Change Or Be Damned - Leadership Culture And Change: Implications For The Maori Organisation of The Future


Shane Gibbons, Manager Special Projects, Te Puni Kokiri,

with  Aubrey Temara & Te Taru White




            Te whare tu i te koraha he kai na te ahi

                The lone house that stands in the open is fodder for an enveloping fire.



Change and Forces Shaping the Future


To a degree, Maori in dealing with the European colonist, stand accused of falling into the same trap as the 'boiled frog of the Peruvian Indians' who, seeing the sails of their Spanish invaders on the horizon put it down to a freak of the weather and went on about their business having no concept of sailing ships in their limited experience.  Assuming continuity, they screened out what did not fit and let disaster in ‘. 1


The cogent lesson to be learned is that in looking to the future, Maori must recognise and identify the forces that will shape the future and the new global world.  Charles Handy argues that as we head towards the year 2000, change is not what it used to be: ‘Changes are different this time: they are discontinuous and not part of a pattern.2 Peter Valli describes this new environment as:


 ‘a world of permanent white water in which we're all roaring down a wild river, none of us feel like we either understand or control what we're in the middle of3


Clearly those who realise what type of change is likely and where changes are heading are better able to use those changes to their own advantage.  In the business environment, changes are such that old paradigms are breaking down and new ones emerging.  Maori need to recognise these changes and adopt the new paradigm.  Naisbitt (1982) and Naisbitt and Aburdene (1991) identified the trends shaping the 1980s and 1990s. (see Table 1). Perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all the changes shaping the future relate to the impending worldwide economic boom and the swiftness with which the world is becoming a single economy. 


This new global economy cannot be understood if it is thought to be merely more and more growing foreign exchange among 160 countries.  It must be viewed as a world moving from trade among countries to a single economy: one economy, one market place.  As Naisbitt et al (1990, p.12) point out, that for a global economy to work, free trade must exist among all nations and as economic considerations gradually transcend political considerations, CEOs will displace politicians from their positions of power.





Table 1: Megatrends


             1980                                                                1990

1.Industrial Society - to Information                       1. Booming Global Economy


2. Forced Technology - to High tech/high                2. Renaissance in the Arts



3. National Economy - to World Economy               3. Emergence of the Free Market Socialism


4. Short to long term Nationalism                            4. Global Lifestyles and Cultural


5. Centralisation to Decentralisation                       5. Privatisation of the Welfare State


6. Institutional Help- to Self Help                           6. The Rise of the Pacific Rim


7. Representative Democracy to Participating        7. The Decade of Women in Leadership



8. Hierarchies- to Networking                               8. The Age of Biology


9. North- to South                                                 9. The Religious Revival


10. Either/or- to Multiple Options                           10. The Triumph of the Individual


                                                                            11. The Decade of Maori Development


            Sources: J Naisbett (1982). J Naisbett & P. Aburdene (1990)



The economic boom may be partially explained by the shift from industrial society to an information society.  This shift has resulted largely from developments in telecommunications and the alliance forged between telecommunications and global economics.  The advent of the information society and the advantages of hi tech/high touch telecommunication, (with the ability to create a single worldwide information network, able to communicate anything, to anyone, anywhere) has had (and will continue to have) a staggering effect on business and the workplace.  It also provides a window of opportunity for Maori.  The implications of the information society for Maori and business generally are enormous and include:

·         The need for highly educated and skilled information workers.  Clearly in the information society tertiary education pays off in the market place and the well educated will benefit most.  Education has become a strategic necessity.


·         Problems associated with how to educate and train people to qualify for the highly specialised, highly paid and apparent abundance of jobs.


·         The realisation that countries that invest in education will be the most competitive and will hold a competitive advantage4


·         The realisation that it is no longer ‘ a mans world’ as women will take up two thirds of the new jobs created in the service information sector and will play an increasingly important role in all sectors, particularly in management and leadership positions.


·         A move away from labour-intensive manufacturing and a move towards knowledge based and service organisations.


·         The realisation that without a developed structure or network the vast amount of data that is generated each day will pass by and opportunities will be lost.  There is a need for organisations to acquire and process information and to build their knowledge base.


