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Representation review

We are currently looking at how Council (our mayor and councillors) is structured before the next election in 2022.

The consultation for the initial proposal has now closed. We are looking towards the public hearing on 18 October to hear submissions around our initial proposal

Thank you to everyone who has provided input into this process so far. We have taken your feedback on board and our commissioners have decided on an initial proposal based on that feedback (see details below).

What we are proposing?

The initial proposal will be for Tauranga residents to elect nine councillors – eight from eight general wards and one from a Māori ward – plus a mayor. 

Initial proposal: single member wards model

The proposed eight general wards are: Mauao/Mount Maunganui, Arataki, Pāpāmoa, Welcome Bay, Matua, Bethlehem, Tauriko and Te Papa (which runs from Greerton through the city centre to the harbour bridge).

The Māori ward would cover the entire city.

Representation review ward map Initial proposal Maori ward

We will continue to have no community boards under this proposal.

Who gets to vote for who?

If you are on the general election roll you will vote for the mayor and vote for a ward councillor (in the area where you live).

If you are on the Māori election roll you will vote for the mayor and for the Māori ward representative.

Everyone gets two votes.

What structure do we currently have?

We currently have one mayor (who is elected by the whole city) and 10 councillors.

  • Six of those councillors are elected from three general wards:
    • Otumoetai/Pyes Pa
    • Te Papa/Welcome Bay
    • Mount Maunganui/Papamoa
  • And four councillors are elected ‘at large’ (elected by the whole city)


  • Pre-engagement

    16 July - 13 August
  • Council meeting to hear feedback from public:
    Council adopts an initial proposal for public consultation

    30 August 2021
  • Public notice of initial proposal

    3 September 2021
  • Public submission period

    3 September to 4 October 2021
  • Council meeting to hear public submissions on initial proposal

    18 October 2021
  • Council meeting to deliberate on public submissions and decide on final proposal

    8 November 2021
  • Appeal / objection period

    12 November to 13 December 2021

The decision to add a Māori ward will not be changed as a part of this review. The name of the Māori ward will be gifted by Te Rangapū Mana Whenua o Tauranga Moana. Currently the general wards are named based on their geographic location. These names are not set in stone so please provide suggestions for the names of the general wards as part of your submission.

Ward maps

View which ward your location would be a part of as a part of our initial proposal.

Arataki (5mb pdf) Bethlehem (7mb pdf) Matua (5mb pdf) 
Mauao/Mount Maunganui (6mb pdf) Pāpāmoa (6mb pdf) Te Papa (6mb pdf) 
Tauriko (8mb pdf) Welcome Bay (7mb pdf) 

The proposed names of the wards, the number of members to be elected in each ward, and the population each ward councillor will represent is set out in the table below. 

Ward name Number of members to be elected Population per member +/->10%
Māori ward 1 15,300 N/A
Mauao/Mount Maunganui 1 16,500 -3.26
Arataki 1 17,150 0.55
Pāpāmoa 1 16,850 -1.21
Welcome Bay 1 18,000 5.53
Matua 1 18,050 5.83
Bethlehem 1 17,550 2.89
Te Papa 1 16,400 -3.85
Tauriko 1 15,950 -6.49
Total 9    

Description of wards

This ward reflects the community of interest for Māori electors and those in the Māori community.

This ward includes Mount Maunganui, Omanu, Bayfair and Matapihi. It forms part of the coastal strip and recognises the unique feature of Mauao which is an important cultural, historic and geographical feature. This ward has a focus on leisure and tourism. It faces increased tsunami risk, sea level rise and coastal hazards due to its location. Improved transportation links to the City via state highways are of importance to residents. 

This ward includes Arataki, Te Maunga, Palm Beach and Kairua.   It forms part of the coastal strip. Like the Mauao/Mount Maunganui ward, the residents have strong links to the unique feature of Mauao and the ward has a focus on leisure and tourism. It faces increased tsunami risk, sea level rise and coastal hazards due to its location. Improved transportation links to the City via state highways are of importance to residents. 

This ward includes Pāpāmoa, Golden Sands, Wairakei and Te Tumu. This coastal strip area has accelerated population growth.  In the next 10 years an estimated 2-3,000 new homes will be built in the areas already zoned for housing and 7-8,000 homes once Te Tumu is zoned for housing. It also faces increased tsunami risk, sea level rise and coastal hazards due to its location. Improved transportation links to the City as well as the construction of a direct link to the Tauranga Eastern Link via the Pāpāmoa East Interchange are of importance to residents

This ward includes Welcome Bay, Maungatapu, Kaitemako, Poike and Ohauiti. These areas have a reliance on services and facilities located in other suburbs and transportation to the city centre is an important issue for local residents.  More rural based residents have specific needs related to rural living.

This ward includes Matua, Otumoetai, Bellevue and Brookfield. With a large population living close to the city centre, the residents of this ward are impacted by the increase of infill housing, are interested in safer transport options and the development of community facilities

This ward includes includes Bethlehem and Judea. With a large population living close to the city centre, the residents of this ward are impacted by the increase of infill housing, are interested in safer transport options and the development of community facilities.  

