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Strategy Aims To Kick Off ‘Courageous Conversations’

A public consultation process aimed at enhancing the city’s relationship with Maori was approved by Hamilton City Council today.

He Pou Manawa Ora – Pillars of Wellbeing is a strategic document that will focus Council’s work on delivering shared outcomes to Maaori and all Hamiltonians.

Councillor Mark Bunting, Chair of the Council’s Community Committee, said He Pou Manawa Ora – Pillars of Wellbeing aimed to build on Council’s relationships with Maaori and the wider community. The strategy will be made available for public feedback in February 2021 with Council seeking wide input from all Hamiltonians.

“This document is a very good opportunity to take a major step forward towards becoming a culturally mature city,” he said. “It not only recognises the special relationship that iwi and mana whenua have with this place but encourages an improved quality of life for Maaori and non-Maaori alike. It enables our city to benefit from all of our history.

“When the tide rises, all boats rise with it.”

Cr Bunting said the strategy would also provide Council with clear guidance on how to create and/or maintain a consistent, respectful, well-informed, measured, fair and focused approach that contributed to citywide wellbeing outcomes.

He Pou Manawa Ora – Pillars of Wellbeing has been developed with input from local iwi, hapuu, maataa waka (urban Maaori), Council’s Maangai Maaori (Maaori representatives), Waikato-Tainui, Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa and Te Rūnanga Ō Kirikiriroa. The development of the strategy is funded through Council’s 2020/21 Annual Plan with future funding for implementing the strategy to be considered as part of Hamilton’s Long-Term Plan.

Mayor Paula Southgate said it was time for the community and city to be brave and have “courageous conversations” about its relationship with Maaori. But those conversations needed to be very wide-ranging and involve the whole of the city and its residents, she said.

“We have legal and other obligations to tangata whenua and let’s embrace and celebrate those. We will learn from those conversations and be better for it.

“I think everyone has the best intent but words aren’t enough. The previous Council recognised the need for a strategy for Maaori. Now it’s time to bring that to fruition and work in partnership with Maaori and the wider community to bring aspirations to life. If we do that, we can make a demonstrable difference to the wellbeing of all people in our city.

“I look forward to seeing what everyone in our community has to say about the direction of travel we are signalling in this document. There are some robust conversations to be had and let’s not be afraid of that. Our city’s economic and social success will only be enhanced if everyone has a voice. Full community participation in Council’s direction and, ultimately, decision-making is important.”

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