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Medium-Large Organisation Winner 

Mātauranga Māori Ministry for the Environment

As the lead public sector agency for environmental policy, Te Manatū Mō Te Taiao Ministry for the Environment recognised it was uniquely positioned to support the relationship Māori have with the whenua.


In order to build better partnerships with tangata whenua, the Ministry introduced Te Ao Hurihuri, a transformational gains strategy to improve their ability to engage and partner with iwi/Māori.

Principal Advisor Joyce-Anne Raihania says the strategy adapts Sir Mason Durie’s Pae Ora – Healthier Futures model.

“By basing our strategy on a kaupapa Māori framework, we have challenged our organisation to consider Māori's connection to the whenua and the responsibility that Māori have for protecting land for past and future generations,” she says.

Te Ao Hurihuri considers six pae ora elements:
• Mana Ora – Building accountability and relationships with public sector leads Public Service Commission, Te Arawhiti and Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori
• Kaitiaki Ora – Strengthening leadership opportunities for Te Rōpu Māori o te Manatū mo te Taiao
• Whānau Ora – Providing wānanga, training and tools to become competent when engaging their Treaty partners
• Wai Ora – Reviewing and redefining the Ministry’s divisions and their work programmes
• Mauri Ora – Providing individualised performance plans to fulfil engagement competency requirements
• HauOra – Evaluating the Ministry to assess their performance and progress

The strategy was launched in July 2020 by the Ministry’s chief executive at an all-staff hui. These included Treaty training, te reo classes, and effective engagement workshops for staff to upskill and begin their own bi-cultural journey. For many participants, this has been a uniquely personal journey.

Says one employee, “I feel I have a greater awareness and understanding of what my people have lost, and the inter-generational trauma and suffering as a result of this across all aspects of our livelihoods and how that carries on into today. At the end of one of the sessions I was really overwhelmed and emotional from what I had learnt and had been ignorant to… From a professional front, I now have greater understanding of the need to ensure Maori communities are connected in with our environmental work, and we enable younger generations to lead in their home regions.”

Mātauranga Māori  Ministry for the Environment

A commitment to Māori development is also part of the Ministry’s Strategic Framework, launched at the end of 2020.

“This consists of an operating principal of bringing the Treaty of Waitangi and te ao Māori into our work every day and a strategic priority of reflecting the Treaty of Waitangi in decision making,” says Joyce-Anne.

A Deputy Secretary Māori Rights and Interests role was created to lead and set the direction of future work.

“We recognised that how we work together internally and how we engage externally with Māori is critical to the success of the Ministry’s work,” she says.

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