Governance in its widest sense refers to how any organisation, including a nation, is run. It includes all the processes, systems, and controls that are used to safeguard and grow assets.
When applied to organisations that operate commercially, it is often termed "corporate governance" and has been described by the World Bank as "promoting fairness, transparency and accountability" and by the OECD as "a system by which business organisations are directed and controlled".
The principles of governance apply to any organisation, whether it the biggest multinational company or a small whanau trust in a remote part of New Zealand.
In Māori organisations, the objectives of governance will take into account the way in which Māori relate to the assets and what they are used for. In some instances, although the organisation operates commercially, commercial objectives may be balanced with the need to safeguard the assets for future generations.
Tikanga principles may also be put into practice in the board of a Māori organisation alongside governance principles. Tikanga, kawa and values that meet the aspirations of iwi, hapu and whanau often give direction to board work. Tikanga can easily fit alongside governance best practice.
Three organisations committed to good governance in New Zealand, the Institute of Directors in New Zealand, Securities Commission of New Zealand and the New Zealand Stock Exchange have all published detailed guidelines on the principles of governance and the responsibilities of boards.
As you can see from the governance diagram, boards are the critical link between the aspirations of iwi, hapu, whanau and shareholders and the way an organisation is run day-to-day.
Last modified: 27/09/2011
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