Statement of proposal

Elected member with koru
In summary, we propose:
  • Increasing the number of councillors to 10 to reflect the increase in population since the last review in 2015.
  • The community boards and general wards remain the same and there will be the same number of community board members.
  • Introducing a Māori ward, Ngā Tai o Tokerau, to cover the entire district, and there will be four councillors elected at large for this ward. The remaining six general councillors will be elected to the general wards in which they stand.

In addition:

  • We know that some communities have been split by subdivision and/or ward boundaries. We have fixed this, resulting in minor border ‘swaps’ between community boards.
  • We propose to introduce a new subdivision for Waipapa, based on feedback from our elected members and the public.

Formal documents

The following documents outline the changes proposed:

Review of Representation Arrangements - Public Notice(PDF, 76KB)
Proposed wards and subdivision maps for public consultation(PDF, 20MB)
Current wards(PDF, 741KB)
Current subdivisions(PDF, 898KB)
Representation review submission form(PDF, 140KB) also available online here
Report to Council 12 August 2021(PDF, 192KB)

Click on the blue accordians below to find out more about the proposal. This information is also available in a printed brochure in both English(PDF, 3MB) and te reo Māori(PDF, 3MB) . To find more information, scroll down to related content or return to the Representation Review consultation page.

Big enough, yet small enough

Under the existing structure, Far North District Council has nine councillors. This number works well, but there will be benefits if we add an additional councillor. Ten councillors (plus the Mayor) could:

  • More easily spread the workload
  • Continue to easily reach clear majority decisions
  • Reflect our district’s diversity of voices, but still small enough to work collaboratively and make decisions quickly when required
  • Continue tight-knit working relationships
  • Share of total remuneration package still sufficient to make this a viable career option for younger people from all backgrounds.

General ward boundaries

The Council has considered the district’s growth since the last review. It believes the existing structure – three general wards, and three community boards – is still effective and fair. Some adjustments to ward subdivisions are necessary to cater for communities of interest. Here's what is different or new:

  1. Minor adjustments to align communities of interest:
  • Awanui 
  • Ōkaihau
  • Pākaraka
  • Ngāpipito
  • Waimate North
  • Tāumarere
  • South Whangaroa 
  • Maromākū and Waiomio

2. Creation of a new Waipapa subdivision, recognising this area as a community of interest.

3. Rename the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa ward to Te Pēwhairangi-Whangaroa (being the Māori name for the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa).

A new Māori ward - Ngā Tai o Tokerau

Council voted to establish Māori wards in May 2021. It is a practical demonstration of our commitment to tangata whenua, and it better reflects the needs and aspirations of the Far North community, half of which identifies as Māori.

Candidates standing for election in a Māori ward do not need to be of Māori descent, but must be nominated by two electors from the Māori electoral roll within that Māori ward.

Those on the Māori electoral roll can vote for someone standing in their Māori ward. Those on the general electoral roll can vote for someone standing in their general ward.

Councillors elected to represent Māori wards sign the same oath as other councillors. When making decisions as a councillor, they represent all the people of the Far North, just as general councillors do.

Community Board boundaries

Community boards will stay as they are now, but with some minor tweaks to bring communities of interest together and ensure population changes don't adversely affect fair representation. You can interrogate these changes using our interactive map: Mapping the changes.

What is a community of interest?

A community of interest is defined as a group of people who are connected in some way. It may be ‘functionally’, for example through shared schools, shopping or service centres. It might be more ‘perceptual’ – a sense of belonging to a place through historic use or cultural practice. It could be a political affinity that unites a group of people, or a topographic connection, such as a river catchment or mountain. It is likely that a community of interest includes elements of more than one of these factors.

What is effective representation?

To be effective, communities of interest should not be split. The size and geography of an area should allow representatives and constituents to have reasonable access to each other, so that public and face-to-face meetings are possible. To be effective elected representatives need to be able to represent the variety of views within their area.

What is fair representation?

Fair representation means each elected member represents roughly the same number of people. There is a “plus or minus 10% rule” to help us avoid unnatural divisions between wards. In 2020, the Far North had an estimated resident population of 71,050 with 25,000 on the Māori electoral roll and 46,050 on the general roll. That means:

  • Each general ward councillor represents between 6907 and 8442 people
  • Each Māori ward councillor represent between 5625 and 6875 people.

If you have any questions about this initial proposal, you can email You will receive a response within a business working day.

Last updated 20 August 2021