14,567 voted against a Māori ward or wards being established; 6530 voted for.
"Māori representation is unique to New Zealand. It is part of our constitution and the Treaty of Waitangi. Local government is the only area where we don't have it, and I had hoped our community would have voted differently to address this anomaly," says Mayor Smith.
"During the voting period I heard debates from both sides and I am pleased the community has had a healthy discussion on the subject. The poll allowed democracy to take place. We must now accept that outcome.
“On a positive note, more than 21,000 people took part in the poll and this is an excellent level of engagement. I thank people for taking the opportunity to have their say.
"We currently co-govern the Manawatū River with local iwi, and are looking at ways to extend that co-governance with some of our reserves and parks."
Following the final results being announced, Council will continue with its Representation Review which will determine the structure of Council. "We look forward to hearing the views of our community on this."
It is anticipated that the official results for the Māori ward poll will be available by Thursday, 24 May.