Māori Crown agency to be established

Cabinet has approved the final scope of the Māori Crown portfolio and agreed to establish an agency to oversee Government’s work with Māori in a post-settlement era, announced Crown/ Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis today.

“The agency, to be called the Office for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, will help facilitate the next step in the Treaty relationship – moving beyond the settlement of Treaty grievances into what it means to work together in partnerships,” Kelvin Davis said.

“The name reflects feedback from the hui that Māori should appear first in the relationship. Te Arawhiti, refers to the transition phase we are in, that is ‘the bridge’ between Māori and the Crown.

“Several other Government units and offices will be consolidated into the agency, including the Crown/Māori Relations Unit, the Office of Treaty Settlements, the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Team and the Settlement Commitments Unit. The consolidation will bring a sharper focus and efficiency to the Government’s work with Māori.”

In addition to finishing Treaty Settlements and Marine and Coastal Area applications, the new agency, based on the new scope of the Māori Crown portfolio, will provide strategic leadership across the public sector to:

  • ensure the Crown meets its Treaty obligations;
  • develop a new engagement model and guidelines for the Government and public sector;
  • co-design partnerships, principles and frameworks to ensure that agencies generate the best solutions to issues affecting Māori;
  • ensure public sector capability is strengthened across the board;
  • provide a cross Government view on the health of the Māori Crown partnerships;
  • provide strategic leadership on contemporary Treaty issues;
  • other matters including the constitutional and institutional arrangements supporting partnerships between the Crown and Māori: and
  • continue to take the lead in organising significant Māori and Crown events, ie Waitangi Day.

“While there are still some Treaty grievances to settle, I heard from many Māori how they want to engage with the Crown on a range of issues that look to the future.

“Together, Māori and the Crown want this portfolio to be about aspiration, and looking forward, in the post-settlement era,” Kelvin Davis said