Building governance know-how in Māori communities

Published on Rātū, 05 Whiringa ā-rangi, 2019

Today, big decisions in Te Ao Māori are made as much in boardrooms as they are on marae. Te Puni Kōkiri is getting behind the people who are making those decisions, by making sure they have quality governance training and development so they can plan for the years and generations to come.

Partnering for communities

Governance means thinking about strategic issues, rather than the operational day-to-day running of an organisation, or in this case, an iwi. For example, good governance is important when an iwi or Māori organisation is responsible for safeguarding treaty settlement assets on behalf of mokopuna yet to be born.

Since 2016 Te Puni Kōkiri has partnered with the Institute of Directors to grow strong and resilient governance boards in Māori communities. Through this partnership, hundreds of people from iwi and Māori organisations have already received quality training and development through a programme called Ngā Pae Hihiri.

“To be able to offer free quality directorship training programmes to our people in Te Tairāwhiti aligns with the need to grow capacity and capability in our region,” says Marsha Wyllie, Senior Advisor Te Puni Kōkiri Gisborne Office. 

Marsha seen here with facilitator Hamish Stevens

In Te Tairāwhiti communities, and others further afield, Ngā Pae Hihiri encourages iwi to put succession plans in place so that whānau and future generations are well looked after. Each session is tailored to the unique issues faced by different iwi, whānau and Māori organisations.

Ngā Pae Hihiri is run by expert facilitators who lead discussions from a Te Ao Māori perspective and bring insight into the nature of governance, drawing likeness with kaitiakitanga or stewardship. Also covered over the three-day programme are finance and strategy essentials.

Coming back for more

Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust put its hand up for Māori governance training through Ngā Pae Hihiri in 2016. The Trust found it so useful that three years later it took part in a follow-up evaluation of its board, a bit of a Warrant of Fitness to check everything was still running to plan.

The follow-up sessions give iwi and organisations an opportunity to further develop their governance skills. People can reflect on their progress since Ngā Pae Hihiri, and figure out how to keep improving in the weeks, months and years ahead.

People who complete Ngā Pae Hihiri receive a range of governance tools, a one year Institute of Directors membership, access to webinars and the online Ngā Pae Hihiri alumni knowledge community.  

Iwi and organisations can share what they have learned with whānau and local governance groups in their community. In essence they are casting the knowledge net wider so that even more people who are involved in the kaupapa are equipped to successfully safeguard treaty assets for the future.  

The Ngā Pae Hihiri programme is supported by Te Puni Kōkiri Māori Development Fund. The Fund supports partnerships and regional economic development initiatives that build capacity for social enterprise-based development, skills, learning and leadership, and support te ao Māori and whanaungatanga.

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