Māori Responsiveness - Te Iho

How one Government agency went about working with the Treaty

In 1988 the Department of Justice like other other government departments was required to work with Māori in a new way.  All government agencies were required to develop the confidence and competence to deliver services to Māori in ways that were appropriate to Māori.  This followed the winding up of the Department of Māori Affairs. 

At that time Tony managed a team whose job was to assist the 6500 Department of Justice staff to work differently. The team realised that the Treaty of Waitangi was central to this task and that staff needed to reflect on its implications for them personally and for their jobs.

Why something new was required
Some suggested that raising awareness of historical issues and then leaving it to a Kiwi sense of fair play would do the job.  The Department committed itself to much more through a programme called Te Iho which comprised:
  • an education process with a Treaty component focused on raising awareness of the implications of the Treaty in the workplace.  Through education, staff gained knowledge and skills to work differently. 
  • an analysis and change process that enabled two different worldviews to engage on their own terms. This led to changes within the Department's sytems and processes being negotiated from a position of understanding and respect. This level of change was initiated by staff at all levels of the department.
  • an external relationships programme designed to enable working relationships to be defined and developed on terms that were mutually acceptable to the Department and whānau, hapū and iwi Māori. 

In this new millennium Te Iho is still talked about as something that was useful to departmental staff as people and in their work.

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