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Te Ao Māori — an evolving and responsible strategy

As New Zealand’s central bank, we are the kaitiaki (guardian) of Aotearoa’s economy and financial system. Through our Te Ao Māori (Māori world) strategy, we are building relationships with tangata whenua to influence the long-term economic wellbeing of Aotearoa.

About the strategy

The strategy is intended as an evolving and transformative journey that will bring together the many threads that already exist within our approach and extend them in new directions.

A critical part of achieving our vision of being a ‘Great Team, Best Central Bank’ is broadening our stakeholder engagement, our approach, and our policy knowledge to become a more inclusive central bank. 

As New Zealand’s central bank, Māori values are part of our national identity – how we see ourselves and how we are viewed by the world. Similar to the state sector but also using our own operational independence, we acknowledge Te Tiriti and our commitment to Te Ao Māori in our own unique way. We aim to reflect the Treaty principles of partnership, protection, and participation within the core tenants of our strategy.

Through our Te Ao Māori strategy, launched in 2018, we are building understanding and embracing our history and heritage. We are doing this in 2 main ways:

  • by exploring how Māori culture and businesses operate, we can gain unique insights of their contribution and impact on the New Zealand economy
  • by adopting Māori values, we can take a long-term view of our core mandate to promote the wellbeing and prosperity of all New Zealanders.

Main workstreams

We breathe life into our Te Ao Māori strategy through three work programmes:

  • policy
  • engagement
  • culture. 

While we have made considerable progress in each workstream, we continue to be future-focused and looking for opportunities to put our strategy into practice.

Te Ao Maori Approach

Policy

We are integrating the unique, intergenerational and long-term view of Te Ao Māori into our core functions by understanding how monetary policy and financial stability impact Māori businesses and vice versa. 

We also continue to broaden our knowledge of Māori businesses, and their economic and financial challenges and opportunities.

Engagement

We are broadening our strategic relationships with: 

  • iwi
  • rūnanga
  • Māori-owned businesses
  • government agencies
  • central banks
  • other Māori organisations. 

We are building advocates and partnerships that are enduring and mutually beneficial.

The views and perspectives of the Māori organisations we have engaged with have helped inform our monetary policy decisions, our work on the future of cash and our review of the capital adequacy framework for registered banks.

Read more about monetary policy decisions

Read more about the future of cash

Read more about our review of the capital adequacy framework for registered banks 

Culture

We are embedding Te Reo Māori (the Māori language) and Māori tikanga (customary practices) into our organisational culture.

The first part of embedding Māori culture is developing the art of storytelling. With the approval of Northern hapu Te Roroa, we have re-imagined the legend of Tāne Mahuta to connect with our stakeholders and tell the story of the Reserve Bank.

Read the legend of Tāne Mahuta

Another important part is ensuring we promote and embrace Te Reo within our organisation. To support this initiative, we signed a Mahi-Tahi agreement (MOU) with Te Taura Whiri I Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission) in 2019. Te reo lessons, tikanga workshops and other opportunities to understand Māori history and culture are also provided to our staff.

MOU with Māori Language Commission

The strategy is supported by an internal cross-department ohu (working group), senior leadership guidance, board oversight, and an external advisory panel of industry experts (see below).

Te Ao Māori Strategy External Advisory Panel

Mark Tume 

Mark is currently chair of Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation, Te Ati Awa Iwi Holdings and Infratil, and a director of Retire Australia. 

He held a number of governance roles with listed and unlisted companies in Aotearoa and Australia. He has also served on the boards of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Transpower and KiwiRail. 

He lives in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Ripeka Evans

Ripeka is currently chair of Northland Polytech Limited and deputy chair of Toi Ohomai Polytech. She was a director of Te Aupōuri Fisheries and trustee on Te Runanganui o Te Aupōuri. 

She has held chief executive roles with Te Māngai Pāho and Toi EDA and worked at the Māori Economic Development Commission, the Department of Māori Affairs, Television New Zealand and the Ministry for Culture & Heritage.

Te Rau Kupenga

Te Rau is the current principal of Te Amokura consultancy. He was previously deputy secretary for the Ministry of the Environment, where he helped lead the Crown’s position on iwi rights and interests in fresh water. 

He also held positions as deputy chief executive at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and deputy secretary at the Ministry of Education.

Alison Thom

Alison is currently a principal advisor at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Previously, she was Chief Executive of Te Runanganui a Iwi o Ngapuhi, Deputy Secretary at Te Puni Kokiri, and Regional Director at the Ministry of Education.

More information

For more information about our Te Ao Māori Strategy, email [email protected]

Emerging Challenges and Lessons from the Māori Economic Renaissance - Speech delivered to the Federation of Māori Authorities (FOMA) annual conference in Nelson by Governor Adrian Orr — September 2019

Kaitiakitanga: Te Ao Māori o Te Pūtea Matua - Guardianship: The Māori World View of the Reserve Bank - Speech delivered to the Raising Māori Investment Capability Conference in Tauranga by Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby — February 2020.

Te Ōhanga Māori – The Māori Economy 2018 - This report on the Māori economy was produced by BERL in 2020. It expands on their 2013 report, providing a rich description of the many roles Māori play in the economy of Aotearoa New Zealand.