Council commits to anti-racism journey
Council has today committed to undertaking anti-racism work, agreeing to put in place plans, resources and actions to deliver on its commitment to tangata whenua in Tairāwhiti.
This follows a public deputation in June from Tina Ngata, requesting that Council embarks on an anti-racism journey after its decision making around the reinstatement of the Endeavour models.
“There is no more powerful act we can do to combat racism than to change policy,” she told councillors today. “An anti-racist future is possible and it starts with recognising it and addressing it.”
A report from chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann recommended the anti-racism work should include historical and contextual understanding, with research into the Council’s policies and practices from the past and present.
Council approved this approach and further recommendations to identify the significant issues and develop a measurement framework, action plan and workshop.
Mayor Rehette Stoltz says she is proud of Council for making the commitment which will allow staff and elected members to embrace anti-racism at an individual, collective and systemic level.
“I believe it is crucial we learn this at a local government context to shine a light on the issues and ensure bias doesn’t creep in at any level.”
Tairāwhiti Piritahi is Council’s framework for fostering Māori participation in Council decision making. Elements in this framework support anti-racism through encouraging respect, understanding and participation.
“There is still much more to be done in this area,” Mayor Stoltz says.
“I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to build a broader understand of racism at an institutional, societal, casual, intended or unconscious level.”