Ngā Kura ki Hawaiiki

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Governance Training

Implementing a Māori Governance Training Framework


“We can support projects WE believe will make a difference to Māori - and do it our way. It’s important to have organisations like Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust who are bold and game enough to employ innovative ideas and challenge the status quo.”

John Tamihere, Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust

Governance Training

Implementing a Māori Governance Training Framework

Rawinia Kamau

“The Trust aims to integrate both the long-term view – how best to invest today for future returns – and the more urgent need to support today’s Māori entities to meet their fast-growing governance responsibilities.”
– Rawinia Kamau


A Strategic Approach to Māori Governance Training

One of the priorities of Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust is to lift the number of Māori able to effectively govern, manage and develop Māori-owned resources. 

Understanding that Māori generally have not had a lot of experience in effective governance, and that more Māori than ever are joining governance boards to manage Treaty settlement resources, the Trust wanted to develop a strategy for building Māori governance capability and capacity. To this end, the Trust instigated a project to support Māori governance through a process of research, collaboration and the design of a framework for governance education and training – a framework that incorporates governance skills from both a Western and a kaupapa Māori perspective. 

The project was led by business consultant Rawinia Kamau (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine), who has worked extensively in Māori business and economic development. Rawinia was a senior economist for Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) and a member of the Māori Economic Taskforce Project, which reviewed the Māori asset base and developed plans for the Māori economy. With more than 15 years’ experience in working toward Māori well-being and economic advancement, she has a solid understanding of Māori ethos and preferences across a range of settings. She has extensive governance expertise and has held governance positions in both Māori and non-Māori organisations including roles with the Chamber of Commerce, Credit Union and Enterprise Agencies and was a director on both the Kahungunu Asset Holding Company and the Ngāti Kahungunu Economic Development Board.

Phase 1: Scoping Report

In Phase 1 of the project, the Trust commissioned a scoping report to establish the status of governance training for Māori. Its aims included identifying the needs of individuals who govern Māori entities, looking at existing governance education and training programmes and determining the gaps between the two.

Key findings included:

  • Māori govern both Māori and non-Māori entities: Māori govern a diverse range of Māori entities, from whānau and marae trusts to publicly listed companies and commercial enterprises.
  • Three separate Māori governance situations: Māori governing Māori organisations; non-Māori governing Māori organisations; Māori governing non-Māori organisations.
  • Diverse range of needs: Some governors have technical and business skills, but little cultural knowledge; some governors have cultural expertise, but few business skills; some require training in both areas.
  • Key differences for Māori in governance roles (compared with non-Māori): Although the general principles and practices of good governance are universal, Māori governance is subject to additional considerations such as culture, language, protocol and values.  Also, Māori in governance roles are often beneficiaries themselves and directly related (by whakapapa) to the beneficiaries of an entity, adding a further dimension to the sense of responsibility in their governance roles.
  • A widespread need for Māori governance training: Existing programmes satisfy the generic governance needs of directors, trustees and office holders, but lack the perspective required for Māori organisations.
  • Need for a Poutama framework: There is no education and training framework that provides for clear progression in key skill areas. Education and training providers are operating independently and there is a need to have a framework where governors can move from level to level across both business and cultural skills.
  • Specific training needs: Current governance training programmes do not meet the specific training needs for those who govern Māori entities.

The report also aimed to identify what role Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust could play in governance training – in particular, how to ensure that services and resources match the needs of those who govern Māori entities. 

It pinpointed a range of ways to bridge the gaps. Ms Kamau said these options included customising existing courses to meet the needs of Māori, extending the reach of programmes currently under development, developing a range of new programmes, and/or developing modules to raise knowledge and skills in areas such as te reo Māori and tikanga Māori.

The report identified the economic development potential for a governance training framework that incorporated both Western and Māori governance knowledge. 

Phase 2: Kōpū Governance Framework

In the second phase of this research, the Trust launched the Kōpū Governance Framework, a framework for Māori governance education and training. The Kōpū Governance Framework was to be designed specifically to meet the needs of Māori governance and the governance requirements of Māori entities. It would develop a stair-cased approach to education and training that fills the gaps identified by the Trust’s scoping exercise.

An important principle is that governance training for Māori organisations should place core technical skills, such as commercial expertise, planning and finance, within a Māori environment.  Ms Kamau said the Trust established a forum of leading Māori entities to identify existing resources and assist with developing a framework that would provide training appropriate to each type of organisation.

“The governors of a diverse range of Māori entities, from whānau and marae trusts to asset-holding companies and corporations, require training support,” Ms Kamau said. “Some have commercial expertise and technical governance skills, but lack the cultural context – and vice versa. The framework is being designed to develop capability at all levels.”

Phase 3: Targeted support

The final phase was to integrate and implement both the long-term view – how best to invest today for future returns – and the more urgent need to support today’s Māori entities to meet their fast-growing governance responsibilities.

At this point, the Government established a number of priority funds to support governance training programmes, which met many of the needs identified by the Trust’s research. As a result, TPWT decided no further input was needed for the time being.

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