Developing a Māori Theory of Value

Project commenced:

The theory of value research platform is concerned with considering:

  • How can the values that drive the Māori economy be understood and articulated within a theoretical context?
  • How can the values that drive the Māori economy be utilised by Māori communities to enhance wellbeing?

The theory of value platform project seeks to build on research conducted by the Whai Rawa theme in the areas of Indigenous economics and entrepreneurship and Māori enterprise. Māori values research has indicated that they go beyond Māori business and entrepreneurship.

We want to know how the values that drive the Māori economy can be utilised by Māori communities to enhance mauri ora (wellbeing).

Therefore the intended outcome of the project is twofold;

  1. the development of an overarching theoretical foundation that can embrace multiple conceptualisations of value; and
  2. to establish guidance for Māori communities to practically implement Indigenous value theories that enhance their wellbeing.

In the past decade, Maori values in business has increasingly gained interest as a topic of academic research. Despite this, no comprehensive stocktake of the literature has been done. It is timely that we now pause to assess the literature and evaluate its content.

Through the project and associated research community, we can make fundamental decisions regarding future research directions to continue deepening our understanding of the role that Maori values play in business and research contexts.

This platform project will evaluate where we currently stand with Maori values in business research, develop new insights and suggest a way forward.

The project will follow a cross-institutional approach surrounded by stakeholder and relevant industries. These feedback loops will validate phases of the theory development. Grounded in Māori epistemology and explored through Indigenous custom and tikanga Māori, the theory of value is expected to inform an alternative working model encompassing social and environmental responsibilities that ensure sustainable growth and broader community benefit.

While mainstream western economic motivation is seen to contrast Indigenous and Māori world views, there is utility in contrasting and comparing Māori and non-Māori concepts of value.