Who we are and what we do
Te Pūtea Matua, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Reserve Bank, we, us) is Aotearoa New Zealand’s central bank. The Reserve Bank is independent from the Government in our day-to-day operations and is legally separate from the Crown. We are an entity created by statute and a public sector organisation.
The Reserve Bank’s purpose is outlined in the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 2021 (RBNZ Act 2021). The purpose of the RBNZ Act 2021 is to ‘promote the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealanders and contribute to a sustainable and productive economy’. The Reserve Bank’s legislative objectives relate to financial stability, price stability and maximum sustainable employment, and central banking. We do this by:
- keeping prices stable while supporting maximum, sustainable employment
- regulating banks, insurers and non-bank deposit takers
- producing Aotearoa New Zealand’s bank notes and coins
- operating effective, wholesale payment and settlement systems
- acting as the central bank of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Why RBNZ has developed this statement
Te Pūtea Matua is the kaitiaki (guardian) of New Zealand’s financial system and is tasked in its legislation with promoting the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealanders and contributing to a sustainable and productive economy.
To carry out our task we need to better connect with Māori and the Māori economy in the work we do to enable greater wellbeing outcomes for all New Zealanders and to ensure through our work that Māori economic activity is able to contribute to a sustainable and productive economy. This Statement commits us to identifying the opportunities to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Te Tiriti) through our mahi at Te Pūtea Matua and to show how we are delivering on those commitments.
Significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to Te Pūtea Matua
Te Pūtea Matua as Aotearoa New Zealand’s central bank is committed to implementing our statutory objectives in a manner that best gives effect to Te Tiriti. This commitment flows from our public function as well as the constitutional and legal significance of Te Tiriti in Aotearoa New Zealand. Taking into account Te Tiriti will inform our work through a wider set of relationships with tangata whenua and will broaden our perspectives on the work we do. This will make us a more effective central bank responsive to all New Zealanders.
This creates the opportunity for us to:
- build a robust understanding of tangata whenua, including the culture and unique economic and businesses aims of iwi and Māori
- build our own internal Te Ao Māori capacity and capability
- engage with and have relationships with iwi and Māori
- meaningfully embed Māori outcomes within our policy, processes, systems and culture.
Our te ao Māori strategy seeks to actively progress and speak to how the Reserve Bank gives effect to Te Tiriti. This document sets out at a high level how we give effect to our statutory objectives in a manner that takes into account Te Tiriti.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its application to Te Pūtea Matua
Te Tiriti is a historical document that is brought to life through its interpretation and application in contemporary contexts. We are guided in this interpretation in particular by the Waitangi Tribunal jurisprudence, our own relationships and consultation with iwi and Māori and by our Māori staff and stakeholders.
Key to the interpretation is the duty of good faith and the need to act in ways that are consistent with the spirit and intent of Te Tiriti. Our interpretation of Te Tiriti must be built on what it says as well as on the intent of the signatories and the spirit of partnership it was intended to embody.
We recognise that the interpretation of Te Tiriti has developed over time and continues to evolve today. We are committed to continue to evolve its understanding of Te Tiriti and its application to our work. We have identified key areas of application across our work below. These are overlapping.
The concept of partnership in Te Tiriti invokes respecting and balancing the Māori right to exercise tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty) with the Crown’s right to exercise kāwanatanga. For Te Pūtea Matua, this denotes a relationship akin to partnership, with a duty to act reasonably, honestly and in good faith. The relationship is one where each respects the other’s authority and both partners operate within a common framework of rights and responsibilities. The balance and expression of partnership will vary and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on the level of Māori interest. The greater the interest, the greater the involvement by Māori.
The concept of partnership includes the right for iwi to choose how they organise themselves, and how or through what organisations they express their tino rangatiratanga.
- engaging early, meaningfully consulting and where practical seek iwi Māori input on policy issues that impact Māori interests
- continuing to build and foster long-term partnerships with iwi, hapū and Māori organisations
- working to enable iwi Māori participation in the Reserve Bank's activities in the manner that Māori would prefer to participate
- understanding and making informed decisions on matters that impact iwi and Māori interests (through engagement, relationships and internal upskilling), and
- embedding in, in a systemic way, a process to assess the iwi Māori interest in given decisions.
This requires equitable access for iwi Māori to our activities as well as seeking to achieve equitable outcomes.
Where significant disparities exist, positive steps should be taken in pursuit of equity to reduce those disparities. This requires Māori to be adequately supported, to ensure they are able to exercise their authority and autonomy over their own affairs on their own terms. It also means that any practical arrangement or framework intended to implement partnership requires regular evaluation to ensure that partnership continues to be meaningful and valuable to both parties.
A commitment must produce meaningful engagement and outcomes that reflect the aspirations of iwi and Māori.
- working to better understand iwi and Māori participation in the financial system
- looking to increase te ao Māori capacity, capability, representation and visibility within Te Pūtea Matua
- working to ensure our people and approach supports and encourages meaningful Māori engagement and participation
- working to ensure the cash system continues to meet the needs of Māori, and
- working to understand the impacts that Reserve Bank decisions may have on iwi and Māori and factor that into decision-making.
This encompasses the responsibility to protect the interests of iwi Māori.
It requires protecting and preserving iwi Māori interests, including taonga and recognising the right of iwi and Māori to operate within cultural preferences. Part of active protection is keeping informed of the relevant circumstances as they apply to iwi and Māori needs.
- working to better understand the cultural preferences of iwi Māori and ensuring these are considered and respected in our work and engagements
- working to build our workforce cultural competency and improve the representation of Māori within the Reserve Bank, which will also assist with ensuring the contribution of mātauranga Māori is recognised appropriately where relevant to our work
- normalising te reo me ōna tikanga where practicable in the Reserve Bank, using this publicly to promote access, and ensuring our engagements with iwi and Māori utilise and respect cultural preferences
- partnering with iwi Māori to protect and preserve the integrity of the Māori imagery displayed on our notes and coins and elsewhere
- in recognition of the fact that one-size fits all models in practice sometimes suit only the needs of the majority, we will work to consider where there is opportunity for more nuanced approaches including integration of Māori models where that would assist Te Pūtea Matua with achieving our purpose and objectives without undermining the essence of such a model
- only using Māori imagery in our work respectfully and with attribution, and
- protecting and respecting Māori artistic and cultural works such as the carvings in our building.