Far North councillors take on national leadership roles

Published on 23 June 2020

Councillors Tepania and Smith.jpg

Young Far North District councillors are being recognised nationally for their leadership skills.

Last month, 29-year-old councillor, Moko Tepania, was appointed co-chair of the Local Government New Zealand Young Elected Members Committee. The Committee represents elected members under the age of 40 on the LGNZ National Council and has 10 members selected from around the country.

Only Far North District Council has two representatives on the sub-committee with FNDC councillor Rachel Smith representing the Zone 1 geographic area, while councillor Tepania is Te Maruata Roopu Whakahaere representative. Like the Young Elected Members Committee, Te Maruata is a sub-committee of the National Council and is focused on promoting Māori representation and participation in local government. Councillor Smith is also an elected member of the LGNZ Governance and Strategy Advisory Group.

Far North Mayor John Carter says councillor Tepania’s appointment as co-chair recognises the strong leadership skills he has demonstrated since being elected last year to the District Council.

“He is our youngest councillor and the youngest elected member in Northland. However, he has very quickly made an impression and proved to be a strong advocate for greater recognition and participation of Māori in local politics.”

In December 2019, Councillor Tepania called on all Councils to respect the New Zealand Declaration of Independence by not holding meetings on 28 October. In May this year, he presented what is thought to be New Zealand's first bilingual council meeting report to Far North District councillors, which called for an appropriately resourced review of Māori representation to be implemented.

Councillor Tepania says he is both humbled and excited to represent the Far North on the committees. “He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. At the heart of what we do are the people. Time to do some mahi!”

Mayor Carter says the national leadership roles taken on by two of the youngest and newest councillors elected in the Far North is proof the district is progressive and increasingly inclusive. 

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