In the industrial era the position of Maori in the labour market was characterised by the fact that they tended to gravitate toward a narrow range of occupations which required brawn and not brains, and which were low paid and low skilled.  This situation will simply compound in the rapidly developing information society.  Maori youth are not innately more stupid or less educable; they are the inheritors of a tradition which held that book learning was for a few, that real life, and real money should begin as soon as possible and that skills were best learnt on the job.  Handy points out that;


 ‘ In Japan, 98% of young people stay on in formal education until 18 years of age. They are the inheritors of a different cultural tradition, one that just happens to be more attuned to the needs of the future’5


The message is simple and very clear.  Maori must invest in education but to this end the education system must be seriously questioned, in terms of how the system is trying to meet Maori needs.



A New Work Force: The Search for the Unreasonable Man


Businesses, corporations and Maori will not only need to look at and re-engineer their mechanistic, hierarchical, rigid and overly large structures but they will need to change their culture – the way they do things.  In this regard the key to change is in the mind of the individual worker.  What type of worker does the environment demand?  New buzzwords abound, illustrating the type of worker and the thinking required.  The situation calls for and progress depends on the ‘unreasonable man’, ‘upside down thinking’ and 'reframing’.  It also requires the use of such concepts as the inverted donut and subsidiarity.  In this respect Handy argues that5


‘Discontinuous change requires discontinuous up-side-down thinking to deal with it, even if both thinkers and thoughts appear absurd at first sight’


Handy further suggests that the ‘unreasonable man’ is best suited to periods of discontinuous change because he persists in trying to adapt the world to himself, whereas the ‘reasonable man’ adapts himself to the world.  Amongst Maori the unreasonable man would find any number of bed-fellows prepared to advance their ‘unreasonable’ ideas and to promote their up-side-down thinking.  As well as being educated, the new work force must be creative, innovative and totally committed to customer satisfaction and quality.  The key to success is to understand how best to release the entrepreneurial genie from the confines of the old industrial bottle.

Management to Leadership


The inevitability of change and the likelihood that several of the trends described by Naisbett and Aburdene may eventuate, together with the fact that the workforce itself will comprise a new breed of worker, means that management must also undergo change.  The shift within organisations will be from management (needed in order to control an enterprise) to leadership (needed to bring out the best in people and to respond quickly to change).  Clearly the jobs of people in the information, service, finance, and computer sectors are not part of an assembly line and cannot be managed as though they were.  Naisbitt and Aburdene consider that:


‘It is almost impossible to supervise work.  Mental tasks have replaced mechanical ones. Work is what goes on inside peoples heads, at desks, on airplanes, in meetings, at lunch’


Further, intelligent workers are best governed by consent and not by command.  Obedience cannot be demanded.  Rather, a shared understanding or the cultivation of the new business paradigm of community is the only way to make things happen. (Gozd, 1993 & Peck, 1987)   Transformational leadership is therefore required within organisations and by Maori.  It is a leadership of ideas and consensus, a leadership that respects people and encourages self-management and autonomous teams.  It is the leadership that wins commitment by setting an example of excellence, being ethical, open, empowering and inspiring.  Leaders must shape and share an organisation’s vision.  It is the vision that gives purpose to work.  The vision must make sense, be within the bounds of possibility and be adopted by others.  The new leaders must acknowledge and be increasingly prepared to manage the anxieties of change.  Management of change is perhaps the biggest challenge facing organisational leaders.  Employees must feel safe in learning; they must have a motive, a sense of direction, and the opportunity to try out new things, without fear of punishment.



Business Paradigms: The Breakdown of the Old, The Emergence of the New.


Who would have predicted the collapse of communism, the introduction of the free market, the tearing down of the Berlin wall, the relegation of apartheid to the annals of political oblivion and so many other phenomenal changes in the 1980's and the early 1990s?  The authors certainly didn't think that such tumultuous changes would happen in their lifetimes.  But as Michail Gorbachev lamented:


‘I feel that all mankind is entering a new age, and that the world is beginning to obey new laws and logic, to which we have yet to adjust ourselves’6


The modern Western industrial era paradigm is characterised by its belief in the scientific method, unlimited material progress, industrialisation and short-term pragmatic values?’6


Virtually every human activity is valued in economic terms and economic growth is the primary measure by which society judges its progress.  The predominance of economic institutions and economic rationality all but justify the greed of acquisitive materialism that has become the hallmark of modern society.  Harman and Harman suggest that the focus on acquisitive materialism leads to the deepest-level problem of all - alienation.  People are alienated from nature, from work, from each other and from themselves.


