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Maori Makes a Difference:



Centre for Maori Studies and Research

University of Waikato













This paper was born out of six months of observation, reading, participation, and discussion as a visiting research fellow at the Centre for Maori Studies and Remeatch, University of Waikato, while on sabbatical leave from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, during the 1984-85 academic year. The analysis presented in the paper, though focused on the Maori in New Zealand, is also influenced to a certain extent by my experience with similar issues in the context of Alaska Native development. Any misrepresentation of facts, or misinterpretation of their meaning in the New Zealand context, as well as any opinions expressed here are solely my responsibility and should not be attributed to the Centre or the University. If I have over-stepped the bounds of propriety as an outsider, I extend my apologies. I offer the paper as a collection of reflective observations, rather than as a research document.


I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to Bob Mahuta and the Centre staff, as well as to all their associates from throughout the Waikato region, for their support and hospitality in inviting me to participate in their affairs, and for their patience and guidance in helping learn a little bit of the Maori way. I would also like to thank the faculty and students of Te Wananga o Raukawa for a very stimulating weekend, out of which many of the ideas in this paper emerged. Finally, I wish to thank Isla Nottingham for her editing assistance and commentary in the midst of her numerous other tasks. Keep up the good work, all of you.


Kia ora,


Ray Barnhardt



One of the recurrent themes in nearly all of the many recent assessments of Maori social, economic, and educational status is the need for greater Maori involvement in the decision- making areas in New Zealand society, particularly in those arenas that impact Maori people and communities. This is not a new theme, nor is it a theme unique to New Zealand. It is a theme that is reflected in most societies with significant minority populations. One of its earliest manifestations in New Zealand occurred in 1867, with the establishment of four exclusively Maori seats in the New Zealand Parliament. It has continued through to today as an issue that permeates much of the literature discussing the role of Maori in New Zealand society.


Just as Maori involvement in decision-making has been a recurrent theme, so has the frustration of Maori people over the unfulfilled promises and expectations that have accompanied those instances where Maori have been admitted to the decision-making arenas, including that of Maori representation in Parliament (Walker, 1979; Mahuta, 1981). While frustration of a minority group in the political arena may be expected, the source of the frustration is not always political in origin. In many cases, the frustration derives from the limitations of conventional Pakeha organisational structures and administrative practices in addressing Maori social, cultural and economic concerns.


Given the current consideration being directed toward the restructuring of governmental services so that more responsibility for their planning and implementation is in the hands of the people for whom the services are intended, it seems an appropriate time to take a look at some of the issues surrounding the arguments for greater Maori control over their own affairs. Those arguments cut across a wide range of social, cultural, institutional and political issues, so it is to an examination of such issues that this paper will be directed.



As with indigenous minorities in other countries, the Maori have for many years been a subjugated people. Having been over-powered and out-numbered by the Pakeha, Maori have had to endure the imposition of foreign cultural values, institutions and life styles in a country over which they were once the sovereign rulers. And endure they did, adopting some aspects of the new cultural regime, rejecting others, but always maintaining a cultural presence that is identifiably Maori. As a result of this cultural persistence in the face of unremitting pressures for assimilation into Pakeha society, New Zealand exists today as a land of two people, a reality which has been acknowledged by the Governor General, Sir David Beattie (1985), but which has yet to be manifested in the manner in which government services are administered.


Given the cultural variability of administrative practices such as planning, evaluating, decision-making, or organising, it is not hard to understand why Maori often find it difficult to deal with Pakeha institutions. How then, can those institutions become more responsive to Maori cultural concerns? One option is the creation of a dual system, whereby Maori are able to maintain their own separate institutional structures alongside those of the Pakeha. The traditional Maori framework for such structures is the tribal and kinship system. Any function that can be organised within such a framework could conceivably be controlled and administered by Maori people through their own cultural institutions. Two contemporary examples of Maori institutions that have been established parallel to Pakeha institutions are Mana Motuhake (Walker, 1985) and Te Wananga o Raukawa (Winiata, 1985). Both institutions, while patterned in part on Pakeha structures and created to counteract the unresponsiveness of comparable Pakeha institutions, are entirely under Maori control, reflect many uniquely Maori characteristics, and are designed to serve exclusively Maori purposes. It is clearly possible, therefore, to have a dual system of separate institutions for Maori and Pakeha, each based on its own equally valid cultural principles and practices and serving a particular segment of the New Zealand population. It should be pointed out, however, that a dual system that is initiated by an oppressed group is quite different from apartheid, where separation is imposed without choice by the oppressors. The creation of Maori institutions by Maori people is not a step towards apartheid, but rather an attempt to regain control over matters of cultural significance that are seen to have been co-opted under a single system of Pakeha institutions. Participation in the institutions is a matter of choice, for both Maori and Pakeha.


While separate institutions may sometimes be the only way for Maori people to address their needs and retain their cultural integrity in the face of impervious monocultural Pakeha institutions, it has some practical limitations as a long-term solution for structuring all relationships in a multicultural society. So long as an element of individual or group choice is present, the diversity of individual interests will make it difficult, if not impossible, to establish a system of separate institutions in all sectors of the society. It is a fact of everyday life in any setting in which people from different cultural backgrounds come in frequent contact with one another that diffuse acculturative influences will occur, resulting in an ongoing process of cultural adaptation and change. Over time, it is likely that such influences will produce as much individual variation in behaviour within each cultural group as there is between them, to the point that some persons who continue to identify themselves socially or politically with a particular group may not necessarily practice or even be familiar with the cultural traditions of that group. Others will develop the ability and desire to move back and forth between the two cultural worlds, functioning in effect as biñcultural individuals. Under such circumstances, it is difficult to make simple dichotomies, institutional or otherwise, that presume human behaviour and motivation can be viewed as monocultural - Maori or Pakeha.


While cultural adaptation and blending is a fact of everyday life, where the rub comes is when there is an inequitable distribution of power, and the process of adaptation becomes instead, a oneñway process of assimilation, with one cultural group being expected to adopt the traditions and institutions of another at the expense of their own. It is in such a context that Maori people have acted when they have sought to establish their own institutions, seeking the means to regain the power to exercise control over their own affairs. One of the principal functions of such institutions, therefore, is to serve as instruments of "empowerment". What then can be done to enhance the empowering potential of the many other institutions that continue to adversely impact the lives of Maori people, but, for a variety of historical, political and economic reasons, do not lend themselves to a dual system? Can Pakeha (or Maori) institutions be made to serve more equitably the needs of both Maori and Pakeha people?


New Zealand society, like other heterogeneous societies, consists of a complex and dynamic multi-cultural social order in which unity and uniformity is sought in certain dimensions (e.g. democratic government, equality under law, mass education), while diversity is maintained in others (e.g. religious, political, social). Where difficulties begin to arise is when the institutions that have grown out of one segment of the society are presumed to provide equal benefits and services to all segments of the society. The task of any national system of social, economic or educational institutions, therefore, is not to perpetuate a particular set of monocultural traditions (regardless of whose they are), but rather to provide a framework within which a diversity of ethnic, social, religious and political beliefs and practices may be expressed and nurtured, to the benefit of all New Zealanders. In some sectors of the society this may mean a dual system of separate monocultural institutions, while in others it may mean developing more culturally sensitive practices within the framework of a single system. The implications of this for administrators and policyñmakers is indicated by A.F.C. Wallace in his study of the mechanisms necessary to move administrative processes from an emphasis on the "replication of uniformity" to the "organisation of diversity":

Since the task of any culture, and particularly the cultures of large industrial societies, is to organise diversity rather than to destroy it, and since large industrial societies are increasingly dependent upon bureaucratic systems of management, a major task of cultural reform for continued human progress must be to design bureaucracies that are resistant to exploitation and are adequately sensitive to their clienteles (Wallace, 1970:12).


It appears from the earlier analysis that neither a single monocultural bureaucratic system rooted in either Pakeha or Maori cultural tradition, nor a dual system of separate institutions representing each tradition are adequate alternatives for meeting the needs of all segments of New Zealand society. If Wallace's criteria that bureaucracies are to be "adequately sensitive to their clienteles" is to become a reality, alternative approaches to organisation and administration must be considered that can accommodate both Maori and Pakeha cultural traditions. Such systems will need to include mechanism for recognising varied cultural beliefs and practices, and provide equal opportunity for full participation by members of both cultural traditions. This means that existing institutional structures must also be revised to include avenues for Maori to become more active participants in them, for only they have the cultural knowledge and expertise needed to address uniquely Maori concerns.


How this will be translated into practice may vary considerably since there are many different kinds of institutions with different degrees of impact on Maori people. This may be illustrated by looking at actual examples of institutions (past and present) with different configurations in the relationship between control of the institution and the cultural mandate it is intended to serve.

Monocultural Institutions


One type of institution is that which is controlled by members of a particular cultural group to serve purposes exclusive to that group. It need accommodate only that diversity reflected within the cultural group served. In Maoridom, the marae and hui (Salmond, 1975) are examples of traditionally-based monocultural institutions, while the Kingitanga (Mahuta, 1978) and Ratana Church (Raureti, 1978) are examples of exclusively Maori institutions whose structures were developed by the Maori themselves, but were influenced by comparable Pakeha institutions. Since there is relatively little Pakeha involvement in these institutions, the Maori members are free to establish whatever organisational goals and administrative practices they feel are appropriate to manage their affairs. It is such institutions that usually come into being when the dual system of separate institutions described earlier is established.


The picture is not so clear in the Pakeha world, where there are many monocultural institutions which are controlled by Pakeha and were designed to serve Pakeha purposes, but are now presumed to be capable of serving Maori purposes as well. While most of the institutions that make up contemporary New Zealand society were originally established by Pakeha for Pakeha, there are very few that do not directly or indirectly impact Maori people today. The monocultural nature of these institutions is not always recognised, however, until their differential effects are reflected in the unequal benefits derived from the institutions by Pakeha vs. Maori participants.


Pakeha educational institutions have probably received the most attention in this regard. Cultural and institutional biases (some intentional, some unintentional) have been identified in areas such as curriculum content, testing procedures, language usage, teacher expectations, staffing, etc. Recognition of these biases has led to a variety of counteractive measures over the years, though most have had relatively little effect on the disparity in educational achievement between Maori and Pakeha students. Those measures which appear to have had the most positive effect on Maori student performance, as well as on community attitudes toward schooling, have been those which get Maori people more directly involved in the educational process, e.g. Kohanga Reo, Maori language programmes, Maori teachers etc. (Clark, 1984). The same observations can be made with regard to employment and training schemes, e.g. Kookiri Centres (Misa, 1982).


In general, monocultural Pakeha institutions are not likely to be of much benefit to the majority of Maori people until Maori themselves feel they have a vested interest in the institutions. Such a vested interest can come about only if the institutions are addressing Maori needs, and Maori people have equal access to, and opportunities for participation in the day to day operation of them (cf. Barrington and Ewing, 1973). Assuming that Pakeha style institutions will continue to dominate the New Zealand landscape, how then can they be made more accommodating to Maori people?

Pakeha/Maori Bi-Cultural Institutions


One of the most common responses of Pakeha institutions when confronted with the reality of a Maori cultural and political existence, is to create a special division within the institution to address Maori concerns. In this way, the parent institution is able to maintain its dominant authority, while at the same time providing some latitude for the inclusion of a Maori perspective. Examples of such bifurcated institutions include the Maori Land Court in the judicial arena, the Maori Battalion in the armed forces, the New Zealand Maori Council in the political arena, and the Department of Maori Affairs in the government system as a whole.


The ultimate success and support enjoyed by such institutional adaptations to cultural diversity depends to a large extent on the degree of real authority and power that is vested in Maori hands as a result of the creation of the special division. If a unit is created that is little more than advisory in nature, such that Maori contributions can be accepted, modified, or subjected to the "Pakeha veto" by the parent institution, it is likely to be seen as mere tokenism and given limited support by the Maori community. If, on the other hand, a special unit is created with substantial Maori participation and controlling authority, for example, the Maori Battalion, the unit is more likely to gain widespread support and make a significant contribution to the parent institution, to Maoridom and to the whole of New Zealand. The least useful form of bifurcated institution is a unit that is intended to serve Maori needs, but is controlled and staffed entirely by Pakeha, unless it is deliberately designed to prepare Maori to move into otherwise inaccessible roles. Regardless of how knowledgeable and well-intentioned Pakeha personnel might be, if they continue to occupy the decision-making roles in an institution, that institution is not likely to develop the kind of cultural relevance that is necessary to address Maori needs.

Maori/Pakeha Bi-Cultural Institutions


A third kind of institutional framework aimed at accommodating uniquely Maori concerns is that reflected in organisations such as Maori Trust Boards, the Maori Women's Welfare League, the Maori Wardens Association, Kohanga Reo, and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. These are institutions that are in Maori hands and serving Maori purposes, but are linked in various ways to, and incorporate certain features of, Pakeha organisational structures. The strength and durability that these organisations have exhibited is testimony to the capacity of Maori people to adapt and utilise Pakeha structures to enhance their own well-being. It is organisations such as these that illustrate the value of people controlling and staffing the institutions that impact their lives. Given the opportunity for self-determination, the Maori people have demonstrated that they are quite capable of managing their own affairs in ways that are of benefit to all New Zealanders.


The cost, in both human and economic terms, of maintaining institutions that foster a state of dependency of one group of people on another is no longer acceptable. Ultimately, it is the human resources that constitute the wealth of a nation (Harbison, 1973), so it is the development and effective use of those resources that should be of highest priority on any national agenda.


The complementary nature of the cultural contributions that both Maori and Pakeha can make to New Zealand society were identified by Fisher in a study of Maori-Pakeha relations. Pakeha contributions included science and technology to enhance the physical quality of life, including health care, economic and business expertise to increase efficiency, cultural expressions such as classical music for enjoyment, civil rights expertise to advocate for one's rights, and a sense of egalitarianism and directness in dealing with people. Maori contributions included whanaungatanga for mutual aid and security, spirituality and a love of the earth, aroha involving hospitality, sharing, cooperation and respect, Maori language and culture for bilingualism, biculturalism and a wider connection to Polynesia, a range of social skills (sensitivity to social process, productive conflict resolution, consensus decision-making) for handling relationships effectively, and an aesthetic vision which relates literature and crafts to the land in ways that are unique to Aotearoa and to Maoritanga (Fisher, 1984:26).


Whether it is through institutions of their own making, or through culturally appropriate adaptations of Pakeha institutions, Maori people must gain a greater voice in shaping their own destiny so that their contributions to New Zealand society can serve a more complementary function. Since Maori and Pakeha destinies are inextricably linked, it is imperative that all New Zealanders join in the development of new and innovative institutional forms that provide for an equitable distribution of power and preserve the dignity and integrity of diverse cultural traditions, so that New Zealand can truly boast of being "two people, one nation".



If we accept the proposition that Maori should have greater control over their own affairs, the next issue becomes. "Where is the need greatest?" It is obvious from the examples of the various institutional configurations described above that efforts to achieve Maori self-determination are not new. What is new (more so for Pakeha than Maori) is a belated recognition that real self-determination means active involvement, not just at the top level on an institutional policy board, or at the bottom level as a wage labourer, but also in the day-to-day decision-making and management of institutions (Edgeley and McDonald, 1984). It is in that middle management level that professional and technical judgment shape the true character of an institution and determine its ultimate impact on the people being served.


The need is for Maori people to move into positions where they can influence the incremental policy-making that grows out of the day-to-day actions and decisions of professional and technical personnel. That is to say, Maori must become administrators, planners, researchers, teachers, accountants. programmers, etc., so that they can bring their perspective to bear in those institutional and bureaucratic arenas. It does not mean, however, that they have to become Pakeha-style administrators, etc., for that would simply be replacing white-skinned bureaucrats with brown-skinned bureaucrats. Though Maori bureaucrats may have a better understanding of Maori concerns than Pakeha bureaucrats, if they are unable to translate that understanding into more culturally appropriate practices, they may end up alienating themselves from their own people by perpetuating and adding legitimation to the existing system. If the existing system is not performing adequately and there is an expectation of greater cultural sensitivity in its functioning, the Maori bureaucrat must be able to bring cultural skills to bear that go beyond those of the conventional administrator, planner, etc. What those skills are and how they might be put to use will vary according to role and situation, so a few examples might help to illustrate the point.




The planning process is one of the most critical stages in the development of any new institutional endeavour, but rarely is it recognised as a highly culture-bound process. Usually, it is not until the results of a planning process are being acted upon that cultural discrepancies are noted, and then the focus of attention is on the particulars of the issues raised, rather than on the process itself. The way that culture enters into the planning process is described by Peter Rikys, based on his perspective as a Maori representative on the Auckland Regional Authority:

All planning at all levels ultimately involves a series of value decisions and a setting of priorities between values identified. If planners are not exposed to or in possession of some values, these values will fail to be reflected in the planning policies and priorities which result from planning.



One of the most contentious areas where different cultural values often come into play is in the area of land use planning, particularly in relation to Maori lands. The necessity and urgency in bringing a Maori perspective into the planning process is pointed out by George Asher, a member of the secretariat of the New Zealand Planning Council:

The existing Town and Country Act 1977 provides, as a matter of national importance, for the relationship of the Maori people and their culture and traditions with their ancestral lands. But a very slow rate of acceptance of Maori values by planners and administrators has followed. Town and country planning control is maintained by imposing regulations which state what can't be done with land. It is also oriented toward the future. What is established now is the result of planning at an earlier date. That is why Maori values and understanding must be considered at the earliest possible stage in order to accommodate urgent Maori needs.

(Asher, 1984:23)


Asher goes on to point out that the value of land takes on a different significance in the Maori context, and that there is a lack of cultural awareness among planners regarding Maori aspirations for the use of land, not only as a social and economic base, but also as a cultural asset. This makes it imperative for Maori people to get involved with planning.


Another arena in which Maori participation in planning has taken on increased significance is in the area of social and environmental impact planning, particularly in relation to large scale energy and economic development schemes (cf. Mahuta, et al, 1985). Following costly disruptions caused by a lack of adequate attention to Maori concerns in several major development projects (e.g. Bastion Point and Huntly Power Project), new avenues are being sought to engage Maori people in the early phases of planning for future development. One such avenue has been the provision for Maori representation on Regional Planning Committees. Some of the functions of such representation are identified by Rikys (1980) and may be summarised as follows:

1) To assure that planning policies reflect a minority sensitivity and recognise minority needs and aspirations where they are distinct from those of the majority.

2) To weigh value decisions and policy formulation against their likely social consequences to ensure that no particular group within the community is unreasonably disadvantaged by them.

3) To provide a means of sensitizing planning and administrative processes and to promote functional multiculturalism by providing direct participation in decision-making processes.

4) To provide a voice and incentive for greater participation by Maori people in all planning decisions, as a means of identifying issues which may not have been apparent to planners but which have a special significance to Maori and other Polynesian people.

5) To provide planners with a means of access to Maori expertise, advice and consultation as part of policy formulation processes.

6) To provide an incentive to and opportunity for Maori initiatives at the planning level.

Rikys concludes by indicating that

It is absolutely vital for the development of a strong and vigorous racial climate in New Zealand that opportunities are created at all levels in the power structure for Maori people to participate in and contribute to decision-making (Rikys, 1980:27).

With such considerations in mind, the Ministry of Energy has demonstrated a recognition of the need for Maori participation in assessing the potential consequences of large scale development, by commissioning the Centre for Maori Studies and Research, University of Waikato, to prepare a Maori perspective to accompany the main environmental impact report on proposed Waikato energy development. In assessing the potential impact of coal-fired power stations on Maori people and communities in the Waikato region, the report goes beyond the usual linear and compartmentalised assessment of environmental impact. It demonstrates the interrelationship of a whole range of issues that need to be taken into account in planning for development, including social, cultural, historical, economic, demographic, and spiritual, all of which are inseparable from the land, water, trees etc. in the physical environment.

For the Maori, and indeed many other people, to present an assessment of the future without taking cognisance of the past, is impossible. Their total world, physical and human, is not only a result of their past, but that past lives with them now in a very real way. It is with them in the form of the spirits of their ancestors, their rivers, lakes, land and trees. This is their total world, a world upon which the living can call for support and aid from all the world that has gone before.

