Te Orowaru is a toolkit of resources to help you work through the pay equity work assessment process. It includes a glossary, a questionnaire in English and te reo Māori, the factor plan and the factor scoring booklet.

Te Orowaru has now been updated, please find the updated version below. For a copy of the previous version please email pay.equity@publicservice.govt.nz

Rauemi Orowaru Te Orowaru toolkit

Te Orowaru was developed by a working group of union and organisation pay equity practitioners, and a cultural review working group. Led by the Pay Equity Taskforce at Te Kawa Mataaho this working group drew on the wider experience of all pay equity practitioners across the system to create a modern, fit for purpose, culturally robust toolkit aligned with the amended Equal Pay Act 1972.

Te Orowaru Questionnaire(PDF, 644 KB) guides the conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee to ensure that useful information is gathered to inform the pay equity process.

Te Orowaru Factor Plan(PDF, 881 KB) is designed to describe and compare work. It uses factor-based assessment and parties allocate appropriate factor levels depending on the requirements of the work. This process builds a detailed understanding of the work, and how claimant and comparator work compare.

Te Orowaru Factor Scoring Booklet(PDF, 509 KB) is an optional process parties may agree to use to test initial work assessment conclusions. This involves overlaying the factor levels with the points system to help the parties get clarity on the degree of comparability between claimant and comparator work. 



Find more information about the pay equity process, the pay gap and the work we’re doing on our website.

Pay equity

Pay gaps and pay equity 

Te taha ki te Ao Māori Te ao Māori factor

Stand-alone factor for te ao Māori skills

This important factor has been developed to recognise the unique status of tangata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Partnership, as intended by Te Tiriti o Waitangi | the Treaty of Waitangi, promotes inclusive practice, a culture of equality, opportunity and achievement for all people. The importance of this partnership to our country means that recognising and valuing properly skills in te ao Māori is integral to fairly valuing work. 

Skills and competencies relevant for other cultures have a strong presence in Te Orowaru. The tool goes far beyond just looking at job evaluation tools that recognise language as a sole cultural competency. Te Orowaru considers multicultural skills in the interpersonal and communication factor holistically including:

  • knowledge of different cultures
  • adapting resources or materials for cultural suitability
  • building inclusion into systems and practices
  • knowledge built by experience working in different cultural contexts.

Te ao Māori factor applies to all employees

The intent of this factor is to make visible and apply value to these important skills, which should be encouraged and recognised wherever they are held. Over time where skills are recognised and valued, more people will undertake to learn and grow their skills in this space, an outcome we all want and will benefit from.

Scoring questions relating to skills in te ao Māori 

You will see questions in the questionnaire dotted throughout the other factors, for example:

  • responsibility for information (Do you have responsibility for taonga Māori, Māori intellectual property, data highly sacred or tapu material?) 
  • planning and organisation skills (Are you responsible for planning and organising work such as pōwhiri, manaaki tangata?). 

These are designed to holistically understand these particular factors rather than only being referred to in the te ao Māori skills factor. It is important that everything perceived as ‘Māori’, or a cultural skill is made visible throughout the factors.

Uiuinga Te Orowaru Te Orowaru questionnaire

All parts of the questionnaire are important. If you remove sections, you are immediately importing your own bias and assumptions about what the work entails or what answers you may receive. Until interviews are undertaken it is important not make assumptions about skills, responsibility, effort or what conditions are involved in the work.

A shortened version of the questionnaire may be appropriate if conducting additional interviews with supervisors or managers of claimant or comparator roles. This would be the only time this approach would be appropriate and should be by mutual agreement.

Adapting questions 

You can adapt the questions in terms in terms of wording. In fact, this will be an essential skill for a good interviewer. Interviewers should be trained to have a strong understanding of how to elicit rich information from an interview. One of these skills will be to reframe questions to help the interviewee understand what is being asked. The interviewer will also need to understand how to ask probing and follow up questions to elicit more detail on any answer given.

An interviewer should be supported to understand the questionnaire in depth, so they understand what is being asked by any question and why. This will support them to reframe the question while still capturing the intent and purpose of the question.

Changing layout and order 

You can change the layout and order of questions. Email pay.equity@publicservice.govt.nz for a Word copy if you need to lay out the questions in a way that is more appropriate for your claim.

Adding questions 

You can add questions to the questionnaire if all parties agree, and it is clear what the purpose of any addition is. The questions must be posed in a gender-neutral way to avoid importing bias. It is crucial that if questions are added they are asked of all interviewees, both claimant and comparator in generate a consistent outcome.

