Te Ao Tūmatanui–Strengthening the Māori Crown Relationship

Factsheet 3 Te Ao Tūmatanui–Strengthening the Māori Crown Relationship (223KB | PDF)

Ngā whakataunga matua
Major decisions

The Government is committed to improving services and outcomes for Māori and strengthening the Crown’s relationship with Māori.

The new legislation will contain a standalone clause that the role of the Public Service includes supporting the Crown in its relationships with Māori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi.

To this end, the new Act will have explicit provisions which put responsibilities on:

  • Public Service leaders for developing and maintaining the capability of the Public Service to engage with Māori and to understand Māori perspectives
  • the Commissioner, when developing and implementing the leadership strategy, to recognise the aims, aspirations and employment requirements of Māori, and the need for greater involvement of Māori in the Public Service.

The new Act will also carry over the current requirements on Public Service employers to operate an employment policy that recognises the aims, aspirations and employment requirements of Māori, and the need for greater involvement of Māori in the public service.

The Commissioner and chief executives will be accountable to the appropriate Minister for upholding their responsibilities to support the Māori Crown relationship.

Ka pēhea mō ngā kaimahi kāwanatanga
What it means for public servants

The reform aims to strengthen the Public Service to better support the Government’s commitment to a stronger Māori Crown relationship.

  • Our relationship with Māori is based on collaborative approaches that are mutually beneficial.
  • We can expect to see greater understanding and incorporation of te ao Māori woven into the work and ethos of public service, including:
    • te ao Māori concepts, knowledge, values and perspectives
    • te reo Māori (Māori language)
    • tikanga Māori (protocols and customs)
    • te Tiriti/the Treaty and understanding how it applies day to day
  • We all have a collective responsibility for a culturally competent Public Service that delivers with and for Māori and is committed to support Māori leadership and Māori in decision-making roles in the Public Service.

Ngā pātai me ngā whakautu
Questions and answers

What changes will public servants need to make in their routine work because of the reference in the Act to Te Tiriti o Waitangi?

Guidance will be issued for public servants about what it means to support the Crown in its relationships with Māori. This might touch on how public servants should consider Treaty implications in their day-to-day work, and how engagement with Māori should be approached.

Does this new clause require a big shift in thinking and practice for the Public Service?

There are pockets of good practice across the Public Service – however we need to do a lot more to strengthen the Māori Crown Relationship and ultimately improve outcomes for Māori.

How will public servants be supported to make these changes?

Public Service chief executives will determine what their agency needs, and provide support for each other through the Public Service Leadership Team to implement these practices. The Public Service Commission will provide leadership and guidance to support a wide capability lift. Te Arawhiti also has specific responsibilities to strengthen public sector capability to support the Māori Crown relationship.

Who is responsible for making sure public servants can deliver these expectations?

The Public Service Commissioner and public service chief executives will be responsible to the appropriate Ministers for delivering on these expectations.

Does the stand-alone clause apply to Crown agents and the boards of the Crown agent?

No. However, many Crown agents already recognise special relationships with Māori/iwi. For example, district health boards have specific obligations and responsibilities set out in their governing legislation.

How does this work with the Maihi Karauna work already underway?

The reforms complement the work of the Maihi Karauna because they go beyond language revitalisation and more broadly set out expectations for strengthening Māori capability of the Public Service.

For more information on the Public Service reforms please visit the SSC website.

Last modified: