Māori are significant contributors to the play, active recreation and sport sector. It is a sector that attracts Māori and one in which Māori excel. The uniqueness that Māori culture brings to play, active recreation and sport is critical to our national identity and wellbeing. Sporting teams incorporate elements of Māori culture to elevate performance and engender passion and pride in being New Zealanders.
Between 1998 and 2014, Māori participation in sport and recreation decreased by 8.4%, compared to the national average of 7.7%. In January 2017, Sport NZ commissioned a ‘whole of system approach’ Review of Māori Participation in Community Sport to understand the opportunities for and barriers to enabling and investing in long-term outcomes for Sport NZ and Māori. Three key themes from the 21 recommendations emerged: leadership and partnership, cultural capability for both Sport NZ and the sector, and resourcing.
In response, Sport NZ recruited a Toihautū Principal Advisor Māori in November 2017 to give effect to the Review recommendations, with a focus on increasing the cultural capability of Sport NZ and re-establishing genuine partnerships and relationships with Māori.
In October 2018, Phase 1 of Sport NZ’s cultural capability programme, named Tū Te Ihi, was launched. It is based on four key modules:
- Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Dimensions of The Treaty of Waitangi
- Whanaungatanga / Strengthening Connections with Māori
- He Tirohanga Māori / A Māori Worldview
- Te Reo Māori, Tikanga Māori / Māori Language, Customs and Protocols
Phase 2, named Tū Te Wehi, is ensuring our system reflects Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty principles. Some of the deliverables for this work are:
- Sport NZ Outcomes Framework and Māori Outcomes Framework
- Toward 2032 Strategic Direction, Strategic Plan and Priorities
- Commissioning Investment Framework
- Integrity policies, processes and procedures
Phase 3, Tū Te Wana, is about supporting the sector in building their cultural capability.
Sport NZ’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi commitment statement articulates the Treaty Principles from a play, active recreation and sport perspective. Sport NZ is committed to honouring these aspirational statements, through its role as kaitiaki of the play, active recreation and sport system. Sport NZ’s Rautaki Māori Team (Māori Strategy Team) is leading the way in implementing the overall programme of work.
Sport NZ’s cultural journey and on-going commitment to a bi-cultural future has not only strengthened its role as a Treaty-led organisation but also aligns to the expectations set out in the new Public Service Act 2020 (Act). The Act provides a modern legislative framework that enables a more adaptive, agile and collaborative public service and includes stronger recognition of the role of the public service in supporting the partnership between Māori and the Crown.