Theme: Leadership and social innovation


Cultural leadership styles in Aotearoa New Zealand: unpacking the practise and determining the difference

By Matene Love (Te Atiawa) and Dale Marie Pfeifer

This paper explores present-day Maori and Pakeha leadership styles, by examining how leaders from each culture behave in the leadership milieu. Focusing on Maori leadership, it discusses the results of a recent national survey which examined follower’s perceptions of leadership behaviour within their particular cultural group. It then explores the differences and similarities between the perceived effective leadership strategies of both Maori and Pakeha leaders.

 This paper approaches Maori leadership by considering Maori cultural values, and examining the relationship between Maori cultural values and what followers deemed effective Maori leadership. This is placed in the context of the intergenerational transfer of Maori leadership skills by considering traditional leadership practises and discussing how these have transferred into the contemporary context, setting Maori leaders apart from mainstream leaders. It does this by examining characteristics of traditional Maori leaders and how these characteristics manifest in contemporary Maori leadership.

 By examining some of the Maori leaders of today and the styles of leadership they have adopted, a clear pattern emerges as to what traits and characteristics are adopted from traditional Maori society and which are adopted from contemporary Western practices.

 This study’s findings are beneficial to young Maori leaders as they put forward a leadership style which Maori, from a diverse range of backgrounds and ages, perceived as being an accepted leadership style that is of relevance and effective in today’s society. 



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