(Centre for Maori Studies and Research, 1984:2)


If perspectives such as these are to be considered in planning processes, whether they be in reference to land, economic development, schools, health, or any other facet of New Zealand society, those processes must include significant Maori representation. In the long run, it is not only Maori people, but all New Zealanders who benefit, because the policies and programs that emerge from the planning are grounded in a more thorough and realistic assessment of options available, and thus are likely to enjoy a broader base of public support.




A second arena in which a Maori perspective can make a valuable contribution to institutional practices is in the area of research. Because of different cultural values regarding the acquisition, interpretation and use of knowledge, and because most of what gets defined as "research" is done by Pakeha researchers using Pakeha research paradigms, examples of the contributions of Maori people to research, beyond their role as subjects, are still few and far between. Two notable exceptions to this dearth of Maori-directed research material are the research projects carried out by the Centre for Maori Studies and Research (an example of which was noted above), and a large scale survey of Maori women's perceptions of health, conducted by the Maori Women's Welfare League. While there are other examples that could be cited, the potential value of Maori researchers is indicated by the success experienced by the League in its use of Maori field workers.

The success in the field showed the value of investigative interviews being conducted by people of the same cultural background as those being interviewed. Information in response to questions of a very personal nature was seldom concealed or distorted as would have happened frequently if the field team had been non-Maori. No amount of cultural sensitizing of non-Maori beforehand would have compensated for the natural cultural affinity and consequent feeling of ease engendered in respondents by being interviewed by a Maori field worker.

(Murchie, 1984:23)

Since research is often used to guide planning and policy-making, it is important to recognise the role that particular cultural values play in shaping the way research topics are selected, instruments are constructed, methods are implemented, data are analysed, models are constructed, results are used, etc.. All of these factors involve choices and decisions that can have a significant impact on the product of a research endeavour, and consequently, on the people and issues being researched. In a discussion paper on "Maori Research and Development" prepared by Evelyn Stokes for the Social Sciences Committee of the National Research Advisory Council, she makes the following case for greater cultural sensitivity in Maori-related research:

The purpose of Maori research should be to identify and make available knowledge of the Maori world, Maori perspectives and perceptions, Maori cultural values and attitudes, in areas which are seen as significant in Maori terms. It cannot be assumed that there is a uniform Maori view on things. Opinions and attitudes are just as varied and contradictory in the Maori world as they can be in Pakeha society. One function of Maori research is to identify these issues and convey them adequately to Pakeha society. The more important and urgent function of Maori research is to direct efforts to investigating ways in which Maori resources-cultural, economic and social-can be used more positively and effectively, to work through institutional barriers, to provide avenues of guidance, set out options, and communicate these in such a way that Maori people themselves can work through the issues that confront and concern them .

(Stokes, 1985:6)

As with planning, it is no longer adequate for Maori people to be the passive recipients of Pakeha-designed research. Maori people need to become actively involved with any research project that addresses Maori affairs, from the earliest stage in the identification of the issues to be researched, to the translation of the research results into policy and action. In some cases this may mean teaming up with Pakeha researchers, while in others it may be a matter of Maori people taking the initiative to do the research themselves, to ensure that their point of view is considered. In either case, it means working from the inside of the community out, rather than from the outside in.

It needs to be said more often that imported theoretical models are not necessarily the best starting point for research which replicates something designed in and for another cultural situation. If indigenisation of Maori research is to mean anything at all, then the research done must arise out of the aspirations and needs of Maori people. There must be a high degree of Maori involvement at all stages, and the results of the research must be fed back by the researcher in such a way that obvious benefit accrues to Maori people themselves.

(Stokes, 1985:19)


To the extent that Maori benefit, so will all New Zealanders.




One of the most critical of all institutional processes is the evaluation of individual competence. Whether it is in the job interview, the sitting of an exam, or the assessment of work performance, the criteria for competence and the manner in which it is to be displayed are amongst the most significant factors influencing a person's livelihood and career. They can also be some of the most culturally biased factors in the way Pakeha institutional practices present barriers to full participation by Maori.


One of the most obvious examples of this is the emphasis placed on standardised tests as the basis for judging competence. There is no such thing as a "culture-free" test. Variations in the content of a test, its structure, the test setting, the language used, the person administering the test, and the very idea of tests, all have been shown to be factors in determining the outcomes of a test (Orasanu, et al., 1977). Standardised tests place considerable constraint on the way competence must be displayed, and seldom take into account the range of approaches that a person may take in demonstrating competence at a particular task. It is not unusual for a person to be able to perform a complex task without being able to explain the precise steps taken in a way suitable to some standard form. In this case the person should be recognised for the success of the larger task, rather than penalised for failure in the lesser task. Tests are particularly notorious for making simple tasks more complex by breaking them into such small and discrete increments that we lose sight of the whole and end up measuring test-taking skills, rather than the skills that the test is purported to measure. Too often, tests are used for administrative convenience, rather than for their validity in assessing the skill or task in question (Walker, 1985).


If New Zealand institutions are to take into account cultural differences in the way people think and behave, both the criteria for competence and the manner in which competence is to be assessed must be broadened to encompass Maori patterns of thought and behaviour. Whenever possible, particularly in non-mechanical tasks, emphasis should be placed on the successful completion of a task or project, rather than on the routinization of procedures and steps by which it is to be completed. A general task assigned in broad terms of responsibility allows for greater variation in how the task is to be completed than one that is spelled out in a highly detailed manner. This is particularly critical in social service and educational institutions, where tasks like counseling or teaching are often overly prescriptive in the way they are expected to be performed, and thus restrict the opportunities and incentive for Maori teachers or counselors to introduce practices that might be more appropriate to their clientele. We do not have to assume that there is one best way to perform such tasks (cf.C.Barnhardt, 1982).


If institutions wish to make productive use of the special skills that Maori bring to a task, they must provide a climate that supports and nurtures those skills, so that the skills can be freely used and expressed in carrying out the tasks of the institution. That includes allowing alternative competencies to be used to perform tasks, as well as developing more appropriate procedures for assessing competence, so that Maori skills will be recognised and rewarded, rather than ignored and penalised. Once again it is necessary for Maori people to move into supervisory roles, so their perspective will enhance the overall potential of an institution by making more effective use of available man power and by improving the criteria by which the institutional tasks are to be measured.



While planning, research, and evaluation are important factors in shaping institutional policies and practices, the positions that have the most pervasive influence on the day-to-day operations of an institution are those of the managers and administrators. They, through their organisational perspective and their administrative style, more than anyone else shape the ethos of an institution and thus largely determine its ultimate effectiveness. Even though particular cultural concerns may be brought to bear at the level of general policy formation through Maori representation on institutional boards or commissions, it is the managers and administrators of the institution who determine how those policies are to be implemented, and it is at that level that cultural considerations can be easily neglected or subverted. Political control of an institution by a particular cultural community does not in itself ensure that the institution will be sensitive to the cultural beliefs and practices of that community (Barnhardt, 1979). The high expectations of more than one Maori community have been dampened when the operational version of their attempt at a more culturally-based programme turned out to be little different from the Pakeha programme it was intended to replace.


It would be easy to attribute such a lack of cultural adaptability in institutions to the simple fact that most positions at the administrative and supervisory level are held by Pakeha (Douglas and Dyall, 1985:6). Thus cultural innovations are constrained by the imposition of a Pakeha monocultural perspective. However, such an interpretation neglects to take into account the fact that similar frustrations have also been experienced in situations, particularly in government bureaucracies, where Maori people hold administrative roles and have made a deliberate attempt to respond to the wishes of the Maori community (Walker, 1975). This would indicate that cultural biases can reside not only in the individual occupying an institutional role, but in the structure of the institution as well.


While administrators, through their own deliberate action, can function as institutional gate-keepers, there are many other less obvious ways in which institutions can present unintended structural barriers to the accommodation of Maori community concerns and perspectives. Such barriers may exist in any feature of the institution where there is potential for different cultural beliefs and practices to influence the attitudes and behaviour of institutional participants. This includes implicit behavioural routines, such as the way people are expected to communicate and interact with one another (Metge and Kinloch, 1978), and the way decision-making and leadership are exercised (Ritchie, 1963; Winiata, 1967). It also includes explicit institutional routines, such as recruitment and selection procedures (Walker, 1985), the way time and space are structured (Awatere, 1984), and the criteria and techniques used to judge peoples' performances (Graves, 1977).


It is possible to reduce some of these institutional barriers by training Pakeha administrators to recognise how organisational and administrative practices favour some people over others, and encourage them to develop practices that take cultural diversity into account (Edgeley and McDonald, 1984; Reynolds, 1984). Such an approach, however, does not address inequities in the distribution of power in the institution, nor is it the most effective or efficient means of building cultural sensitivity into institutional practices. Maori people, with appropriate training and the opportunity to bring their unique perspective and skills to bear, are generally in a better position to break down institutional barriers to Maori participation, because they are more likely to have inherent within them the necessary cultural predispositions. They need also the incentive and support to take culturally appropriate initiatives in the restructuring of organisational and administrative practices, or they will simply perpetuate the inequities built into the existing system.


One example of an attempt to transfer administrative responsibility for certain community services into Maori hands has been the establishment of Kokiri centres (community-based coordination and administrative units) through the Department of Maori Affairs. The assumptions behind the centres are summarised by Denis Hingston, in his role as the executive officer of the Mangere Kokiri:

Kokiri units must always assume that the community in the main is progressing well and utilising most of its resources. But there must also be the assumption that greater creativity can occur in every community through more self-vision, understanding, and confidence to deal with the complexities of its own particular concerns. Consequently Kokiri units must behave in a way that encourages the initiative and the decision-making to be taken by the community itself.

(Hingston, 1982:4)


For the person managing the Kokiri centre, this requires a special set of administrative skills, as indicated again by Hingston:

Members of Kokiri units must themselves be creative and perform at a high level of efficiency. They must understand their role as being one that is both catalytic yet action oriented. The basic requirement is to work in the community constantly and to understand its objectives: to work in tune with the people and with their rhythm; to do all things possible that will assist the community to make good use of its collective power and strength, and to remind the community where necessary that the focus is to stand up against negative forces and to deal with them with kotahitanga (Hingston, 1982:4).

Bringing administrative responsibility for the delivery of community services to the level of the client community is a critical step if those services are to reflect local cultural considerations. To do so, new kinds of demands are placed on the role of the administrator which require a familiarity with and sensitivity to features of the local cultural system that few if any people from outside the system are likely to develop. It becomes imperative, therefore, that Maori people assume those administrative responsibilities and be given the latitude to introduce their own "modus operandi" in response to the needs and conditions in the community. Efforts to achieve "cultural fit" may require changes in institutional features ranging from the simple rescheduling of daily activities to a rethinking of the very function of the institution. Only persons fully immersed in the cultural community being served are in a position to recognise and act upon the discrepancies between institutional and cultural practices that led to the current inequities in service benefits and are therefore in need of change.


While moving the control of services closer to the community and bringing Maori people into decision-making and management roles is a critical and necessary step toward transforming Pakeha institutions into bi-cultural Pakeha/Maori or Maori/Pakeha institutions, that step in itself is not sufficient to achieve the equity of services that is needed. In addition to possessing all of the Pakeha technical skills necessary to maintain a Pakeha institution, the Maori administrator must also understand how the institution can be made to fit into the Maori world without subverting essential features of that world. When such a transformation of existing institutions is not possible without losing more cultural ground than is gained, the Maori administrator must also have the skill to build new kinds of institutions that can respect and sustain the bi-culturalism that is inherent in the Maori experience.


In many ways Maori people, when given the opportunity, are in a better position to develop bi-cultural institutions than Pakeha. They live a bi-cultural existence throughout their lives and can bring that life-long experience into the institutional role. To bring that perspective to bear they must be accepted by Pakeha on equal terms, as equal partners and with equally valid beliefs and practices. Lacking such acceptance, Maori will have little choice but to continue pursuing the development of their own separate competing institutions as the only means to retain their cultural dignity and integrity. While pursuing a separate course may be a matter of necessity for Maori cultural survival in the short term, it is to everyone's advantage in the long term to develop new kinds of collaborative institutional structures that give real meaning to the notion of "two people, one nation". This will require a special effort on the part of the Pakeha people to meet Maori half-way (if that is still possible) in the process of cultural and institutional accommodation. An important step in this regard is a sharing of the social, economic and political power that shapes New Zealand society by supporting Maori in their efforts to gain access to managerial and other critical decision-making roles.


Planning, research, evaluation and administration are but a few of the many institutional processes that can benefit from greater Maori participation. Without significant Maori representation in such key decision-making roles in New Zealand institutions, it is not likely that those institutions will develop the means to provide equitable benefits and services to all New Zealanders.



