Whakatane could be the third council to include Māori constituencies, a move welcomed by Minister for Local Government Nanaia Mahuta.
The council has voted 6-5 in favour of a resolution to allow electors to demand a binding poll to be held on whether or not Māori wards should be introduced.
Ms Mahuta, who is also the Minister for Māori Development, welcomed the prospect that there could be another council that included Māori wards.
"I welcome the Whakatane District Council's decision to establish Māori wards to ensure fair representation at the council table," she says.
"If successful, Whakatane District Council will join Wairoa District Council in having new Māori wards at the next local elections in 2019."
Māori make up 43.5 percent of people in Whakatane District and comprise almost 15 percent of the entire Māori population in New Zealand.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Waikato Regional Council already have Māori constituencies.
In September the Auckland council voted in principle to introduce a Māori ward 10-5.