07 December 2021

The information we collect shows public servants are building their capability to engage with Māori, growing their knowledge of te reo Māori and supporting tikanga Māori.

Why we are working to grow Māori Crown capability

One of the most important roles of the Public Service is to support the Crown in its relationships with Māori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi. The new Public Service Act 2020 also recognises the responsibility of senior leaders to develop the capability of the system to better engage with Māori and understand Māori perspectives.

A whole of system approach is being led by Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission, Te Arawhiti Office for Māori Crown Relationships and Te Puni Kōkiri Ministry of Māori Development to support organisations and leaders to fulfil these responsibilities. This includes implementation of initiatives such as Whāinga Amorangi: Transforming Leadership Framework and Māori Crown Relationships common core development modules for leaders.

Māori Crown relationships 

Māori Crown capability

Te Taunaki Public Service Census findings show public servants are building their capability to engage with Māori and are being supported by their organisations to do so. In Te Taunaki Public Service Census 2021, most public servants (69%) understood how their organisation’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi responsibilities apply to its work.

Many public servants (58%) were confident they could identify aspects of their organisation’s work that may disadvantage Māori. Although not all roles in the Public Service have a community engagement focus, 65% of respondents said they were encouraged and supported to engage with Māori to ensure Māori views and perspectives are considered.

There were some differences in the responses from Māori compared to non-Māori public servants.

  • Māori public servants were more likely to be confident in their ability to identify aspects of their organisation’s work that may disadvantage Māori, comfortable supporting tikanga Māori, and understanding of how their work improves outcomes for Māori.
  • Non-Māori staff were more likely to feel they were encouraged to use te reo Māori, and to report hearing their leaders use te reo Māori words and phrases.

Te reo Māori use at work

Many public servants (58%) use at least some te reo Māori at work, but fewer are proficient, with 6% saying they can have a conversation about a lot of everyday things in te reo Māori. This jumps to 26% for Māori public servants.

Support for growing te reo Māori

Seventy-three percent of public servants said they value their knowledge of te reo Māori and wish to grow it. Many people (65%) said staff at their organisation are encouraged to use te reo Māori. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they were supported to improve their te reo Māori through on-the-job learning or in-house courses. Development of te reo Māori capability is also supported by clear organisation goals (60%) and role modelling, with 67% saying that they hear leaders in their organisation are regularly using te reo Māori.

Tikanga capability and usage

Sixty-nine percent of public servants said they are comfortable supporting tikanga Māori in their organisation, and 46% said tikanga Māori is often or always used or visible in their workplace. A further 39% said it is sometimes used in their workplace.