As Maori people move into decision-making roles in any institution, they bring a perspective that is influenced not only by the particular values, beliefs, etc. reflected in "Maori culture", but also by the history of subjugation that characterises Pakeha/Maori relationships. Within those institutions that have been created by Maori for Maori, there should be an inherent compatibility in personal, cultural and institutional aspirations, so that the management function can be carried out within a Maori frame of reference, with little external interference. In some cases, however, non-Maori considerations may still come into the picture, particularly in situations where the survival of the institution is dependent on successfully competing with Pakeha institutions on Pakeha terms. An example of such an institution is Maori International, which has declared its philosophy as follows:

Maori International expects to succeed not only because of its business acumen and efficiency, but also because it will, with integrity, respect the cultural pride and expectations of all New Zealanders. It is the custom of the Maori that individual members of their communities work in the best interests of their "whanau" (extended family) or their "iwi" (tribe)... Maori International is also aware that it must accommodate the individual investment needs of both the Maori people and other New Zealanders. Maori International is confident that its unique shareholding structure will result in a combination of good business practice, cultural traits and other characteristics which will give it a distinct advantage as it interacts with different segments of New Zealand's industrial community and with the various Maori groups who have resources to contribute

(Puketapu, 1984)


While the management of Maori International is Maori and it has been established to use Maori resources to serve Maori purposes, the rules by which it operates and the criteria upon which its success will be measured are influenced to a considerable extent by Pakeha standards, because it has been organised within the framework of a Pakeha industrial corporation to compete in a corporate arena. The management, therefore, must possess a unique combination of Maori and Pakeha skills and must be able to move back and forth between the two worlds with ease if Maori International is to survive in such a highly competitive arena. Even though it is a Maori-oriented and Maori-controlled institution, the management must be prepared to cope with the realities of a Pakeha-dominated economic system.


Likewise, when a Maori takes a professional or supervisory position in a Pakeha-controlled institution, it implies a willingness to accept certain historical realities with regard to the existence of such institutions, but it does not necessarily imply a willingness to further extend that existence into the Maori world. For some it may mean temporarily stepping out of the Maori world and pursuing Pakeha-oriented goals, with no attempt to link the two. For others it may mean seeking an opportunity to develop Pakeha skills that can be brought back and put to use at a later date to achieve Maori goals. But for many other Maori, the purpose of assuming a position of responsibility in a Pakeha institution is to bring a Maori perspective to bear on the functioning of that institution. It is to the circumstances of the latter group that the following comments are directed.



Cultural Bureaucrats, Advocates and Mediators


The responsibilities carried by Maori persons in professional or supervisory positions often extend far beyond those of their Pakeha counterpart. Personal aspirations can be bound to a whole range of cultural expectations and obligations that rarely enter into Pakeha considerations. This is in part a function of differences in cultural traditions, but it is also a function of the beneficiary relationship between Maori people and Pakeha institutions (ie. the institution is there to provide certain benefits and those who work in the institution are there to administer those benefits for the people). Maori administrators must not only reconcile themselves to their role within the institution, they are also expected to reconcile the relationship between the institution and its clientele. This may not always be easy, as indicated by the following comment of a Fijian administrator:

Administrators must be loyal to their superiors in the bureaucratic hierarchy, by whom they are appointed and paid; on the other hand they are also expected to be leaders. They cannot always do both, for these roles are incompatible and involve conflicting loyalties. It is true they are paid to carry out the commands of a higher body which concerns itself with the welfare of the people, but the people do not necessarily view these commands in the same light, and individuals in an institution inevitably bear their own interests in mind as well as those of the institution. Officials who enforce the rules are set apart from the people; they are no longer leaders for they have no loyalty, in this context, to their followers.

(Nayacakalou, 1975:118)

Given such circumstances, the administrator-cum-leader must choose to align with the community being served or with the institution providing the services, or they must attempt to establish a middle ground as a mediator between the two. Each of these options leads to a different kind of role for the administrator vis-a-vis the community and the institution and requires different kinds of skills.


If primary allegiance is granted to the institution, the Maori administrator takes on the mantle of a bureaucrat and is likely to pursue primarily personal career goals as a matter of survival in the institution, with little willingness to challenge any lack of institutional response to the unique concerns of the Maori community. Having bought into the Pakeha system, efforts of such a person in the community are more likely to be directed towards getting the community to understand the needs of the institution, than to initiate actions or raise issues that further complicate institutional tasks. The responsibility of the bureaucrat (Maori or Pakeha) is to maintain the established system as efficiently and effectively as possible by reducing the variables that the system has to deal with to the minimum necessary for survival. It is the rare bureaucrat that willingly introduces new and complicating variables to the system. If Pakeha institutions employ Maori personnel with the intent of improving relations with Maori communities, yet also expect them to take on a typical bureaucratic posture, they should not be surprised if the same old issues continue to resurface. While many benefits may be gained from such an arrangement, the greater share of those benefits will go the individual bureaucrat and the institution, rather than to the community. Little is likely to be gained in terms of Maori self-determination.


If, on the other hand, a Maori person enters a Pakeha institution as an advocate for Maori concerns while retaining primary allegiance to the community, a different set of skills from those of the bureaucrat come into play. The concern of the community advocate is to bring community perspectives to the attention of the institution and to mobilise community action to achieve appropriate changes in the system. To achieve community action goals, cultural, political and legal advocacy skills are often more important than administrative or technical bureaucratic skills.


Advocates tend to prefer positions that allow them to keep in close touch with the community (e.g. field offices), so that their institutional ties are often of a somewhat tenuous nature. Faced with a choice between alienation from the community and losing one's job, the advocate is likely to choose the latter option. This can present the institution with a dilemma, because while commitment to institutional goals and procedures is expected on the one hand, the expertise of the Maori administrator can also be vital to effective implementation of those goals and procedures, on the other. The root of the dilemma is not in the lack of institutional commitment by the community advocate, but rather in the cultural distance between the functioning of the institution and the needs of the community. From the community advocate point of view, change must occur by bringing institutional practices into closer alignment with those of the community, rather than the other way around. To the extent that the community advocate adequately represents community perspectives and the institution finds ways to accommodate those perspectives, to that extent does that institution become an instrument of empowerment and service to Maori people, and thus to all of New Zealand society.


A third and more difficult posture that a Maori person can assume as an administrator in a Pakeha-dominated institution is that of mediator between the Pakeha and Maori cultural worlds. While such a posture can lapse into little more than fence-straddling, it also has the potential for creative application of the bi-cultural skills Maori people have had to learn. To function as mediator, a person must have a firm understanding of the essential qualities that make up the two worlds represented in the mediating arena, but just as important is an ability to see beyond existing circumstances to create new options that reconcile differences in mutually beneficial ways. Bi-cultural skills must, therefore, be reinforced with institution-building skills, as well as with negotiation and persuasion skills. Such a combination of administrator and cultural broker can be a valuable asset to any institution, so long as the institutional power brokers recognise that mediation and accommodation are two-way processes.


To be a successful mediator, a person must be able to establish co-membership in both the community and institutional arenas. To be recognised and supported by Maori and to have influence in Maori arenas requires the ability to display oneself in ways that are characteristically Maori, and the ability to articulate issues in terms that make sense to Maori people. To have credibility in the Pakeha institutional arena requires the ability to command authority and display competence in ways that are recognisably Pakeha. To be an effective mediator a Maori administrator has to be able to shift readily back and forth between different authority structures, leadership styles, decision-making processes, communication patterns, and many other cultural variables that enter into the way people get things done. The task of the mediator becomes one of constantly juggling two sets of expectations that are often conflicting and trying to determine where and how to seek changes that will reconcile the differences in a mutually satisfactory manner.


