Statement of Intent 2011-2014

Nature and Scope of Functions

Te Puni Kōkiri was created by the Ministry of Māori Development Act 1991, with a sharpened focus on education, training and employment, health and economic resource development. Our principal duties under the Act are to promote increases in Māori achievement across these key social and economic areas, and linked to this, to monitor and liaise with each department or agency that provides, or has a responsibility to provide, services to or for Māori for the purpose of ensuring the adequacy of those services. One of the significant challenges we face is striking the right balance between leading and influencing public policy, and assuming a monitoring role akin to a central agency.

To achieve our purposes we focus predominantly on:

  • leading and influencing government policy as it pertains to Māori;
  • assisting the Government to manage its relationships with Māori; and,
  • partnering and facilitating Māori, government and private sector initiative.

Te Puni Kōkiri is a policy-led ministry tasked with advising its Ministers, and government, on the Crown’s relationship with Māori, including opportunities and risks inherent within that relationship. The focus of Te Puni Kōkiri’s advice is on improving citizenship outcomes for Māori in key social and economic domains through whānau-centred approaches; and on the ongoing Treaty of Waitangi based partnership relationships between the Crown and hapü and iwi. It is the latter, constitutionally based, focus that distinguishes Te Puni Kōkiri, and its role within the public sector.

Te Puni Kōkiri’s core roles also include administration of a discrete set of Māoritargeted social assistance and cultural and economic development initiatives and, monitoring and policy oversight of other appropriated entities within the Māori Affairs portfolio, including Te Māngai Pāho (TMP), Māori Television Service (MTS), Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (TTWh) and the Māori Trustee.

To carry out its core roles and functions Te Puni Kōkiri combines a head office of policy, programme coordination and support services personnel with a network of regional offices and teams. The latter are principally tasked with local-level facilitation and brokerage between Māori collectives and the public, private and voluntary sectors; local-level consultation and issues reporting; and local-level management of the Ministry’s social and cultural and economic development programmes and initiatives.

There are three key points of difference between Te Puni Kōkiri and other agencies. Firstly, Te Puni Kōkiri is able to offer a cross-sector viewpoint on the barriers to, and potential enablers of, improved citizenship outcomes for Māori as whānau and wider collectives, and as a population group. Secondly, the Ministry can bring operational capacity to its advice and the decisions taken by Ministers, in the form of, for example, action research, programme pilots or substantive roll out. Third, Te Puni Kōkiri’s regional network ensures that its advice to the government can be tested against, and grounded in, the diverse realities of iwi and Māori communities: culturally distinct, urban and rural, contemporary and customary, preand-post settlement.

These are crucial elements to the Māori Affairs and Whānau Ora portfolios, given the dual standing of Māori, as citizens entitled to equitable citizenship outcomes; and, within the framework of the Treaty of Waitangi, as hapü and iwi, with distinct rights and expectations of the Crown as their Treaty partner.

Te Puni Kōkiri advises on whole-ofgovernment interests, is engaged in many inter-agency exercises, and participates in a diverse range of stakeholder relationships, from the Cabinet table to the kitchen table. The Ministry deals with high profile and controversial issues that go to the core of New Zealand’s national identity.