This ward includes Te Papa Peninsula, Sulphur Point, CBD, Fraser Cove, Gate Pa, Tauranga South, Merivale, Yatton Park and Greerton (north of Chadwick Road). The Te Papa Spatial Plan, with its focus on increased density and city-living type housing, is estimated to increase the number of residents on the Te Papa Peninsula by 15,000 by 2050. The Cameron Road redevelopment project with improved passenger services and transport choices will have a major impact on residents. The development of community facilities, spaces and places and the inner-city revitalisation are of importance to residents.  

This ward includes Pyes Pa, Hairini, Oropi, Greerton (south of Chadwick Road), The Lakes and Tauriko. The expansion of the city to the west has seen boundary changes with Western Bay to facilitate the development of business, industry and residential growth. It is estimated in the next 10 years that 3-4,000 new homes will be built, improvements will be made to SH29 and connections to it, and an additional 100-150 hectares of business land will be provided creating an additional 2,000 jobs. This ward includes rural based residents that have specific needs related to rural living.

Reasons for the proposed changes

This proposal:

  1. recognises the distinct communities of interest in the city based on geographical areas and provides for fair and effective representation of those communities of interest
  2. is seen as the most equitable, as both general and Māori electors vote for one councillor and the mayor
  3. has a more even distribution of electors per councillor for the general wards than other options
  4. has the potential for a more efficient governance model with a smaller number of councillors (reduced from ten to nine)
  5. is easier to understand than other representation arrangements and has a direct link between electors and the ward councillor
  6. has the potential for less costs for candidates standing in general wards
  7. could address the concerns and issues raised by the Review and Observer Team
  8. presents the mayor with a clearly defined leadership role being elected at large (by all voters). 

Proposed change option

We went out for public feedback on the four options below. We are proposing the single member wards model with 9 councilors plus mayor.

The other options we considered:

Option 1: Mixed model 

Option 2: Two wards 

Option 3: Seven wards model 

Option 4: Single member wards model

Community boards

The number of councillors

We also considered other options with 10 and 12 councillors. We listened to what you had to say in the initial community survey, that 10 members or less was the preferred number of councillors for effective representation of Tauranga.

This proposal will see nine councillors plus the mayor elected at 8 October 2022 elections.


Frequently asked questions

No, all Tauranga residents are welcome to participate and have their views heard in the representation review.

The position of mayor is not up for review. The mayor is elected by all voters.

A Māori ward has been confirmed to be established for the next election. This is not up for review.

More information on Māori wards

We will be asking Tangata Whenua for feedback on a name for this ward.

With a new Māori ward, there must also be at least one general ward created. This can be established across the entire city.

As part of the review, we must identify communities of interest. The Local Government Commission’s guidelines recognise a community of interest according to three criteria:

  • Perceptual: a sense of belonging to an area or locality. People have things in common with neighbours, feel an affinity with and shared responsibility to people, shared goals or ideas, a shared history, rohe or takiwā of local hapu/iwi, similar demographic or socio-economic characteristics. Can include distinct physical and topographical features e.g. river, harbour, lakes, beach, mountain that people feel a geographical attachment to.
  • Functional: the ability to meet the community’s requirements for services includes access to and dependence on daily goods and services e.g. schools, recreation and cultural facilities, parks, shops and shopping centres, public transport links.
  • Political: the ability of the elected body to represent the interests and reconcile the conflicts of all its members.

Communities of interest can mean different things to different people. They can also change over time which is why a review is carried out every six years. They must be able to be mapped and have a geographic boundary that aligns with Statistics New Zealand’s mesh blocks.

It is up to the Minister of Local Government to determine if the Commission is extended. If this happens, then the election could be delayed until 2025.

After the formal consultation process, the public can either appeal or object to Council’s final decision.  

The Local Government Commission hears any appeals or objection and will then confirm what Tauranga’s representation arrangements will be. 

If Council’s final proposal is non-complying with the legislation, it will go directly to the Local Government Commission for its final decision.

We need to determine whether our rapidly growing city can be effectively governed by the current number of elected members (11, comprised of 10 councillors + mayor) or whether this needs to change - Council comprised 14 councillors when it was constituted in 1989, reducing to 13 in 1998 and to 10 in 2004. It has stayed at 10 councillors since then. The Initial Proposal is suggesting nine councillors plus a mayor.

To decide this, we need to consider accessibility to elected members, and the size and configuration of an area. Questions include:

  • Would the population have reasonable access to councillors and vice versa?
  • Would councillors be able to effectively represent the views of their area?
  • Would councillors be able to attend public meetings through their area and provide reasonable opportunities for residents to meet with them?

Each elected general ward councillor should represent a similar number of people, within plus or minus 10%. This is called the +/- 10% rule.

The next election is scheduled for October 2022.

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Talk with a staff member

Coral Hair, Manager Democracy Services
07 577 7000

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