Arotahi Papers

Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga’s Te Arotahi series provides expert thought, research and focus to a specific critical topic area to support discussion, policy and positive action. Te Arotahi will be delivered as an occasional paper series.

He huringa āhuarangi, he huringa ao: A changing climate, a changing world

Iwi/hapū (tribe/subtribe) governance institutions are increasingly asserting their rangatiratanga (autonomy) to manage climate change risks and meet the well-being of whānau (family)/hapū/ iwi. However, there is a shortage of specific guidance for whānau/hapū/iwi with respect to climate change adaptation and mitigation. We provide a commentary about risk and uncertainty, knowledge gaps, and options for climate change mitigation and adaptation for whānau/hapū/iwi.

Shaun Awatere (Ngāti Porou) Manaaki Whenua, Darren Ngaru King (Ngāti Raukawa) Taihoro Nukurang - NIWA,  John Reid (Te Arawa) University of Canterbury, Lewis Williams (Ngāi Te Rangi) University of Western Ontario, Bridgette Masters-Awatere (Te Rarawa, Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau, Ngai te Rangi) University of Waikato, Pauline Harris (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine) Victoria University of Wellington, Natasha Tassell-Matamua (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Makea kei Rarotonga) Massey University, Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) University of Auckland, Kevin Eastwood Te Toi Taiao—Supporting Healthy Environments, John Pirker (Ngāi Tahu) University of Canterbury, Anne-Marie Jackson (Ngāti Whātua, Te Roroa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Kahu o Whangaroa) University of Otago

Beyond Puao-Te-Ata-Tu: Realising the promise of a new day

Scholars at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga call for a 1988 report to be our blueprint for how we begin to restructure our country in the wake of Covid-19.

Written more than three decades ago by Māori for the Department of Social Welfare, Puao-Te-Ata-Tu: Realising the Promise of a New Day recognised that the issues facing Māori resulted from failing systems of state provision underpinned by a broader context of colonisation, racism, and structural inequity.

Amohia Boulton (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngai te Rangi, Ngāti Pukenga), Michelle Levy (Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Mahuta) and Lynley Cvitanovic (Ngāti Pākehā) write that our whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori community responses to COVID-19 brought to life what Puao-Te-Ata-Tu so clearly articulated. Those responses demonstrated the vast potential that lies within Māori communities, when adequately resourced, to successfully meet the challenges of modern life.

During 2018–2019 several government-initiated reviews and inquiries focused on issues of critical importance for Aotearoa New Zealand.  Without exception, these reviews identified profoundly failing state sector systems particularly for Māori, stressing an urgent need for bold transformational change.

This sixth Te Arotahi paper from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence returns to the key messages in Puao-Te-Ata-Tu and concludes just as that report did more than 30 years ago, without those in positions of power and influence actively working to eliminate the institutional racism pervading our state institutions, the system will not transform.

Download pdf:

Te Arotahi Paper Series May 2020 No. 05

Māori have repeatedly stressed that wealth and well-being is not just about bank balances.  Instead for tangata whenua it is defined in terms of the quality of whānau relationships, whanau cohesion, and our children’s capacity to thrive.  NPM’s fifth Te Arotahi paper asserts that tikanga Māori values must form a core component of teaching financial management skills to our whānau and communities.  As we seek as a nation to ensure prosperity and well-being for all, the unique concepts of wealth that are defined by tikanga need to be valued equally with the practical skills of how to budget, manage debt, and calculate interest.

A skilled and experienced cross institutional research team, led by Associate Professor Carla Houkamau (University of Auckland Business School), brought together a group of mostly low income Māori families to workshop the basics of money management within a kaupapa Māori environment and by doing so delivered  significant results, including establishing new savings habits and the clearing of entrenched debts.

From these engagements and workshops, the team has confirmed that "financial education programmes to help address Māori socio-economic disadvantage and financial literacy and capability may encounter disengagement unless the programmes reflect Māori cultural values, specifically relational concepts of wealth and wellbeing."

Te Arotahi Paper Series December 2019 No. 04

Poipoia te kākano, kia puawai

Nurture the seed and it will blossom 

For Māori, as the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand, the care of those who are unwell has always been the concern of whānau (family) and community.

Māori have established knowledge systems relating to health and wellbeing, and long-standing practices for both promoting good health and responding to illness  and these systems recognise the importance of relationships between peoples and broader environments to health and wellbeing, something which has been more recently acknowledged in Māori health strategy and policy by government.

This timely and important paper argues that radical and meaningful change is “required at the health system, organisational and practitioner levels to improve implementation of whānau-centred care during hospitalisation.” Ultimately it calls for a re-visioning of Aotearoa New Zealand’s hospital system, including a “re-imagining of alternative approaches and a re-membering of Indigenous healing systems to bring about transformed hospital systems within which whānau aspirations for active involvement and engagement with care are able to be fully realised.”

AUTHORS: Bridgette Masters-Awatere (Te Rarawa, Ngai Te Rangi, Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau) University of Waikato 
Donna Cormack (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe) University of Auckland Rachel Brown (Te  tiawa, Kāi Tahu) Whakauae Research Services 
Amohia Boulton (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Mutunga) Whakauae Research Services 
Makarita Ngapine Tangitu-Joseph (Te Arawa, Ngāti Maniapoto) University of Waikato 
Arama Rata (Ngāti Maniapoto, Taranaki, Ngāruahine) University of Waikato

Te Arotahi Paper Series September 2019 No. 03

This paper calls on government to pay even closer attention to the issues of whānau and whakapapa within the criminal justice system and advocates for the development of a new paradigm of transformative justice based on whānau development that values tino rangatiratanga and tikanga Māori.

In Whānau Ora and Imprisonment Sir Kim Workman asserts that “If the principle of tino rangatiratanga is fully acknowledged, then the development of a Kaupapa Māori justice system is an achievable outcome.”

This expert paper evolved from NPM’s Criminal Justice System in New Zealand project, led by Professor Tracey McIntosh (Ngāi Tūhoe), Sir Kim Workman (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitāne o Wairarapa) and Patricia Walsh (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Ruawaipu) and explores the effects of imprisonment on the whānau ora (family wellbeing) of Māori communities.

Te Arotahi Paper Series May 2019 No. 02

The need to reorient policy to cultivate more humane understandings of whānau in need.

 Aotearoa New Zealand is now the fifth most unequal economy in the OECD. To highlight the human cost of this situation, the concept of “the precariat” offers more informed and contextualised understandings of the situations of socio-economically marginalised people in Aotearoa. Significant societal and policy change is required for Māori whānau to be truly free from the cycle of precarity.

Rua, M., Hodgetts, D., Stolte, O., King, D., Cochrane, B., Stubbs, T., Karapu, R., Neha, E., Chamberlain, K., Te Whetu, T., Te Awekotuku, N., Harr, J., Groot, S., (2019). Precariat Māori Households Today (Te Arotahi Series Paper, May 2019 No. 02). Auckland: N.Z. Published by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence.

Te Arotahi Paper Series May 2019 No. 01


Kaupapa Māori models now required to reduce disparities and measure outcomes.

The government departmental and judicial system for making decisions about the care and protection of tamariki Māori when their whānau are in crisis needs urgent societal attention. A Kaupapa Māori approach is required to make the best use of the opportunities available in the recently amended legislation to avoid the further systemic undermining of Māori and their whānau.

Williams, T., Ruru, J., Irwin-Easthope, H., Quince, K., Gifford, H. (2019). Care and protection of tamariki Māori in the family court system (Te Arotahi Series Paper, May 2019 No. 01). Auckland: N.Z. Published by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence.