The Whakatāne District Council has voted to enable the establishment of Maori wards.
It was a close vote, with a six-five vote in favour of the wards.
Whakatāne District Mayor Tony Bonne said in a statement today the move fostered relationships between the District and Maori.
"I see this as a continuation of the work we have been doing to foster growth and positive relationships within our rohe (region) so we can move forward together."
Council will notify the public of their right to demand a poll on the wards by November 23.