Te Tiriti o Waitangi – Good governance through partnership

Reflecting Te Tiriti o Waitangi relationships in the governance of your organisation

More and more, community organisations are seeking to establish governance structures that reflect the power-sharing commitments of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. These approaches usually involve equitable decision-making power for tangata whenua and tangata Tiriti (non-Māori) at the governance level, including co-chairs for the organisation’s governing board or committee.

Under a “Two House” model, for example, tangata whenua and tangata Tiriti may engage on issues of common concern by considering them separately and then coming together to make decisions based on an understanding of the values underlying each group’s position.

Relationships are central to Te Tiriti based approaches, so it’s useful to clearly document why these relationships are important to your organisation and how they will work in practice – including your processes for making decisions, for communicating and consulting internally, and for resolving disputes. You can adopt a Te Tiriti relationships approach when you’re first setting up your organisation or when you’re reviewing and restructuring an existing one. A Te Tiriti based approach can also be adopted for any of the different legal forms – for example, for an incorporated society or a charitable trust.

For more information see our section on Te Tiriti o Waitangi.