold less than 7% of Ruapehu’s  wealth. Do you know what the average wage is of a Maori that lives in Ruapehu? It is shameful. This is not a new thing either, it's consistent and getting worse.

I have come to talk to you today about your Long Term Engagement Plan.  I have come to encourage this Council to be courageous, to look inward, to seek equity and ask the hard questions and seek truthful solutions.

I’m not one to turn up to hui like this with just my opinion though, I have come with some solutions for you to seriously consider. 

1. Have Vision -   seek equity, ask the hard questions and seek truthful solutions that reflect your community.

2. Te Tiriti o Waitangi - prioritize tikanga Maori. Let us start with the Reo you and your staff use, let’s educate them all on the whakapapa of this place and the people you all serve. Let us  all understand the Treaty’s principles and make them your guiding principles.
i). The principle of partnership
ii). The duty to make informed decisions
iii). The principle of active protection

3. He tangata. The People  - You can not find good solutions if your group does not reflect the people you represent. Prioritize Maori, prioritize the 45%, advance local and promote whakapapa.  

4. Representation - diversity is key to find truthful solutions that reflect your community.  50 year old plus Pakeha male decision makers are over represented in most New Zealand Councils, this causes an imbalance, an arrogance and a sway. RDC must have at least three Maori Ward seats to truly represent the people.

5. Be courageous - be critical thinkers. “Critical thinking is a desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to consider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and hatred for every kind of imposture. —Francis Bacon, philosopher.

6. Engage with whanau and hapu - you’ll only truly be able to do this successfully when you get your representation in balance. Still though you need to be critical on how you engage with Maori. Is what you do  good enough? Do you engage with whanau and hapu?

7. Promote and support Maori and Maori business - Ruapehu Maori Tourism has been recently established and soon will be the Taumarunui Maori Womens Welfare League. This said however the Council should work hard at providing a platform and space for Maori, so you can engage at a much better level with us.
“The development of the Maori economy is becoming an increasingly important part of Ruapehu’s economic growth story and the delivery of key services” [Live, Work, Play, Thrive! Ruapehu 2020 Page. 26]. This is probably the most positive and relevant statement that I could find in your agenda today.

8. Jobs and housing - economies are nothing without people. 5,000 people already live here, why do you continue to bring new people to our region when you know already that there are not enough jobs or warm homes for us that are already here? Engage us!

9. Bring your community together - listen to the people and assert what they want. 

10. Show you care about Maori -  I accept that Maori Wards in Regional Councils are a contentious issue in New Zealand. My request is that you look past that and instead see that Maori are suffering and living in very poor conditions in Ruapehu. And also that you accept that only Maori can understand and work towards ending their suffering. The only part you need to play is accepting that only Maori have the ability to do so.

I see the poverty and the homelessness of our people every day. It needs to stop, it needs to get better. My question to you today is, do you have the foresight, commitment and attitude to help the 45%? Or is it more of the same?

He whawhai tonu matou

Naku noa

Fiona Kahukura Chase


 A GUIDE TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE TREATY OF WAITANGI AS EXPRESSED BY THE COURTS & THE WAITANGI TRIBUNAL https://waitangitribunal.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/WT-Principles-of-the-Treaty-of-Waitangi-as-expressed-by-the-Courts-and-the-Waitangi-Tribunal.pdf





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