The Journey of Te Pūtea Matua: Our Tāne Mahuta
Te Pūtea Matua is the Māori name for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. This article presents a broad picture of Te Pūtea Matua’s heritage, role, and interdependencies both within the Bank and economy-wide.
“The Reserve Bank team want to tell our story of how we fit together, and show respect to past, present, and future New Zealanders. Understanding our origin is especially important in times of change, which we are experiencing at present – including our legislation being reviewed,” Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr says.
“The establishment of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in 1934 meant the people and government of New Zealand were better able to manage the economy independent of foreign banks’ credit cycles. In that sense, and drawing on Māori mythology, the Reserve Bank became the Tāne Mahuta of New Zealand’s financial system, allowing the sun to shine in on the New Zealand economy,” Mr Orr says.
“Te Pūtea Matua’s activities include issuing currency to the public, and maintaining price and institutional stability in New Zealand’s money exchange systems. Te Pūtea Matua’s roots are in its legislation. The money exchange systems and functions are its trunk, allowing the money – the sap – to flow throughout the system. The branches are the regulated financial institutions grafted onto the trunk, for their legitimacy and access to the Bank’s money and banking system.
“These functions are inter-related and allow Te Pūtea Matua to protect, nurture, and grow New Zealand’s wider financial ecosystem for the greater benefit of all New Zealanders.”
Mr Orr says the Reserve Bank is standing in good stead for the future, but will continue to grow and adapt to its environment. “We face challenges and changes that are driven by technology, economic development, global connectedness, and broader government, public and employee expectations. This is an exciting and challenging time for the Reserve Bank,” he says.
“We aim for this document to be a living story that evolves as people add their insights and share their knowledge and perspectives.”