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GDC moves to commit to anti-racism journey

Gisborne district councillors are expected to “commit to an anti-racism journey” when they meet tomorrow.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said the move was in response to the invitation of indigenous rights advocate Tina Ngata for the council make such a commitment.

Ms Ngata made the request at a June 25 council meeting after councillors revoked a previous decision to reinstate the Endeavour models.

Her deputation has since been followed up with a written request.

The paper before councillors, from Ms Thatcher Swann, says the “journey” comprises:

■ Historical/contextual understanding and research into council's past and present, and examination of policies and practices.

■ Identification of significant issues/intervention and development of a measurement framework.

■ Action and workshops.

Ms Thatcher Swann said the council had been on an “improvement pathway” since accusations of racism that gained national media coverage.

One instance involved the Endeavour models decision and the other an alleged racist remark by a councillor.

“Both examples caused significant reputational damage.”

The improvement involves putting in place plans, resources and actions to deliver the council's Tairawhiti Piritahi (coming together) Policy and its commitment to tangata whenua.

“There is still much to be done in this area and this invitation presents an opportunity for council (staff and elected members) to embrace anti-racism at individual, collective and systems levels, and to tangibly demonstrate how we are giving effect to this.”