For Maori the communal concept of ownership has prevented or obstructed their full understanding of the all-consuming desire for acquisitive materialism.  This fundamental underlying value of the capitalistic system is perhaps the main reason for the tendency of the Western industrial paradigm (the old business paradigm), to create marginal people and marginal cultures, which taken to the extreme led to chronic poverty, hunger and mal-development7. Certainly Maori have long been aware of the tendency for the old business paradigm to marginalise their culture, hence the repeated calls for selfdetermination and attempts to embark on a development path appropriate to their unique cultural roots.  Maori will not mourn the passing of the old, materialistic, individualistic, western industrial paradigm; however, it is essential that they fully understand the new emerging paradigms of business.  Marilyn Ferguson in suggesting that the new emergent paradigms be based on values and not economics considered that:


‘The economic systems of the modern world take sides in the old argument of individual versus society.  When we are polarised, we are arguing about the wrong issue.  Rather than debating whether capitalism is right in its emphasis on opportunity for the individual or socialism in its concern for the collective, we should reframe the question. Is a materialistic society suited to human needs?  Both capitalism and socialism, as we know them, pivot on material values. They are inadequate philosophies for the transformed society’8


The emergence of new business paradigms based on values and not economics must be recognised and the characteristics adopted by Maori.  Marilyn Ferguson provides a summary of the assumptions underlying the old and new paradigms and is reproduced in Table 2.


The transition from the old to the new provides opportunity for all businesses, but particularly for Maori.  Many businesses/organisations no doubt because of the ‘paradigm effect’ will not see the opportunities, while others will suffer from a chronic case of ‘paradigm paralysis’ and be unable to capitalise.  Given that everybody goes back to zero when the paradigm shifts, Maori must strive to become ‘paradigm pioneers’ and be at the leading edge of implementing new rules and values.  An examination of the assumptions underlying the new business paradigms enables us to identify and list below the main features of the new paradigm.  Organisations will need to focus on:


·         Visioning (both corporate and individual)

·         Leadership not management

·         Flexibility

·         Co-operation, consensus, teamwork, community building

·         The creative workplace- innovate and entrepreneurial

·         The learning organisation

·         Empowerment of workers

·         Stakeholders not stockholders



Characteristics of the Future Organisation


Given the predicted megatrends, the turmoil and changes occurring in the business environment and the new emerging paradigms, one may well ask, how will firms, indeed how will Maori, organise and operate in the future?  An examination of the writings of R.M. Kanter, T. Peters and R. Waterman, and C. Handy reveal a surprising number of similarities in their respective visions of organisations in the future. 


These internationally recognised management consultants, more than any of the others, paint a picture, which the authors believe provide a workable and realistic model for Maori.  Before describing this Maori model, Table 3 briefly examines and contrasts the main characteristics considered by each of the above-named consultants to be necessary for future organisations.






Table 2                      BUSINESS PARADIGMS







Promotes consumption at all costs, able to  fit jobs. Rigidity. Conformity




Imposed goals, top-down decision making. Hierarchy, bureaucracy.


Fragmentation, compartmentalisation in work and roles

      - Emphasis on specialised tasks.

      - Sharply defined job descriptions


Identification with job, organisation, profession. Clockwork model of economy, based on Newtonian physics


Aggression, competition. ‘Business is business’




Work & play separate, work a means to an end


Manipulation and dominance of nature.

 Struggle for stability, station, and security



Quantitative; quotas, status symbols, level of income, profits, raises, Gross National Product, tangible assets


Strictly economic motives, material values





Polarised: labour versus management, consumer versus manufacturer, etc. Short sighted; exploitation of limited resources


‘Rational’ trusting only data



Emphasis on short-term solutions




Centralised operations


Appropriate consumption. Conserving, keeping recycling, obsolescence, advertising pressure, quality, craftsmanship, innovation, invention to serve authentic needs


Jobs to fit people. Flexibility. Creativity. Form and flow


Autonomy encouraged. Self-actualisation. Worker participation, democratisation. Shared goals, consensus.



