Emotional scenes as Far North District Council votes yes on Māori wards

There were emotional scenes at a Far North District Council meeting this afternoon as councillors voted 7 – 3 in favour of establishing Māori wards.

Two hours of passionate presentations ended in cheers, tears and hugs as the vote was announced.

The current council will now have to decide the structure of the next council.

If it retains its current number of nine members then three would become Māori ward councillors leaving six representing general wards.

The district has one of the highest Māori population's in the country at 51 per cent, but in 2015 a local poll saw 67 per cent of voters reject the option of Māori wards.

Last year another poll of council members only, saw a 50/50 split.

The far north will now join nine council's that have already voted to establish Māori wards in time for the 2022 elections and three others that made the commitment earlier.