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Our new councils sworn in

It was a fitting atmosphere of spring bloom and new beginnings, as powhiri across the region welcomed Wairarapa’s three new councils yesterday.
Whakarongo, korero, and mahia te mahi – listening, speaking, and doing the work were paramount in a historic ceremony at Papawai Marae, where newly elected members were embraced and challenged in equal measure.
New South Wairarapa Mayor Martin Connelly responded in kind with a commitment to mutual partnership.
Papawai kai korero Herewini Ammunson welcomed South Wairarapa’s delegation by speaking about the importance of the marae as the home of Maori Parliament and co-governance.
“This place is an important political institution, and I welcomed them with that in mind. It’s a reminder and challenge to keep that in the forefront.
“The Treaty is our founding document – the reason government exists in New Zealand. It is the bread and butter.”
Ammunson said he wanted to acknowledge the mana and authority of the new board members and councillors and that fundamentally, everyone “wanted the same things; healthy, people, healthy homes, healthy environment”.
“We are looking forward to working with you as friends and neighbours.”
Representing Pae Tu Mokai [Featherston] community board member Warren Maxwell responded on behalf of the visiting delegation, thanking Papawai for their hospitality.
“It was a special occasion. There is a huge amount of mahi [work] to do as elected officials.
“The most common theme and rhetoric during the campaign was working together. We need to walk the talk.”
He said he was a born optimist and had high hopes for the next three years.
“It’s about weaving people together. Whakarongo, korero, mahia te mahi.”
South Wairarapa mana whenua welcomed the delegation of elected members and highlighted issues in their areas.
Papawai Marae representative Gillis Baker cited the degraded Papawai-Mangarara stream, and nearby wastewater treatment plant “bursting at the seams” as concerns, and urged the council to remove obstacles to Maori housing.
“We have a vision of community, of vitality, and we need people here to support our marae. But there are certain hoops to jump through, make it easier for our whanau to come back and build on our land.”
Connelly said that 20 years ago he knew nothing about Greytown and Papawai, but that changed in a two-day visit.
“I was first welcomed to Papawai by Sir Kim [Workman]. On behalf of all manuhiri [visitors] here today, I wish to record how privileged we are to stand on this famous marae.”
Connelly said the South Wairarapa District Council had a commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and said the council sought a full and mutual partnership with all marae and iwi in the area.
“Wherever we look, when we see tangata whenua thriving, we see everyone thriving. When the lakes are clear and healthy for your mokopuna [grandchildren], they will be clear and healthy for everyone’s mokopuna.”
Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki nui-a-Rua Settlement Trust chair Haami Te Whaiti said he could not remember a time when the council had its first meeting on the marae.
“Let alone its inaugural meeting. It’s like what was said on both sides about forming partnerships, it gives us cause for hope.”

Carterton councillors for the 2022 triennium. PHOTO/CARTERTON DISTRICT COUNCIL

Carterton District Council

A new district council was welcomed in a powhiri and swearing-in ceremony at the Carterton Event Centre. New mayor Ron Mark had two nephews speaking in the ceremony, with Te Whakapono Waikare welcoming the delegation on behalf of the hosting mana whenua, and Herewini Ammunson responding for the newly elected councillors and mayor.
Former Carterton mayors Georgina Beyer, John Booth and Greg Lang were also in attendance.

New Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Masterton District Council

In Masterton, elected members were welcomed onto Cole St’s Te Rangimarie Marae in an afternoon ceremony where they were sworn in as councillors.
Gary Caffell received the mayoral chains from chief executive David Hopman, and Masterton’s first Maori Ward councillor Marama Tuuta was celebrated.
Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Wairarapa students performed a waiata for the council and notable attendees.
Following the ceremony, the inaugural council meeting was held at Waiata House.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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