Cross fertilisation by specialists seeing wider relevance of their field of expertise. Choice and change of jobs encouraged.


Recognition of uncertainty in economics. Identity transcends job description. Cooperation, human values transcends winning


Blurring of work and play. Work rewarding in itself


Cooperation with nature: Taoistic, organic view of work and wealth. Sense of change, becoming. Willingness to risk. Entrepreneurial attitude


Qualitative as well as quantitative. Sense of achievement, mutual effort for mutual enrichment. Values intangible assets as well as tangible


Spiritual values transcend material gain and material sufficiency. Process as important as product. Context of work as important as content-not just what you do but how you do it


Transcends polarities, Shared goals and values. Ecologically sensitive to ultimate costs. Stewardship



Rational and intuitive. Data, logic augmented by hunches feelings, insights


Recognition that long-range efficiency must take into account harmonious work environment, employee health, customer relations


Decentralised operations wherever possible








·         Opening Boundaries to form

§         strategic alliances



·         Bias for action chunking for quick action. Project teams, quality circles

·         Closer to the customers-customer dictates product quantity, quality of services

·         Autonomy/entrepreneurship spirit. Open, free informal communication

·         Productivity through people-respect workers develop family feeling

·         Hands on value driven-driven by values of the organisation not by profit as an end in itself

·         Stick to the knitting – do what you know best

·         Simple form, lean staff-flexible flat, small divisional and autonomous



·         The shamrock organisation


·         A Federal Organisation


·         The Triple ‘I’ Organisation



Simultaneous loose-tight properties-firm and free, tight controls, encourage innovation. Certainly on issues of innovation and entrepreneurship; flat anti-hierarchical and flexible structures, culture and shared values, brains rather than brawn and treating workers as respected assets there is much common ground.  However it is Handy's three generic types of organisations, the shamrock, the federal organisation and the triple-i organisations that appear to be readily adaptable to the Maori situation.



The Maori Organisation of the Future


The case study, in our view, identified four factors which we consider to be blocks on change and which must be removed before Maori will be able to pursue successfully their vision of self-reliance and self-determination, the protection and development of their culture and the welfare of their people.  Those blocks may be categorised as structure, leadership, education and financial dependence.





It has been noted in our case study that in the search for unity amongst iwi, traditional tribal autonomy presents the major obstacle and impedes the development of a national body politic.  The concept of a federation of tribes is not new to Maori however, as Handy points out:


‘Unfortunately, federalism misunderstood can be worse than no federalism. Federalism misunderstood becomes inefficient decentralisation, leading to talk of the headless corporation or the hollow company... A clear understanding of the role of the centre is crucial to a proper federalism, but so is an appreciation of concepts like the inverted donut, because structure on its own will not produce a federalist organisation’ 9


For Maori to unite successfully under the umbrella of a federation, the role of the federal centre needs to be clearly understood.  Federalism must be distinguished from decentralisation where the centre delegates tasks to the outlying parts of the organisation while remaining in overall control. Federalism requires the centre's power to be given to it by the independent autonomous tribes.  The centre does not direct or control but co-ordinates, advises and attempts to influence.  However the initiative, drive and energy comes from the tribes.  The role of the centre requires that it compile and rationalise the vast amounts of information becoming available in the information society.  It is essential for the centre to build and protect its knowledge base.  In this respect the federal centre provides a central database employing ‘smart people’ and smart machines.


For these reasons the development of national and global strategies needs to be controlled by the federal centre as there is a danger that the strategic thinking of the tribes will be short term and parochial.  Decisions on how to spend new money (not generated by the assets of the tribes) and where and when to place new people must also of necessity be controlled by the centre.  Federalism implies therefore that the tribes retain their autonomy or rangatiratanga, leaving the federal centre to pursue the business of providing a common platform for the integration of the activities of the tribes.  The federal centre will further generate and collate ideas from the tribes and from within its own knowledge base, turning them into concrete, achievable, strategic objectives.  Underlying the functions of the federal Maori structure is the principle of subsidiarity, which requires that the centre not perform tasks that can be performed efficiently by the tribes.  The federal centre together with the federated tribes must also adopt and incorporate into its operation the principles of the shamrock, and Triple-I organisations.


