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University to play key role in new Māori working panel

Tuesday November 20, 2012

Waikato University to play key role in new Māori governance working panel

The University of Waikato’s newly established Te Mata Hautū Taketake -- the Centre for Māori and Indigenous Governance – has joined government and private sector organisations on a working panel to ensure optimum value is gained from Māori assets.

The initiative comes in response to recommendations 14 and 22 of the Maori Economic Development Panel’s Action Plan, announced in Wellington yesterday [Monday November 19], and will focus on projects to identify governance models for complex Māori ownership structures and for upskilling the abilities of those governing Māori assets.

Also represented on the working panel are the Institute of Directors, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Russell Investments, the Federation of Māori Authorities and the Māori Trustee.

“There is a mix of ownership structures and many iwi are at different stages in their development of assets and governance abilities and those three factors are what this group will address,” said the Federation of Māori Authorities Chief Executive, Te Horipo Karaitiana.

The working panel will be convened by Dr Robert Joseph, director of Te Piringa – Faculty of Law’s Māori and Indigenous Governance Centre at the University of Waikato, who’s a specialist in Māori governance, tikanga Māori and the law.

He says the University would draw on much international research to inform the process while the University’s long, historical involvement with Māori and the legal and educational expertise it could offer would be invaluable in both identifying suitable governance structures and implementing governance programmes.

“There is no doubt that many trusts and iwi groups need help to improve the skills base among their directors and trustees,” says Dr Joseph. “For some it may be the traditional corporate governance model may be a better option. We’ve seen that work for Tainui and Ngāi Tahu.

“But for others, different governance models may provide a better fit. Our experience would indicate that one size does not fit all, so we need to be certain that the model or the models we identify will be suitable.”


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