17 Habits of a Valued Te Tiriti o Waitangi Partner

17 habits we can practice as Tangata Tiriti to ensure we honour and role model good Treaty partner relationships with Māori. These habits were written by Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna’i for the Edmund Hillary Fellowship social inclusion workstream, with input from the Kāhui Māori.

Regarding Te Tiriti o Waitangi

1. I am my own teacher and educate myself about Te Tiriti o Waitangi through the wealth of resources out there.

2. I honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi according to Māori; and where Te Tiriti is not being upheld, especially when Māori are absent, I make that known.

3. I promote Māori as Mana Whenua and Tangata Whenua and understand that in Aotearoa New Zealand - we are a multi-cultural country on a bi-cultural platform with Māori as one partner, and non-Maori as the other.

Regarding Māori aspirations

4. I take a listening approach and ask Māori what they want, what they think are the solutions rather than arriving with solutions and visions for them. I let go of my ego in setting what I think might be best for Māori.

5. I do my best to understand and support Māori aspirations by shifting my viewpoint to align with their view.

6. I never look to replace Māori, but to embrace the role of a person who supports and uplifts.

7. I educate myself on how colonisation has negatively affected Māori and caused social, economic and political power imbalance in Aotearoa.

Regarding Māori culture

8. I recognise that mihi whakatau and pōwhiri is just the beginning of a journey. It does not make me an expert or mean I am automatically accepted by Māori.

9. I accept and embrace Māori protocols and not try to colonise them with my own protocols and beliefs.

10. I do not appropriate Māori language and customs for my commercial benefit.

11. I go further than just using te reo as decoration. I learn my pepehā, about local iwi and Māori place names; be a student of te reo, a really great student.

Regarding Māori engagement

12. I honour and value Māori for their time when I am seeking advice by practicing reciprocity and providing a generous offering, which may be monetary or non-monetary, depending on what is appropriate.

13. I aim to be an ally to Māori, especially when I am in a room that does not have Māori present. I will advocate for Māori voice and aspirations to be represented, primarily by Māori or via their instructions.

14. I heed the advice from Māori when I seek it, and do not treat it like a shopping trip for advice to find the advice that is agreeable to me. I am humble.

15. I check myself: even though I may have good relationships with a few or many Māori, that does not give me a free pass to assume I have good relationships with all Māori. I still have to go through the process of establishing relationships with new groups of Māori.

Regarding my learning journey

16. I do not use my knowledge of Māori against Māori, or use it to define Māori peoples.

17. I acknowledge the huge, untolled sacrifice that Māori have made to have non-Māori in NZ, and will not trample that by exerting my rights over theirs, especially in pōwhiri situations.


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