Develop vibrant communities: A region that caters for diverse Māori lifestyles and experiences.

Relationships and connections are central to Māori and Māori wellbeing. Whanaungatanga is about forming and maintaining relationships and strengthening ties between kin and communities. This value is the essential glue that binds people together, providing the foundation for a sense of unity, belonging and cohesion.

At a glance: Whanaungatanga in Tāmaki Makaurau

We see Whanaungatanga in contemporary Tāmaki Makaurau expressed in many ways: in the customary practices and activities of ancestral and community marae, in access to forms of cultural support, in connections over the internet, and in sustaining connections with whānau. Recent COVID-19 related lockdowns and dependence on remote working, learning and socialising highlights how important home internet access is for sustaining this value.

Whanaungatanga is expressed of sustaining connections and progressing in the education system. There has been a strong decline in the proportions of rangatahi currently not in employment, education or training (NEET), and a steep rise of Māori students who are graduating in science, technology and mathematics (STEM). This marks a positive trend over time.

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

Whanaungatanga and the cultural pou

Whanaungatanga is a cornerstone of Māori cultural expression and is a vital key that unlocks connections to Māori whakapapa and cultural identity.

There are 36 marae in Tāmaki Makaurau

Source: Auckland Council, Cultural Initiatives Fund (excludes educational and institutional marae).

Marae physically and spiritually anchor Māori identity, and nourish Māori social, economic and cultural rangatiratanga. They provide the tūrangawaewae for their people. Marae form the beating heart of many Mana Whenua and Māori communities.

There are 36 marae in Tāmaki Makaurau that are eligible for Auckland Council cultural initiatives funding. They are traditional marae owned by whānau, hapū and iwi and based on whakapapa, and urban marae established as places for whānau Māori living in urban settings.

Mataawaka are Māori who live in Tāmaki Makaurau but do not belong to a Mana Whenua group. Mataawaka make up 85% of the Māori population in Tāmaki Makaurau. This accounts for the high number of Mataawaka marae (16).

Compared with other regions, fewer Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau find it easy to locate someone to help them with Māori cultural practices

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

Ease of access to Māori cultural capability and capacity is important for connecting with and keeping cultural heritage and knowledge alive.

Examples of Māori cultural practices include finding someone to help bless a taonga, to speak at a hui, or help with a tangi.

Over time, Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau are finding it more difficult to find someone to help them with Māori cultural practices.

Whanaungatanga and the social pou

Whanaungatanga contributes to people’s sense of connection and safety. The more connected people are in their communities, the safer whānau and individuals feel, and the more people will thrive.

Internet accessibility in the home is on the rise and higher than the national average

Source: Stats NZ, Census (customised). By descent

The internet has become an important means of accessing a wide range of information and services and maintaining social connectedness. Declared as a human right by the United Nations in 2003, internet accessibility continues to add to our quality of life by improving access to information and removing barriers to social and professional connections.

Recent COVID-19 related lockdowns and dependence on remote working, learning and socialising highlighted how important home internet access is.

More Māori on the North Shore and inner city are able to access the internet in their homes, than in the West and South.

Whanaungatanga and the economic pou

Whanaungatanga equips Māori whānau and rangatahi with the skills required to realise economic opportunities, now and in the future.

Lower NEET rates for Māori rangatahi in Tāmaki Makaurau

Source: Stats NZ, Housing and Labour Force Survey (customised). By ethnicity

Rangatahi aged 15–24 years are usually more severely affected by economic downturns and tight labour markets. Research indicates that young people are the first to lose their jobs and the last to gain employment. Employers often demand skilled and experienced workers, so lack of work experience and work skills are a barrier to employment for rangatahi.

The percentage of Māori youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) helps provide the overall picture of Māori potential and progression within the labour market. Decreasing the numbers of rangatahi who are NEET is a key focus for both local and central government.

More Māori have been completing qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) than ever before, but has declined in the last two years

Source: Ministry of Education, tertiary education data (customised). By ethnicity

Knowing how well tertiary students are performing and in what areas they are graduating helps shape the understanding of the future labour market. High levels of skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in particular has been positively associated with improved innovation and contributions to national and regional prosperity.

There are high numbers of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau graduating in STEM, compared with other regions, but they are a low proportion of all graduates.

The proportion of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau completing STEM qualifications exceeded the national average for the first time in 2017.

Whanaungatanga and the environmental pou

As Mana Whenua, Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau have a unique relationship with the land here. Through Whanaungatanga, significant importance is placed on safeguarding the environment, ensuring sustainability, growth and support for future generations.

The Auckland Unitary Plan formally recognises and protects a growing number of sites of significance to Mana Whenua

Source: Auckland Council, Heritage counts

Cultural landscapes, wāhī tapu and wāhī taonga across the rohe of Mana Whenua express narratives about the tipuna, their values and wairua. Culturally significant sites enable rich stories about a unique history and identity.

Sites of significance that are scheduled in the Unitary Plan have a level of formal protection. These wāhī tapu range from urupā to wāhī waiora.

Mana Whenua are working with Auckland Council to safeguard the environment for future generations. This is achieved through formally protecting sites of significance to Māori. However, substantive support and funding is required to address the many sites that are not yet protected.

The Whanaungatanga Report

In the Whanaungatanga Report, we discuss in detail how whanaungatanga is currently being supported in Tāmaki Makaurau, looking at learning of Te Reo Māori, watching Māori TV, participating in kapa haka, sports, and Māori festivals.

Download and read the Whanaungatanga Report below:

The Whanaungatanga Report