Te Arawhiti: A ‘bridge’ to better Māori Crown relations launched at Parliament

Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis has welcomed the launch of the Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti at Parliament tonight. 

About 100 people, including iwi leaders, Members of Parliament and the judiciary, joined together to celebrate the launch and acknowledge people who have made contributions to the establishment of Te Arawhiti and the broader Māori Crown relationship.

“Tonight was about bringing together people with a range of experiences across the Māori Crown relationship and celebrating the important role Te Arawhiti will play,” Kelvin Davis said.

“When the Prime Minister first asked me to lead this portfolio, we knew that we wanted to change how the Government engaged and worked with Māori, and to change how policy is developed.

“We didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past by deciding in Wellington what we thought was best for Māori and then presenting Māori with a done deal.

“I wanted to hear directly from people what they thought the priorities of the portfolio should be.

“That’s what I set out to understand earlier this year with 33 hui across the country. In all, 1600 people participated kanohi ki te kanohi in discussions and we received a further 230 submissions.

“I heard from individuals, groups and organisations; Māori and non-Māori. I have listened, and I promise you, we have heard. Te Arawhiti will support the Crown in being a better Treaty partner.

“As more and more Treaty settlements are completed, Māori increasingly want to engage with the Crown on a range of issues that look to the future. Te Arawhiti will provide the focus required to move from Treaty grievance to true partnerships.

“We have a lot of work to get on with and I have no doubt that Te Arawhiti will deliver and will do its mahi well,” Kelvin Davis said.

The agency’s website is: www.tearawhiti.govt.nz

Notes to editors:

  • Te Arawhiti will have its own chief executive who will report to Minister Davis and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little.
  • The Office encompasses several existing units, including:
    • the Office of Treaty Settlements;
    • the Marine and Coastal Area Unit;
    • the Settlement Commitments Unit; and
    • the Māori Crown Relations Unit.
  • Te Arawhiti will advise the Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti across a number of key areas, including:
    • ensuring the Crown meets its Treaty settlement commitments
    • developing engagement, and the co-designing and partnering of models that will ensure other agencies generate better solutions across social, environmental, cultural and economic development
    • ensuring public sector capability to work effectively with Māori is strengthened
    • ensuring the engagement of public sector agencies with Māori is meaningful
    • providing an independent, cross-government view on the health of Māori/Crown partnerships;
    • providing strategic leadership and advice on contemporary Treaty issues;
    • brokering solutions to challenging relationship issues with Māori; and
    • coordinating significant Māori/Crown events on behalf of the Crown.