Setting the long term direction for the organisation is the board's most important role. Having a strong sense of the organisation's destination focuses board and management activities. The “purpose” is at the heart of that direction.
Many Māori organisations have multiple purposes. They may have to balance making a profit with meeting the social and cultural aspirations of their owners. Although the organisations trade commercially and measure themselves against economic indicators, wealth creation is not always seen as an end in itself. This can make running a Māori organisation particularly challenging.
The purpose provides direction for all planning. For instance, a core purpose relating to preserving assets will require a conservative risk-management approach, while a core purpose around growth might require a higher risk approach.
The vision of the organisation relates to the long term view of where it sees itself in the future. For Māori organisations, this future may be many generations ahead.
Some organisations also set down the values by which they will operate and the kind of environment they would like to see for the people that work there.
These elements together form the heart of where the organisation is going and what kind of organisation it will be.