The concept of a federation of tribes provides the only means by which Maori can deal successfully with non-Maori on a pan-tribal basis while at the same time ensuring that each tribe retains its autonomy and rangatiratanga.  The federal concept also assists in the process of allowing strategic alliances to be strengthened both internally with other tribes and externally with non-Maori businesses.


Apart from clearly defining the role of the federal centre, the real key to success is dependent almost entirely on the following four factors:


·         The incredible advances in telecommunications now make it possible for iwi to communicate between themselves and with the federal centre.  Hui will no longer be weekly affairs requiring long travel and prolonged discussion.  Information will be available and easily accessible and strategies will be developed in the centre for iwi consideration.  Technology has the capacity to make big organisations small. It has the capacity to unify Maori.


·         Although Maori still lag behind in the education field, indications are that increasing numbers are graduating and gaining the required skills and experience to staff the proposed structure.  The challenge for our generation is to establish the structures and to create the positions.


·         The Maori renaissance is timely, will not be denied, and will not go away.  There is a renewed spirit and the realisation that only Maori can help themselves, as history has shown that the Crown is incapable of improving their position. Such is the nature of the Westminster system.


·         The process of Waitangi Tribunal claims and the settlement of grievances can only assist in Maori efforts to help themselves.  However more importantly Maori cannot afford to be caught by the ‘paradigm effect’.  Unlike the boiled frog or the Peruvian Indians, Maori need to read the current paradigm shift.  The advent of the information society means everyone starts from zero.  Consequently it is understood that success depends not on the return of assets and other natural resources, but on the processing of information, adoption of new paradigms and a commitment to invest in education.  The Japanese have provided the example in this respect. Having comparatively few natural resources, they have sought success and competitive advantage by other means.  Rather than rely on their scant natural resources, the Japanese have concentrated on management systems and processes; adding value to products and services and capitalising on the vast amounts of information contained in their knowledge based organisations.





Maharaia Winiata in his article ‘The Changing Role of the Leader in Maori Society’ considered that Traditional Maori society evidenced a hierarchy of 4 leadership classes: viz, ariki, rangatira, kaumatua, and tohunga 10


‘In the first instance traditional Maori leadership roles were determined according to primogeniture in the male line.  Invariably senior males therefore lead the whanau, hapu and ultimately the iwi. However heredity, although an important factor, was required to be accompanied by other attributes such as: knowledge of whakapapa and tikanga, wisdom, oratory, prowess in warfare.  All of these attributes needed to be identified by the hapu or iwi members who would eventually confirm the leader’s position.


Further, the underlying basis of leadership was mana, which could be traced to several sources. Mana ascribed by birth was mana atua, while mana derived from occupying certain land areas was mana whenua.  Mana tangata came from the support of people and the ability to engender a spirit of co-operation amongst the community.  Mana also incorporated an element of spirituality and in this respect no action or decision was taken without first attending to the spiritual dimension.  It has been suggested that in this regard Maori leadership patterns were dualistic rather than simply unitary as the expertise of a tohunga was more often than not required before the mauri of the event or occasion was right.



Maharaia Winiata further considered that the ariki, rangatira and tohunga classes had almost disappeared and that the kaumatua was the most persistent and universally found class of leader in traditional society.  In today's society, the kaumatua more often than not leads the way regardless of whether the issue is one of tikanga, politics, economics, business or commerce.  The reality is that the time honoured tests of leadership no longer exist to the same degree and more often than not, kaumatua are promoted to leadership roles simply because of age, without having earned it. The question of whether leadership is or should be inherited or achieved is worthy of further discussion. 


