Māori Governance

Māori Governance is based on several principles and values. It concerns entities, boards, and trusts.

What is Māori Governance?

The word ‘governance’ broadly describes how an organisation is run – whether that organisation is a business, not-for-profit, charity, nation, or other entity. ‘Governance’ is essentially a catch-all term for the processes and systems that organisations use to protect and grow assets. It serves to give structure, direction, transparency, and accountability.

‘Māori Governance’ is governance in a Māori context. It relates to how Māori organisations are structured, with the incorporation of Māori Governance principles.

Principles of Māori Governance

Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Māori Development, details ‘Tikanga’ (customary practices of behaviours) principles in Māori Governance as follows:

“Tikanga principles may also be put into practice in the board of an organisation alongside governance principles. Tikanga, kawa and values that meet the aspirations of being a good treaty partner to contribute to the work of the board. Tikanga can easily fit alongside governance best practice.”

An example of Tikanga in practice is karakia to open and close the meeting.

Other principles could include:

  • Whakapapa.
  • Manaakitanga (Tuakana-Teina).
  • Kotahitanga.
  • Rangatiratanga.
  • Te hono ki te whenua.

Māori Governance is based on a values system of te ao Māori principles and is not necessarily solely based on commercial or financial objectives. Good Māori Governance is based on recognising sustainable economic and environmental opportunities for Māori and future generations.

Māori Governance structures

Māori Governance structures have a point of difference which is embedded in whakapapa and with a future generational capacity and capability view. There is a difference between Māori Governance and governance boards that include Maōri or are wholly Māori.

It is important to note that in Māori organisations, the objectives of governance will take into account the way in which Māori relate to the assets and what they are used for. In some instances, although the organisation operates commercially, commercial objectives may be balanced with the need to safeguard the assets for future generations.

There are various governance frameworks in place:

  • Māori Trusts and entities guidance by Community Law.
  • Link to the guidance provided by the Māori Land Court re trustee for ahu whenua.

Examples of Māori Governance structures

Co-governance examples include:

  • Waikato River Authority.
  • Te Tatau o Te Arawa.
  • Tūhoe – Te Urewera – legislative partnership model.
  • Tūpuna Maunga Authority.

A co-management example includes:

  • Those that have co-management arrangements in reserves and parks.

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