Māori Wards

A local Council may establish, Māori wards for their city or district. 

Similar to the Māori Parliamentary seats, Māori wards establish areas where only those on the Māori Parliamentary electoral roll vote for the candidates in that Ward. The Māori wards sit alongside the general wards of each city or district. Those voting in Māori wards and constituencies receive only the same number of votes as anyone else.


How are Māori Wards established?

In February 2021, changes to the Local Electoral Act (LEA) removed any options for establishing Māori ward/s other than by resolving to have Māori wards.

New Plymouth District Council resolved to establish a Māori ward on 21 July 2020.


What area will the Māori Wards cover?

First the number of councillors and Ward boundaries are finalised as part of the Representation Review.  New Plymouth District Council will undertake a Representation Review in mid-late 2021.
The Representation Review process determines:

  • The number of councillors to be elected
  • The basis of election for councillors (wards, boundaries and names of those wards)
  • Whether there are to be community boards in the district, where they might be, and what their membership arrangements are.


Who can stand for election in a Māori Ward?

To be eligible to stand for election, a candidate must be:

  • A New Zealand citizen (by birth or citizenship ceremony); and
  • Enrolled as a Parliamentary elector (anywhere in New Zealand); and
  • Nominated by two electors whose names appear on the electoral roll within the ward a candidate is standing for. Candidates in Māori Wards do not need to be of Māori descent, but they do need to be on the parliamentary electoral roll.

Candidates cannot stand for election in multiple wards (ie can’t stand in a general ward and a Māori ward at the same election).


At election time who can vote for Māori Ward candidates?

Electors on the Māori electoral roll can only vote for candidates from a Māori Ward. 

Electors on the General electoral roll can only vote for candidates from a General Ward.


Who votes for the Mayor?

The Mayor is elected ‘at large’ by all electors (eligible voters).  This means all electors from General and Māori Wards vote for the Mayor


Do Māori Ward elected members only represent Māori?

No.  The division into Wards is for electoral purposes only.  Once elected, all elected members, whether elected from General or Māori Wards, take a formal oath of office to represent the entire community.


How many Māori Ward councillors will there be?

The number of councillors elected depends on a formula in the Local Electoral Act.  The number of councillors is based on the Māori and General electoral populations of the district relative to the number of councillors.

The details of the representation structures (including the number of councillors and the ward structures (whether General or Māori wards) will be discussed and decided on as part of the Representation Review process.



Should I be on the Māori roll or the General roll?

If you are of Māori descent you can enrol in either the General or Māori electoral rolls.

If you are not of Māori descent you can only enrol on the General Electoral roll

You can find more information about the Māori Electoral Option on the Electoral Commission’s website.

How can I get involved in the Representation Review?

Send an email to enquiries@npdc.govt.nz and ask to be notified when consultation on the review opens.

Where can I find out more?

Phone us on 06-759 6060 or email us on enquiries@npdc.govt.nz.