Api Mahuika comments:


‘Neither do I subscribe to the view that the present leadership is achieved rather than ascribed, at least certainly not in Ngati Porou.  Here, families like Reedy, Dewes, Kaa, Karaka, Kohere, Mahuika and Ngata, families which belong to the rangatira, have ensured that at least one of its sons has received the full benefit of Pakeha education because these are the families from which leadership is expected. In other words, Pakeha education is another preparation for leadership in the tribal situation... this would suggest that the traditional elements of leadership are still relevant and important today.’11


This view may be contrasted with that of Alan Duff who considers that:


‘Maori need new leadership to replace, perhaps educate a tiny open-minded minority of them, the present leaders with their rigid, unbending attitudes, their assumption that leadership is not so much an individual quality as a hereditary one, owed not to merit, nor to qualities of personal strength, fortitude or wisdom.  But owed always to your place in the male lineage, your order in the privileged Maori male universe’.


We need this present linkup of leaders like the proverbial hole in the head.  Maoridom needs to be rid of the tribe-obsessed leadership, which inevitably returns to its inward-looking self-tribe.  Tribe, it is always tribe, or iwi, before Maori.  It will never change so long as we continue old tribal practices, with continued adherence to the system of hereditary male leadership.  It has to be overturned.’ 12


A common and ever increasing complaint of the Maori Land Court judges relates to the election of trustees for individual blocks of Maori freehold land.  Trustees are normally elected for the specific purpose of utilising and developing the land on behalf of the owners.  Inevitably however when trustees are nominated each family (whanau) will nominate the head or kaumatua of their family.  To reject a nomination or to be defeated in the election, results in loss of mana, therefore almost all nominations are accepted.  The consequence of this is that in almost every case there are too many trustees and very few have the necessary qualifications and skills to actually develop the land for the benefit of all owners.  The tendency to nominate and elect various family kaumatua also means that the many trustees perceive their role as looking after their family's interest.  Hence vested interests cloud their judgements and development considerations are of secondary importance.  Similar problems arise whenever there are elections held for various committees, boards and runanga.


The issue raises the problem of whether Maori are best served by the need for the iwi/hapu to be represented or whether they are best served by ensuring that their representative is selected on merit, despite the fact that he/she may not be a member of the particular iwi/hapu.


In the world of politics, economics, social welfare and business, traditional Maori leadership may need to be impeached.  The process of impeachment is not uncommon and in this regard history has an important lesson for Maori.  Examples abound from the emperor in Japan to the kaiser in Germany, the tsar in Russia and monarchy in Britain.  The claim to a divine right to rule (in Maori terms the right to rule based on whakapapa) barely survived the feudal paradigm of the middle ages and perhaps the industrial era paradigm had most to do with this.  The lesson of history is very simply that at some stage the general populous, being dissatisfied and disillusioned with the governance of the monarch, rebelled and opted for a process of electing persons best suited for the job of governing.  In many instances, perhaps out of respect, the monarch remained as a symbolic figurehead. 


For Maori it would be a crime of the highest order if in matters of politics, economics and business etc, traditional leaders were promoted on the basis of whakapapa or heredity, if they did not also possess the necessary skills.  Maori cannot afford to enter the information society with leaders who do not understand the new paradigms and the dynamics at work in the new environment of discontinuous change.  The place and role of the traditional leader needs to be clearly defined and the process established whereby the most capable persons provide the leadership not only at the federal centre but also in the tribes.


Maintaining a clear distinction between the governance and management roles and by clearly defining and separating roles, functions, and powers may solve part of the problem. There is also a need to determine clearly the lines of responsibility and to incorporate tools of accountability such as, contracts, strategic and corporate planning, documentation, administration and policy manuals, and deeds of constitution describing the relationship of the various components each to the other.





The concept of the Triple-I organisation is based on intelligence, information and ideas.  Organisational success depends upon a combination of smart people and smart machines.  Handy sees the core workers in both the shamrock and federal organisations using their intelligence to analyse information, to generate ideas for new products and services.  Ideally in the structure proposed, the federal centre together with the core workers in the federated shamrocks of the tribes should provide a hotbed of intellectual discourse.  Therefore, it is imperative that Maori employ the best people to fill the positions in the proposed structure and invest heavily in education.



