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Policy for Maori Cultural Practices Announced

18 January 2006

Policy for Maori Cultural Practices Announced

The Department of Corrections today released to staff it’s policy for holding Maori cultural practices on Departmental premises. In releasing the guidelines Chief Executive Barry Matthews praised the sensible and inclusive nature of the policy which he said would protect Maori cultural practices while promoting an environment of inclusiveness.

“The Department’s responsiveness to Maori remains a key element in meeting its goal of reducing re-offending. What we in fact found, however, was that the enthusiasm of staff meant that in some cases powhiri were being misused and its tikanga not protected. We have moved to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future.

“From now on the less formal whakatau will be used when a Maori cultural practice is appropriate in the Department’s welcoming ceremonies. Key features of a whakatau include the same roles for men and women, which will be reflected in the seating arrangements, and the use of languages other than Te Reo Maori if required”.

“Powhiri will now be held only in exceptional circumstances and only with my express approval. I will be looking to ensure, amongst other things, that the staff involved are comfortable with what is proposed and that tangata whenua have agreed to the holding of a powhiri. Any powhiri will follow local protocols. Staff will have the choice whether to participate or not in Powhiri. I expect all staff to act with respect whether they participate or not.

“I am confident that the guidelines will address the concerns recently expressed about the different roles men and women can have during events including Maori cultural practices and that the Department can look to the future with confidence in its Maori cultural practices.”


Policy and Guidelines for Maori Cultural Practices held on the Department’s Premises


Introduction The Department has frequently applied powhiri and other Maori cultural practices during Department events. It is necessary to set out the basis upon which Maori cultural practices may be observed in relation to Department events. This section contains the Department’s policy and guidance for regulating such events.

Purpose This policy gives managers and staff guidance on incorporating Maori cultural practices into events on departmental premises so a more effective service for Maori offenders can be provided and re-offending by Maori reduced.

It should be noted that this policy only applies to Maori cultural practices conducted on the Department’s premises. Staff who attend or participate in events off-site are expected to respect the tikanga followed on the occasion and in that area.

Policy / Principles Standard practice for Department events will be guided by two principles: - Women and men have the same roles, and - Tikanga Maori is correctly applied on the Department’s premises.

This means that whakatau will be the Maori cultural practice to be incorporated into welcoming ceremonies held on the Department’s premises.

Only in exceptional circumstances will powhiri, or other cultural practices that assign gender based roles, be conducted on Department premises. Approval must first be obtained from the Chief Executive and the Treaty Relationships Manager if a powhiri, or other specific cultural practice that does not meet the principles set out above, is to be conducted.

Rehabilitation / Reintegration The Department has found (through research and practice) that when Maori culture governs encounters with Maori there is a positive impact as it creates an environment that supports rehabilitation and reintegration. Policy contents This policy covers: Page Whakatau 2 Powhiri

Karakia 2



Introduction The standard Maori cultural practice that will be applied during welcoming ceremonies is a whakatau. Whakatau will be incorporated into welcoming and other appropriate ceremonies held on the Department’s premises. There is an expectation that relevant staff will attend whakatau.

Key features The key features of a whakatau are: - Men and women have the same roles - Tikanga Maori is correctly applied (expertise may be required to assist) - Seating arrangements will reflect the same roles for men and women - Languages other than te reo Maori can be used as required, and - Managers are responsible for overseeing the organisation and conduct of the whakatau.

Whakatau will not be held if the above features cannot be assured.

Description A whakatau is a welcome that can provide a sound basis for any Department event. It can be used between visitors and hosting people or for events where there are no visiting people, but where a welcome is required. Whakatau can be undertaken with more or less formality, depending on the event. A whakatau can include speeches, waiata, karakia, hongi, or kai but does not typically include karanga or whaikorero.


Approval required Powhiri is a very formal Maori welcoming ceremony that has an established format and roles. Powhiri requires particular expertise and cultural knowledge.

Before a powhiri may be conducted on Department premises, approval must be obtained from the Chief Executive and the Treaty Relationships Manager.

Exceptional circumstances In exceptional circumstances, powhiri that assign gender-based roles may be conducted. It is expected that such exceptions will rarely be applied to Department events.

A minimum of three weeks should be allowed when seeking approval for a powhiri. An application from is provided in the Appendix.

Requirements Consideration will be given to the following factors when approval for a powhiri is sought:

- It is clear that the incorporation of a powhiri will enrich the event more than whakatau - The event is being held to reduce Maori re-offending through effective offender management - Expertise is readily available to support the powhiri process - Tangata whenua have agreed to the holding of a powhiri for the occasion (and local kawa will be applied) - The powhiri is well planned and is planned in advance

- Staff are comfortable that there are likely to be different roles for men and women and know that they can choose not to attend - Managers are responsible for overseeing the organisation of the powhiri.

Features The features of a powhiri are:

- Powhiri will be undertaken according to local protocols (although different arrangements may be organised with tangata whenua)

- Men and women are likely to have different roles

- Te reo Maori is the key language of communication (speakers of Maori and speakers of other languages may have different roles), and

- Seating arrangements are set – speakers are likely to occupy the front row.

Attendance voluntary Attendance at powhiri will be voluntary for staff.


Staff will be given the opportunity to excuse themselves from prayer or karakia if they do not wish to participate. Otherwise staff are encouraged to exercise courtesy and respect by remaining silent.

Application to hold a Pôwhiri on Department premises To apply to hold a pôwhiri as part of a Department event, complete this form and send it to Charlie Tawhiao, Treaty Relationships Manager, Private Box 1206, Wellington. This form should be completed by the manager responsible for the event. To complete this form, it will be necessary to consult with affected staff and tangata whenua. Applications will take 3 weeks to approve. Name, position and contact details:

Event and the date you wish to conduct a powhiri:

Why is a pôwhiri required for this event, rather than a formal whakatau?

How is this event directly related to reducing re-offending by Maori (that is, is not an encounter between staff)

Are all staff comfortable that there are likely to be different roles for men and women? Yes / No Are staff aware that attendance at the pôwhiri is voluntary? Yes / No What expertise is available to assist the pôwhiri process?

Who from tangata whenua has agreed to the holding of a pôwhiri for the event?

Has the manager responsible, key staff and tangata whenua discussed the tikanga for the pôwhiri and know what will happen on the day? Yes / No


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