An example of some of the kinds of issues an administrator in a mediating role is likely to encounter is given by Ritchie and Mahuta in their discussion of a marae-based model for economic development:

How do you train and develop a style of management that will work for small scale enterprises? How do you overcome opposition within the community itself? What do you do when people ask, why should we take these risks? How do you persuade people who are afraid of going into debt that it will be necessary if they are going to accomplish anything? How do we get people who have learned to live with short term objectives to take a longer perspective? (

Ritchie and Mahuta, 1985:5)


These are issues that do not lend themselves to simple resolution or single solutions. They are complex issues which involve exercising judgments and choosing amongst options that have considerable cultural implications. While there may be an increasing number of Maori people making valuable contributions to decisions on such issues through "advocate" and "mediator" roles in Pakeha institutions, the fact that the issues continue to arise and that serious inequities continue to exist, would indicate that more comprehensive approaches to Maori participation are necessary. The approaches that would appear to hold the most promise are those that foster self-determination through direct Maori control over, and participation in, the day-to-day management of their affairs. Let us look then at how institutions might be organised to achieve greater self-determination.



Institutionalised Self-Determination


Since there are many different aspects of a society that require institutional services, we can assume that there will be many different kinds of institutional arrangements necessary to provide those services. When a national society is bi-cultural or multi-cultural in composition, an even greater diversity of institutional arrangements is necessary to provide equitable services to members of all groups. If the wealth of cultural diversity that is reflected in New Zealand society is to be respected and capitalised upon by New Zealand institutions, greater attention must be given to the cultural consequences of current institutional practices.


In any aspect of society where institutional practices have direct and significant impact on valued cultural practices or resources, allowances should be made for the development of culturally autonomous or semi-autonomous institutional structures that allow each cultural group to maintain exclusive control over that aspect of their affairs, while at the same time providing for an equitable distribution of resources necessary to sustain such institutions. For the Maori, institutional autonomy should allow for greater use of marae and tribal structures as a basis for institutional development, to facilitate a closer fit between institutional practices and cultural traditions. Examples of such structures are already evident in institutions like Te Wananga o Raukawa, Kohanga Reo centres, and the Maori Wardens Association. In many cases, what is lacking in such institutions is a level of public financial support equivalent to that provided for comparable Pakeha institutions.


While in some eyes, such a dual system of institutions nay be interpreted as "separatist" in approach, it is in fact no more separatist than the notion of the separation of church and state. It is simply a recognition of the impact that institutions can have on cultural beliefs and practices and an assertion of the over-riding need to respect and preserve cultural differences. Alternative structures for providing services to culturally diverse segments of the population do not imply racial separatism or apartheid. any more than alternative churches imply religious separatism or single-sex schools imply gender apartheid. Dual culturally-based institutions can co-exist in a democratic society, so long as participation in one or the other is a matter of choice, rather than a condition imposed by one group on the other. Just as diversity of opinion and party structure is considered quite appropriate in the political arena, so should diversity of beliefs and practices be recognised and supported in the cultural arena. To do less only gives credence to charges of institutional racism.


The relationship between Maori and Pakeha institutions in a dual system may range from the complete autonomy of separate monocultural structures (eg. the Kingitanga), to the partial autonomy of joint bi-cultural structures. Maori autonomy under a bi-cultural structure may vary from the allowance of certain cultural concessions within a Pakeha-dominated institution (eg. Ruatoki Bilingual School), to equal Maori and Pakeha divisions within a single collaborative institutional framework (eg. the Bishopric of Aotearoa). The degree of autonomy that is appropriate depends on the extent to which Maori people feel the institution is critical to their survival as a cultural group. The greater the cultural significance of the institution (as perceived by Maori people), the greater the degree of autonomy that should be available. Such cultural criteria for institutional partitioning should supercede the usual administrative, economic and various other forms of political criteria that currently lock institutional structures into highly ethnocentric modes of operation. Only when there is general agreement that a single institutional structure is capable of delivering services in such a way that both Maori and Pakeha derive equal benefits, should a single system be considered. Such conditions may exist in situations where the services and institutions in question are themselves culturally neutral, or in situations where the institutional structures have been designed to accommodate the range of cultural differences to which the services must be addressed.


In those culturally sensitive spheres of society where separate autonomous structures are necessary to preserve cultural integrity, but where differences between Maori and Pakeha perspectives must be reconciled to maintain a national social order, those differences can be resolved through the establishment of joint mediating councils with equal representation from both Maori and Pakeha perspectives. Through a system of separate Maori and Pakeha institutional structures under the mediating authority of a joint bi-cultural structure, cultural integrity can be preserved, the tyranny of majority-rule can be reduced, and cross-cultural issues can be resolved in a manner consistent with the principle of co-equal partners established under the Treaty of Waitangi. Such a two-tiered decision-making structure allows for independent institutional actions and initiatives to be carried out within each cultural group, while also providing a mechanism for initiating joint actions and resolving conflicts that arise between the groups. An example of an existing structure that reflects features of a two-tiered approach to resolving Maori/Pakeha differences is the Waitangi Tribunal. Though the tribunal lacks binding authority, its membership does reflect the balance of representation necessary to function as a mediating authority. Without equal Maori representation in decision-making processes where Maori issues are at stake, self-determination will continue to be an elusive goal.


Organisation for Diversity

Regardless of whether an institution is in Maori or Pakeha hands, there are certain institutional characteristics and practices that can enhance any institution's ability to accommodate cultural differences. Institutional characteristics and practices that can be particularly instrumental in facilitating organisational responsiveness to cultural diversity are participatory decision-making, a decentralised authority structure, a distributive communication system, and a loosely coupled organisational framework (Barnhardt, 1985). We will examine each of these briefly, in the context of Maori/Pakeha relationships.


Participatory Decision-making.


As was indicated earlier, a Maori perspective in decision-making can come about only through the presence of Maori people in the decision-making arena. To be truly responsive to Maori concerns, an institution must not only reflect an awareness of Maori cultural values and practices, but it must also convey an attitude of respect for those values and practices. This must be done in such a way that Maori people feel a sense of ownership with regard to the institution and see it as incorporating their traditions and perpetuating their interests. So long as the institutional decision-making processes are in the hands of Pakeha decision-makers (regardless of how well-intentioned), Maori people are going to feel shut out as equal participants in those institutions. But it is not enough to invite a token Maori representative to "bring a Maori perspective" to the decision-making arena, or to hire a token Maori employee to integrate the staff and appease the critics. Nor is it enough to have Maori people in professional or supervisory roles using Pakeha-style criteria to perpetuate Pakeha institutional values. Such gratuitous avenues of participation are too easily subverted by the weight of Pakeha bureaucratic machinery and do little to counteract the cultural distance between Pakeha-style Institutions and Maori people.