Financial Dependence


Unlike the crown or local bodies, Maori are not able to collect taxes or levy charges for such things as: rates, fishing licences (quota), mining licences, geothermal extraction, etc.  The anomaly of course is that the crown manages to levy such charges on assets they do not own but which are rightfully and legally owned by Maori.  The availability of taxes and rates are the life-source for government departments and district councils. Without them they simply would cease to exist.


The major problem for any Maori organisation (be it hapu, iwi, waka or the structure proposed) is finance to support its operations.  For most tribes they have barely sufficient funds to support their own operations and marae let alone a federal centre requiring smart people and smart machines.  One of the problems with government initiatives in establishing organisations to represent Maori is that at the end of the day the crown controlled finance and the continued existence of the organisation was totally dependent on government policy and the whim of individual ministers.


The need to be financially independent and to have sufficient funds to support their own structures is a major motivating factor behind many of the tribe's tribunal claims.  In essence the tribes are saying we don't need your help, just give us back what rightly and legally belongs to us and we will help ourselves.


The Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kokiri) has replaced the previous Iwi Transition Agency and the Ministry of Maori Affairs.  Te Puni Kokiri’s role is restricted to providing policy advice and is not involved in provision of services in housing, employment and training and land development areas.  Generally speaking the Ministry has employed a small core of highly intelligent, educated, talented and skilled people and is leading the way amongst many government departments in its use of the latest computer technology and telecommunications systems.  Over the years the Ministry has compiled an enormous amount of information relating to almost every facet of Maori life.  The Ministry is deeply involved in formulating strategies and providing advice to the Minister.


Almost by default the Ministry is performing some of the functions and roles described earlier for the federal centre. However, a major problem relates to communications between the Ministry and iwi and the ultimate person or entity for whom the policy advice is prepared.  Perhaps Handy best illustrates the problem when considering the role of the federal centre:


‘Subsidiarity means giving away power.  No one does that willingly... Yet the federal organisation will not work unless those in the centre not only have to let go of some of their power, but actually want to do so, because only then will they trust the new decision makers to take the right decisions and only, then will they enable them to make them work’13


We can only speculate on what might be achieved if the National Maori Congress was structure to perform the role of our federal centre and to carry on in the direction of the Ministry.  To do this the $30 million vote Maori Affairs would need to be redirected to the National Maori Congress or other duly constituted Commission in perpetuity (or for a fixed term of years, say 30 years) without any obligation to account to anyone other than ‘Iwi Maori’.  The funds need to be targeted towards developing structures (capacity building) and educational strategies.


Government should indulge in a bit of upside-down thinking and simply give the money with no strings attached, and trust the appropriate structure to do the job for its own beneficiaries.  To repeat Handy's words they should trust the new decision makers to take the right decisions and only then will they enable them to make them work


Perhaps then, the position of Maori in society will improve.  There is tremendous energy, creativity, goodwill and commonality of purpose in the Maori community.  It only needs to be tapped and coordinated. This requires structure, leadership, an urgent focus on education and the need for financial dependence on the Crown to be replaced by accountability to iwi Maori.  Ka mutu tenei, Kia ora koutou.







1  C. Handy, 1989, The Unreasonable Man, p-7

2 C. Handy, 1989, The Unreasonable Man, p-5

3 See readings Leadership Culture and Change Module, The New Paradigm in Business

4 . The USA does not have sufficient numbers of educated and qualified workers to fill the information economy jobs that are available at present.  All the Asian countries of the Pacific rim have been investing in education for several years and are out-performing their European and American counterparts).



5         C Handy, 1989, The Unreasonable Man p.29



6         Michail Gorbachev in Harmann and Hormann article - unreferenced course text, Leadership Culture and Change


7      Harmann and Harmann – unrefenced course text, Leadership, Culture and Change

8      Unreferenced Article. The Transformation of Values and Vocation. MBA course text. Leadership   Culture

and Change


9 C.Handy, 1989, The Unreasonable Man p.99



10 Maharaia Winiata – The Changing Role of the Leader in Maori Society, p.179


11             Api Mahuika – Leadership Inherited and Achieved in M.King (ed), Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Maoritanga p.61

12              Alan Duff- Maori The Crisis and The Challenge, p.18


13    C.Handy, 1989, The Unreasonable Man, p.100