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Taking the lead

Tena kotou katoa and hello to you all Waikato district, 

It has been another big week here at Council with our Performance and Strategy Committee meeting held on Monday and a productive funding policies workshop held with Councillors and Community Board representatives on Tuesday. Remember that you can find out more about all our Council committees including who chairs and sits on them and what decisions are made there, here on our website.   

Last week ended on a particular high note for me and I wanted to share it with you all in case you missed it in the media. Since my inauguration last October, I have wanted to ensure that as a Council we are visibly being inclusive of all our communities who call this district home. An important part of this to me was creating a more inclusive Council Chambers where community members feel welcome to come and be heard. On Friday, 26 May, we demonstrated this by unveiling the portraits of two men who hold the mana of their people and play an important role for us here in our country. These portraits now take pride of place in the Chambers and pay respect to both the Maaori King, Kiingi Tūheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII who presides over tangata whenua, the indigenous people of Aotearoa, and the British King, King Charles III, following his recent coronation as British monarch and head of the commonwealth state.  

As the first Council to honour Kingi Tūheitia and the Kiingitanga in this way, the unveiling has been celebrated as a significant milestone - not only for Council but for Kiingitanga, iwi, mana whenua and all Council’s Maaori staff. 

With a vision to create liveable, thriving, and connected communities, the unveiling of both portraits exhibits our Council’s efforts to uphold that the beliefs and tikanga of our communities is an important aspect of this. This is further displayed by the greater representation of voices at our Council table who whakapapa Maaori, with two elected Maaori ward Councillors, Tilly Turner and Paaniora Matatahi-Poutapu, as well as three general ward councillors who are also of Maaori ancestry – Councillors Thompson, Raumati and Ngataki.  

I believe we are extremely privileged to be sitting on the whenua of the Waikato and to have a close association to the Kiingitanga, recognised locally as the esteemed face of mana whenua, iwi and Maaori. On a journey to actively do better for all our communities, my Council aims to continue its strong relationship with the Kiingitanga, and I am committed to proudly playing my part in this for the remainder of my term as mayor.   

Ngaa mihi nui and warmest regards, 

Mayor Jacqui Church