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Beyond Puao-Te-Ata-Tu: Realising The Promise Of A New Day

Scholars at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga call for a 1988 report to be our blueprint for how we begin to restructure our country in the wake of Covid-19.

Written more than three decades ago by Māori for the Department of Social Welfare, Puao-Te-Ata-Tu: Realising the Promise of a New Day recognised that the issues facing Maori resulted from failing systems of state provision underpinned by a broader context of colonisation, racism and structural inequity.

Amohia Boulton (Ngati Ranginui, Ngai te Rangi, Ngati Pukenga), Michelle Levy (Waikato-Tainui, Ngati Mahuta) and Lynley Cvitanovic (Ngati Pakeha) write that our whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori community responses to COVID-19 brought to life what Puao-Te-Ata-Tu so clearly articulated. Those responses demonstrated the vast potential that lies within Maori communities, when adequately resourced, to successfully meet the challenges of modern life.

During 2018–2019 several government-initiated reviews and inquiries focused on issues of critical importance for Aotearoa New Zealand. Without exception, these reviews identified profoundly failing state sector systems particularly for Māori, stressing an urgent need for bold transformational change.

This sixth Te Arotahi paper from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence returns to the key messages in Puao-Te-Ata-Tu and concludes just as that report did more than 30 years ago, without those in positions of power and influence actively working to eliminate the institutional racism pervading our state institutions, the system will not transform.

Six key recommendations are made:

  1. Engrained, systemic institutional racism is immediately and actively addressed.
  2. Constitutional and legislative provision is made for the devolution of power, decision-making and resources in policy, planning and service delivery for Māori.
  3. A coordinated, and cross-party state commitment is made to the complete implementation of a transformative agenda for Māori. Such an agenda will necessarily include high-trust, transformative, longterm investment as the new norm.
  4. A coordinated cross-party approach is taken to fully support the transformative potential of Whānau Ora and those Māori organisations, agencies, entities and providers operationalising whānau-ora and whānau centred philosophies, principles and approaches.
  5. The system-wide changes necessary for transformational change (including a genuine whole-of-systems approach, dismantling of departmental silos and a funding for outcomes) are prioritised and implemented.
  6. An equity lens is actively demonstrated in all aspects of state legislation, policymaking and implementation.


View the report here: Arotahi No.06 

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