Promote distinctive identity: Recognised sense of identity, uniqueness and belonging

Wairuatanga is distinctive to Māori spirituality. Wairua is the spiritual dimension of all existence; it speaks to the holistic wellbeing of an individual and also the spiritual synergy of the collective with which that individual identifies. Wairuatanga is as an essential requirement to health and therefore vital to the wellbeing and identity of Māori.

Wairuatanga is enhanced when there are opportunities to express and practice tikanga (culture), kawa (traditions) and mātauranga Māori (traditional Māori knowledge) in contexts such as marae and in Māori networks and interest groups.

At a glance: Wairuatanga in Tāmaki Makaurau

Many Māori businesses are grounding their organisations in Wairuatanga, recognising the interrelationships between the culture within the organisation and business outcomes.

Auckland Council, through ATEED, supports Māori business networks and events. These have been delivered at a steady pace in the last few years, and the Whāriki Business Network has now over 550 members. Business members are engaging in high value sectors such as professional, scientific and technical services, and telecommunications (ICT). Existing official Statistics NZ data on Māori authorities and Māori small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do not do justice to the actual size and contribution of Māori businesses to the New Zealand economy.

Auckland Council continues a commitment to maintain and improve indigenous biodiversity with high future targets for priority native habitats under active management. However, the number of tohu tangata whenua or pou in regional parks and community facilities could be increased. Tohu tangata whenua and pou are very significant to Māori as they affirm cultural and spiritual links to whenua and contribute to the region’s cultural heritage and identity. 

Take a look at headline Wairuatanga indicators for Tāmaki Makaurau across the four cultural, social, economic and environmental pou below. You can also download the full Wairuatanga report and read about this value in detail.

Wairuatanga and the cultural pou

The desired cultural outcome for Wairuatanga is that “Tāmaki Makaurau’s Māori heritage is valued and protected”.

Cultural events such as Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival is one example of how major events in Tāmaki Makaurau can raise awareness of Māori culture and help maintain its significance. Wairuatanga is expressed in many art forms throughout this event and provides access to tikanga Māori such as karakia, rāranga, waiata and whaikōrero.

Research shows that engagement in Māori communities and activities is related to Māori identity, and life satisfaction.

There are 27 tohu tangata whenua installed in Auckland Council’s regional parks and 24 pou at Auckland Council’s community facilities

Source: Auckland Council

One of the ways in which Mana Whenua and Auckland Council can identify Mana Whenua relationships to regional parks and community facilities and significant Mana Whenua values is through the installation of tohu tangata whenua (markers) or pou.

Tohu tangata whenua strengthen whānau connectivity, affirming the place of Iwi and its people within the tribal domain. Tohu tangata also raise awareness of cultural and historic values. This contributes to improving relationships between Mana Whenua and visitors and users at parks and community facilities.

Pou acknowledge and commemorate the presence of tūpuna (ancestors) on places and events that occurred during their time. They mark the ancestral and contemporary associations between tangata and the whenua.

Auckland Council has been working in partnership with Māori in planning and developing tohu tangata whenua and pou to ensure that they are located, designed, developed, unveiled and maintained in accordance with Māori values and tikanga. However, there have been no new pou since 2015

Wairuatanga and the social pou

The Māori Plan’s objectives within the social pou of Wairuatanga is that “Māori social institutions and networks thrive”. This requires a platform for expressing Māori identity in a positive light, whether that be through business networks or kapa haka.

63% of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau sang a Māori song, haka, gave a mihi or speech in the last 12 months

Source: Stats NZ, Te Kupenga. By ethnicity or descent

Māori socialising as Māori is important to recognising and promoting a unique sense of identity and connection to Te Ao Māori. Singing a waiata, giving mihi or performing in kapa hapa helps preserve language and customs integral to Māori heritage.

In 2018, 63% of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau sang a song, haka, gave a mihi or speech in the last 12 months, which was slightly more than for Māori across Aotearoa. However in all other measures of participating in performing arts and crafts, Tāmaki Makaurau Māori were less likely to participate. 

Wairuatanga and the economic pou

The desired outcome for the economic pou in the Māori Plan is that “Māori businesses are uniquely identifiable, visible and prosperous”. Collaborative partnerships are important for Māori businesses as they provide opportunities for growth and prosperity.

There are 551 Māori business owners registered with Whāriki Māori Business Network and membership has been growing

Source: ATEED

Celebrating Māori business success promotes a unique Māori identity. The more visible the success, the more pathways this creates to help grow the Māori economy and improve the wellbeing of Māori across Tāmaki Makaurau.

Whāriki is a network within Tāmaki Makaurau established to support Māori business development. The shared kaupapa of Whāriki members is to discuss industry issues, provide peer support, and encourage whakawhanaungatanga amongst the Māori business community.

The profile of businesses in Whāriki and in Tāmaki Makaurau is different to Māori enterprises across Aotearoa. Businesses that are part of Whāriki are mainly in the professional, scientific and technical services sector, and in information media and telecommunications. Māori businesses in Aotearoa tend to be found mainly in agriculture, forestry and fishing, or in financial and insurance services.

Wairuatanga and the environment pou

Te Taiao, the environment, is central to Māori whakapapa, narratives and customary practices. The focus for the environment pou from a Wairuatanga perspective is that “Māori taonga are enhanced or restored in urban areas”. Wairuatanga is also reflected in the way Māori culture and values are expressed within the urban space and places of Tāmaki Makaurau. More recently, there has been an increase in Māori design throughout the region.

The percentage of priority native habitats under active management exceeded the target set in the Auckland Council’s Long-Term Plan

Source: Auckland Council Long-Term Plan and annual reports

The Auckland Council has an indigenous biodiversity strategy which has as its vision: “He taonga, ka whaihua ngā rerenga kē o Te Ao Tūroa i Tāmaki Makaurau - Auckland’s indigenous biodiversity is flourishing and treasured”.

Protection and enhancement of indigenous biodiversity, in large part, requires effective pest control. Over the last few years, Auckland Council has undertaken a systematic identification and prioritisation process for all terrestrial ecosystem types within Tāmaki Makaurau. It has targeted a number of important areas for active management.

The Wairuatanga Report

In the Wairuatanga report, we discuss how Wairuatanga is being expressed in the creative sector, for example by using the Te Ara design principles.

When Māori businesses ground their practices in Wairuatanga, they recognise interrelationships between culture within the organisation and their business outcomes.

Download and read the Wairuatanga Report below:

The Wairuatanga Report