(Picture caption: On February 21, 2021, Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori held a mihi whakatau to acknowledge the establishment of the Pacific Languages Unit in their Whanganui-ā-Tara office with a kai hakaari hangi. The Ministy is working hard to build respectful partnerships with Māori mana whenua iwi, hapū and organisations moving forward.)
The Ministry of Pacific Peoples (MPP) - Te Manatū o ngā iwi o Te Moananui-ā-kiwa has reached a significant milestone in its commitment to being the best Māori-Crown partner possible.
In June, MPP received full endorsement for its Whāinga Amorangi Phase One Plan from Te Arawhiti – the Office for Māori Crown relations.
It is a very positive move forwards as it strives to nurture the many millennia-old whakapapa relationship between Māori and Pacific peoples, says MPP’s Principal Advisor, Cultural Practice Lead Tuiloma Lina-Jodi Vaine Samu.
Whāinga Amorangi is a framework to support leaders across the public service to strengthen Māori-Crown relations within their agencies.
Last year, all core Crown departments and agencies submitted their plans for endorsement, which were reviewed by an independent panel, to ensure the plans achieve the required uplift in capability across the public sector.
Tuiloma explains all agencies had to choose at least two out of six areas to focus on for its Whāinga Amorangi Transformational Leadership.
“However, MPP was strongly encouraged by the panel to select all six areas rather than the minimum of two based on the work we had been doing since 2020, and we accepted this invitation, to embed our commitment to being the best Māori-Crown partner possible,” she says.
Included in MPP’s plan was a commitment by its Chief Executive Laulu Mac Leauanae to become a champion for Whāinga Amorangi.
“Since January 2021, Laulu has learnt his Te Reo Māori whaikōrero and delivered over 20 whaikōrero in formal settings representing MPP all over the country.
“Laulu has also joined over 85 percent of the Ministry in completing in-house Te Tiriti o Waitangi training.”
As part of its plan, Tuiloma says MPP has been running monthly Treaty of Waitangi introduction training sessions for MPP staff, which has been renamed the Dr Moana Nui a Kiwa Jackson Memorial Te Tiriti o Waitangi introduction training.
“This is in tribute to this distinguished late Māori leader who challenged racism, systemic discrimination and injustices against Māori by sharing Māori worldviews and perspectives through Te Tiriti training.
“The point of difference in MPP’s training is how the ancient connections between Māori and Pacific peoples are highlighted, with analyses on how power and control is wielded in the public service through an historical Pacific people’s lens.”
Every week since November 2020, MPP has provided a weekly training session for basic introductory Te Reo Māori and cultural upskilling as well as Pacific languages and cultures introductory training.
Additionally, specific and correct protocols training is given to MPP leaders to be able to represent the organisation when meeting with Māori groups and organisations.
“Laulu Mac Leauanae is currently acknowledged by Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori as one of the most competent Chief Executives in the public service who can deliver a formal whaikōrero in Te Reo,” Tuiloma says.
In MPP’s plan, understanding racial equity and institutional racism is robustly addressed through Te Tiriti o Waitangi training and being added to with the Dawn Raids commemoration events MPP is planning, in partnership together with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
A worldview knowledge is also being explored at Te Tiriti o Waitangi training as well as providing specifically unique trainings such as understanding the meaning of Matariki in Aotearoa, and the connections to Matariki, Mataliki, Matali’i, Matari’i and Makali’i in Pacific traditions.
“Finally, MPP is honoured to have strong links with mana whenua – with Te Atiawa me Ngāti Toa Rangatira in Wellington; with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in Auckland; with Tainui-Waikato in Hamilton and South Auckland and is cementing further relationships with many more mana whenua and tangata whenua groups and organisations,” Tuiloma says.
With one milestone reached, MPP will maintain its momentum and create a learning and development programme during 2022-2023, to embed culturally competent and more in-depth Te Tiriti o Waitangi training, along with Pacific language and cultural training into the organisation.