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Turn obligations to engage with Māori into opportunities

Media release
27 July 2017

CulturePRO Masterclass:
How to turn statutory obligations to engage with Māori into positive opportunities.
Ōrākei Marae, Auckland - 24 and 25 August 2017

Your organisation or business continually seeks to improve its strategic communications with clients and stakeholders, but how do you improve your engagement with Māori?

It's a topic that will be discussed at next month's CulturePRO Masterclass in Auckland organised by the Brown Pages (see programme attached). Gaps in cultural understanding can create misunderstandings and perceptions of cultural ignorance and insensitivity.

Statutory obligations to engage with Māori can be triggered by legislation; treaty settlements; central and local government strategies, policies, plans and programmes; and central and local government funding and administration.

The outcomes that are important to Māori during an engagement process include economic development and sustainability, social health and well-being and cultural and environmental enhancement.

There is an economic benefit to understanding Māori world views which can help businesses and organisations design cost effective cultural communications initiatives. It can also increase Māori stakeholder engagement, develop cultural competencies and maintain internal and external relationships.

The International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) gives five key areas for engagement - to either inform, consult, involve, collaborate or empower.

Māori engagement is different to Māori consultation. Consultation infers a one off, special purpose relationship whereas engagement infers an ongoing relationship. The characteristics of Māori consultation - as defined by Associate Professor Dr Leonie Pihama (Waikato University's Kotahi Research Institute) and Dr Mera Penehira (Auckland University) are:
• Generally of a short-term nature and for specific purpose
• Generally aimed at meeting the needs of the consultant group or agency as a priority
• Relationship is defined by the consultant group or agency taking into account the outcomes they require and the input they expect from those they are consulting
• Involves communication strategies which are specifically matched to the cultural makeup of those being consulted

They go on to define Māori engagement as:
• Generally of a long-term nature and for multiple purposes
• Generally aimed at having mutual benefit to the business or organisation and Māori group, entity, iwi or community participating in the engagement process
• Relationship is defined by all parties involved in the engagement process taking into account the individual, group and community needs and aspirations
• Involves a range of communication strategies which are culturally appropriate for all involved in the engagement

Brown Pages recognises that lack of awareness of indigenous practices and lifestyle can be compounded by the differences in Māori world views, decision making styles and approaches to closure (of tasks, agreements or dispute resolution).

To find out more about Brown Pages and the two-day CulturePRO Masterclass in Auckland next month, go to

Benefits for attendees include learning from more than 16 Māori and Pacific leaders about:
• Cultural intelligence – an important business skill for diverse workplaces
• Good practice guidelines for working with tangata whenua and Māori organisations
• Tools for building relationships with New Zealand’s changing Pacific demographics
• The impacts of cultural communications and relationships on productivity and organisational performance
• Attracting Māori and Pacific millennials into the corporate/management sector
• How to conduct a cultural communications audit to identify an organisation’s cultural awareness strengths and weaknesses
• Turning statutory obligations to engage with Māori into positive opportunities

Guest speakers include Traci Houpapa, Chair or FOMA (Federation of Māori Authorities), Kirstin Te Wao, Diversity Manager for Vodafone; Ātene Andrews from PHARMAC and Fiona Cassidy from PRINZ (Public Relations Institute of NZ). Limited tickets are available.


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