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History made at council meeting

By Don Farmer
[email protected]
A milestone meeting of Masterton District Council broke new ground yesterday when two iwi representatives took their place at the council table.
Mihirangi Hollings and Ra Smith were welcomed to a full meeting of the council three months after councillors voted in favour of appointing representatives of both Rangitane o Wairarapa and Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.
Both will have full speaking and voting rights when attending Policy and Finance and Audit and Risk committee meetings, but will be restricted to speaking rights only at full council meetings.
The two were officially welcomed at a ceremony held at the Masterton Club where councillors are meeting now that the Municipal Building is out of bounds as an earthquake risk.
Kaumatua Mike Kawana and PJ Devonshire spoke in Maori to the gathering, waiata was sung and at the end of the proceedings Mr Kawana lead a karakia that had its roots back to the time when Masterton’s founders Retimana Te Korou and Joseph Masters first met.
Mayor Lyn Patterson said the occasion was a “very proud day for me”.
She said she was also proud of her councillors who had voted back in May to “take a step forward into the future”.
“We have never been in this space before but we begin this journey together,” she said.
Ms Hollings, who is the Rangitane appointee, answered for the representatives saying as a person who had been born in Masterton it was “a real honour to be here”.
She thanked her iwi for endorsing her and said she was passionate about the Masterton community.
She and Mr Smith would be looking forward to the challenge although it was a “bit nerve racking,” Ms Hollings said.
Ms Hollings has a BCA degree in management and public policy, a diploma in business studies and a level 4 certificate in Te Reo Maori.
She has mostly worked in central government, for the last eight years for the Ministry of Education in senior advisory positions.
Her volunteer work includes being a trustee on the Wairarapa Moana Board and on the Te-Kura-a-Rangi Trust.
Mr Smith has a BA degree in English and a Diploma in Teaching.
He is the environment manager for Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and his volunteer roles include being chairman of Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae board of trustees and chairman of directors for Te Hauora Runanga o Wairarapa.
He represents iwi in several capacities including a Whaitua regulatory committee.
Rangitane chairwoman Tina Te Tau-Brightwell said both iwi were excited to have Ms Hollings and Mr Smith confirmed as appointments to council.
She said it was heartening to know both “are very active within hapori Maori and contribute to the general community”.
“We are very confident Mihirangi and Ra join the council with a great sense of passion and drive to a high standard.”


  1. It seems that the days of democracy is only applied when it suits. I’m sure the 2 people are lovely, but I do not understand why NON-ELECTED individuals get to have a vote in a democratic organisation when they weren’t democratically voted to that position of power themselves. This is basically nothing but racism isn’t it? When one ‘race’ is treated in a different manner to another? I do not understand how this can be justified by anybody who claims to work within a democratic system. MDC obvsiously have decided to dump democracy in favour of privilege (which literally means ‘private laws’). As I say I have no problem with the people themselves, what I have a problem with is people who haven’t been approved by the town via an election being given power to alter our town and its policies – without the backing of a democratic majority. We don’t live in the 1400s anymore so why are we still acting like we do… this is absolutely patently ridiculous and an insult to anybody who has worked hard to have their voice heard within a DEMOCRATIC system. This makes a mockery of democracy and eberything it stands for. This just shows that MDC does what the well-heeled members that make it up want to do regardless of logic or morality. As I said ‘private laws’.

  2. A milestone indeed! Ra and Mihirangi will do our iwi proud. I recall attending a District Council public meeting about 15 years ago, and after I spoke, a Councillor responded by saying – it looks as though Ngati Kahungunu are here to stay! It’s so important to share our early history with the entire community, and walk the same path together. The two appointees will do that admirably.

  3. What are we celebrating when its taken the council years to allow 2 iwi representation on here and then restricted to full speaking rights during full council meeting’s ?

  4. Agreed Ross! Im also from masterton currently living in otautahi and am very proud of this historic move. This is something all councils across nz can learn from in the true spirit of Te tiriti o Waitangi.

  5. Āe, Tautoko Te Korero…
    I Am Indeed Pleased That Wairarapa Has Seen The Light, Such A Step Forward In The Right Direction With Both Iwi Representatives On The Council At That, Teno Pai Ataahua…
    There Is A Need For Iwi Hapu Representatives Throughout All Of Aotearoa, The Sooner Iwi Have A Voice In Council Matter’s The Better For Our Environment And Children’s Future, Ending Corruption At The Highest Levels…


  6. Congratulations to the Mayor and Council. This is something that the Taranaki Council could learn from. Ra Smith is one of the most well balanced and gentle souls I know. Great to see some positive moves back home.

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