Follow-up question/prompts 

In some situations, the follow up questions/prompts may be optional, for example, “Do you have responsibility for taonga Māori, Māori intellectual property, data, highly sacred or tapu material?”  If they don’t have this responsibility, you do not need to follow up with, “How do you manage the tapu of information or material and Māori sovereign or kaitiaki interests in and over that material?”

Most follow-up questions or prompts are important and should not be skipped as they ask something new or different and may elicit an important piece of information. These are grouped in the right-hand column as they may be connected or related to the original question not because they are optional or supplementary. Getting information twice is better than missing something.

Examples or ‘things to consider’ 

You won’t always need to read out the examples or ‘things to consider. These are often in the questionnaire to give the interviewer context to what is being asked and to help provide examples if needed, (that is, to get people thinking about what you are asking if they are finding it challenging).  

Asking about unconscious or conscious bias

Being asked about the experience of bias can prompt workers to consider the opportunities they have had (or not had) in the workplace to progress in their career, or, to develop or receive remuneration increases. Over a series of interviews this can support information to be elicited about any systemic or thematic issues, which may contribute to sex-based undervaluation. It can also help support a view into an occupation about other issues such as ethnic bias or discrimination on the basis of ability or sexuality that the employer and union may wish to address.

Asking about effort 

It is common for people to feel that asking questions about effort in work, in particular emotional effort, lends itself to a subjective response. This is partly because there is a stigma attached to emotions, or indeed ‘effort’ of any kind, lending itself to the idea that if you talk about emotional effort or impact it is a sign of personal weakness, rather than being part of the job.

Answers to questions in any factor will always have some degree of subjectivity.  People can also give subjective responses about the degree of responsibility they hold or the knowledge that they have. There is nothing more inherently subjective than asking about effort, although it is one of the areas interviewers may need to use their skills to probe and elicit information if people struggle to talk about it. Where multiple interviews are assessed, themes will emerge to help provide an objective view of the requirements of the work developed.

Asking about solving problems 

Everyone solves problems in their work. ‘Problems’ doesn’t refer to only large challenges, but the kinds of decisions and ‘figuring out’ that is done on a day-to-day basis to get the job done. This can be a range of ‘small’ things, such as choosing the right tool for the job, arranging conflicting schedules to ensure a meeting occurs, or figuring out what needs to happen to deliver a product by a particular deadline.  Some problems can appear large, but the options to solve them are heavily scripted by procedure, manuals or guidelines. Others may seem smaller, but there may be no precedent, which could then require considerable innovation or research from the worker to solve the problem.

Do not leave out answers

Always record everything that is said in an interview. The role of the interviewer is not to decide what is and is not accurate or edit or shape the responses in any way. To do so could allow our own bias or preconceptions about the work to influence the outcome. Something may be said in an interview which you believe is not true or representative of the work. This is okay. The process of assessment, which considers a range of interviews and other research, will eliminate anything which may be inaccurate or is not a requirement of the work. It is common for aspects of work that were previously invisible or unrecognised to surface with Te Orowaru. It may be that what seemed an exaggerated or untrue response is actually representative of what is really being done.

If you don’t understand a question 

The Pay Equity Taskforce can provide support for you in understanding and using this tool. You can send any queries to pay.equity@publicservice.govt.nz

We also encourage the parties to any pay equity claim to discuss and come to a mutual understanding regarding the application of the tool.  If the tool is applied consistently and fully it will be a successful measure of fairness and equity in the workplace.

Factor weighting

The decision about weighting, which differs from the Equitable Job Evaluation Tool (EJE) was made after a lot of research and discussion. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) guide to pay equity was reviewed as well as an academic review and critique of the ILO process. The rationale behind the weighting attributed to EJE was also explored. The working group established the following principles:

  • Knowledge and responsibility groupings should still carry higher overall weightings than effort and conditions since they are integral to a jobs function and success
  • The weighting for effort and working conditions groupings needed to be lifted from previous tools as they were so low which made them virtually irrelevant in measuring work
  • Te Orowaru created new factors so rebalancing points was needed to ensure equity and fairness across the assessment.

This led to the results in the Te Orowaru Factor Scoring Booklet(PDF, 509 KB)

Pay equity

Pay equity means that even if 2 jobs are very different, if they require the same or similar levels of skill, responsibility, experience, and effort, they should be paid the same. 


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