Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Te Tiriti o Waitangi needs to be considered across all your work, both at governance and operational levels. This is not simply case of writing one policy once, rather, it’s a continual process – or a journey.

Like a sea voyage, organisational Treaty journeys involve factors that can be influenced and others that can’t. Engaging with the Treaty of Waitangi is on-going, relational work which constantly evolves in response to the conditions. There isn’t one map or fixed route to a specific destination; navigation requires preparation and skill. These are not entirely uncharged waters however, community organisations have been engaging in this work for many years.

Ngā Rerenga o Te Tiriti, Community organisations engaging with the Treaty of Waitangi.

Fortunately there are resources and learning shared by other organisations undertaking these voyages to support you on your way. In this toolkit we have particularly considered Te Tiriti implications in relation to governance. Good governance is about ensuring that the knowledge and experiences of both tangata whenua (first peoples) and tangata Tiriti (all others who have come here) are balanced within all aspects of an organisation’s work. One approach to achieving this is to have a structure that provides equal decision-making power for tangata whenua and tangata Tiriti. Te Tiriti commitments and considerations should also be included in all policy and planning documents – not just those that directly involve or impact on Māori communities.

Willingness to change

Embracing Te Tiriti requires a willingness for organisations structured in Pākehā ways to commit to operating differently – to working in ways that reflect Aotearoa as a Te Tiriti based society.

We have a very non-Māori volunteer base and we know it should be more inclusive. We need to think about whether our processed and procedures exclude Māori from joining us as volunteers. What is it about us as an organisation, is it systemic, is it our advertising, how the training works, or our programme that excludes people from joining us?’

Youthline Otago, quoted in Ngā Rerenga o Te Tiriti

Useful Links and Resources

It also includes links to case studies and resources:

Another useful resource is

  • Working with Tāngata Whenua This provides tips and guidance for Tangata Tiriti groups and organisations about engaging with tangata whenua.