The Tasman District Council has agreed to appoint a Kaihautū to ensure a more meaningful and a collaborative relationship with the eight iwi at the top of the South Island.

The Kaihautū, in providing strategic leadership and culturally responsive advice, will support the development of essential partnerships and be responsible for fostering positive engagement.

Driven by the Te Tau Ihu and Ngāi Tahu Settlement Acts and the Treaty of Waitangi, the Council has an obligation to work with iwi. 

This is in addition to the other current legislative and statutory obligations, including those set out in the Resource Management Act and Local Government Act. 

“We believe we could manage these relationships better, and while staff have made good progress and act with best intentions, appropriate support and guidance is required to ensure we meet our legislative and social obligations in a meaningful and sustainable way”, said Chief Executive Janine Dowding. 

“We are not alone in recognising the benefit of these relationships. A number of councils throughout the country with a Kaihautū on staff are seeing significantly improved relationships with and between local iwi, Māori, the wider community and the Council.”

The appointment process will be managed over the next few weeks.