Adam Gifford

Bonita Bigham – Young Advisors Moving Aotearoa Forward

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The chair of New Zealand’s local government Te Maruata Māori network said the younger generation of elected officials are ready to embrace Te Tiriti o Waitangi in governance.

The chair of New Zealand’s local government Te Maruata Māori network said the younger generation of elected officials are ready to embrace Te Tiriti o Waitangi in governance.

Nominations are now closed for local elections in October, in which 35 councils will have Maori wards or constituencies for the first time.

Bonita Bigham says these new members should enter councils much more willing to listen to Maori views if the attitude of the under-40s at the recent LGNZ conference is any indicator.

“It’s about having te Tiriti as the base, as the foundation of everything we do – partnerships, relationships, whatever – not just our elected Maori youth who have this vision, it’s the elected youth sector in its together. These are the young people who are coming in with a broader understanding, with a greater appreciation, with a greater sense of manaakitanga, towards each other, so they are the ones who are going to move Aotearoa forward,” she says.

Ms Bigham says young councilors want to make mokopuna decisions because they realize that decisions made now will affect those who come after.