To develop a sense of institutional ownership, Maori people must feel they are a part of the action and are a party to decision-making from top to bottom, beginning to end. They must be on the delivery end of institutional services, not just on the receiving end. If such a transformation is to take place, institutions must adopt a participatory approach to decision-making, whereby everyone that is affected by an institution, whether as producer or consumer of institutional services, has an opportunity to influence the way the institution operates. This requires multiple avenues of access to the decision-making process, so that everyone can contribute in a manner consistent with their relationship to the institution and with their style of participation and decision-making. It also involves a horizontal distribution of power, so that all of the decision-making authority is not vested in a top-down hierarchical structure. Participatory decision-making is at the heart of any empowering process which seeks to strengthen the degree of control that people have over their lives.


Increased Maori participation in institutional decision-making can be achieved through a variety of mechanisms. These range from the establishment of affirmative action programmes that strengthen Maori presence in existing institutions, to the creation of new institutions, such as cooperatives along the lines of the Mondragon system in Spain (Johnson and Whyte, 1977), where the people sustain their cultural community through their own system of production and service institutions. Other options include contracting with Maori institutions such as Trust Boards to provide services to Maori people; establishing Maori councils or guardianships to oversee Maori interests; employing kaumatua to advise in areas of Maori cultural and spiritual significance (Mahuta, et al, 1985); and creating Maori units within existing institutions through which Maori can manage their own affairs. It is through mechanisms such as these, and any others that bring Maori people into the decision-making arenas, that Maori can begin to wield the power needed to shape their own destiny. It is not enough to be the beneficiaries of benevolent institutions. Maori people must be full and equal participants in the shaping and operation of those institutions.


Decentralised Authority Structure.


Participatory decision-making is empty rhetoric without a decentralised authority structure. In the context of building institutional respect for diversity, bigger is not better. If institutions are to be responsive to differences in cultural beliefs and practices, they must be scaled and situated in such a way that they can interact with the client community on local terms. The larger the system and the more distant the decision-making is from the clientele, the greater the demand for conformity to institutional norms, and the more difficult it is to accommodate diversity. Conversely, the closer the system is to the people being served, the fewer the bureaucratic constraints and barriers that tend to interfere with peoples access to the system, and the greater is the opportunity for diverse points of view to be heard and acted upon. The functional units of an institution must be small enough to allow for a personalised approach to services, so that local styles of communication and interaction can enter into the decision-making process, and services can be structured to fit the cultural norms of the client community.


One of the most common approaches to decentralisation is to distribute authority over certain aspects of institutional services to regional or branch offices. Such a move can be a significant step toward decentralisation, but if the local authority is still tightly controlled by a distant central office, it may achieve no more than add another layer to the institutional bureaucracy. If decentralisation is to increase participation in decision-making, it must include the establishment of local bodies to whom local or regional authorities are answerable. Whenever possible, representatives of the client community should have a direct voice in policy-making, personnel and budgetary decisions. Client participation in the selection of key personnel is especially critical, so that local considerations can be taken into account, and the persons selected will feel a sense of responsibility to the client community.


Another important consideration in institutional decentralisation is the criteria for definition of a service area. Typically, decentralised service areas are structured along the lines of established political boundaries or geographical regions. Such criteria do not always coincide with traditional Maori tribal structures. As a result they tend to interfere with, rather than enhance, Maori participation in decision making. Any attempt to establish a decentralised system that is to be sensitive to the needs of Maori people must begin with a framework that Maori people themselves use to organise their lives. For some services, this may mean a marae-oriented system. Others may require a tribally-oriented structure. Whatever approach is used, it should fit into the natural authority and decision-making structure of the community or region to be served. In those situations where institutional services are to be decentralised to better serve both Maori and Pakeha, it may be necessary to establish a dual system with different criteria for service areas for each group.


Once again, it is important to recognise that the structure of an institution is a crucial factor in determining how effectively and equitably the institution can perform its functions. A decentralised structure, scaled to fit into the cultural and organisational framework of Maori communities, will make an institution more accessible to Maori participation, and thus increase its potential to serve Maori needs.


Distributive Communication System.


A key ingredient for any kind of decentralised, participatory institutional structure to function properly is an effective communication system. If Maori people are to be active participants in economic, community or institutional development, they must have ready access to information related to the development, and they must be able to convey their own views in culturally appropriate ways. This requires a system of communication that provides multiple and diverse avenues for people to participate in. and contribute to, the development process. Institutions that are intended to serve the development needs of Maori people must encourage a free flow of information into and out of the decision-making structure of the institution. This can be accomplished through participatory committees, community meetings, newsletters and other regular publications, and various kinds of community consultancies. The important thing is that communication processes be distributed throughout the community so that everyone is well informed, and so that people can use their natural communication patterns to get their views across.


As a means to facilitate communication processes, communities and institutions may find video and computer technology a useful supplement to their communication system. With the advent of hand-held video cameras and micro-computers, the communication potential of these technologies is now available as an interactive tool for individual and community use. Locally produced video tapes can be used to convey community views to distant policy-makers, and computers can be used by communities to gain access to, compile, process, and distribute information in ways that serve local interests (Barnhardt and Barnhardt, 1983). The empowering potential of such technologies is determined by the extent to which they are scaled to local use. A large scale, centralised, top-down communication structure is of little use in furthering local participation, whereas a distributive network that links people together with one another and with the institutions serving them, can greatly enhance the quantity and quality of participation. If institutions are to be responsive to Maori interests they must establish a communication system that taps into Maori communication patterns and encourages two-way dialogue.


Loosely Coupled Organisation.


Another characteristic necessary for institutional systems to be able to respond favourably to the cultural diversity reflected in Maori issues is that the various components of the system be loosely coupled (Weick, 1976), so that the system can maintain a flexible, adaptive and open-ended posture in response to diverse demands. A rigidly structured centralised system will have considerable difficulty responding to the variations in social, cultural, economic, political, and historical circumstances that exist in Maori communities throughout the country. Along with decentralised administrative authority, it is important that there also be sufficient latitude to adapt organisational structures to the particular circumstances in each service area. It is not necessary that each regional office of a government agency adopt the same framework for the delivery of services. As long as there is general agreement on the functions to be performed and on the outcomes upon which effectiveness is to be judged, each unit should be encouraged to adapt its structure and services in response to local conditions, rather than be required to maintain a standardised bureaucratic framework. Different means can be used to achieve the same ends.


Demands for institutional uniformity arise from notions of cultural universality and bureaucratic efficiency. While such notions may be applicable to situations of cultural homogeneity, or in relation to functions of a strictly mechanical nature (e.g. the postal service), they are not well suited to situations or functions in which human behaviour is a significant variable. In such situations, it is necessary to maintain a flexible and adaptive organisational framework that can respond to a varied and changing human environment. This requires administrators who are sensitive to cultural variations in behaviour and possess a repertoire of skills for organising diverse interests and efforts so that they fuse into a coherent collective endeavour. The administrator in such a situation functions less as a bureaucrat and more as a co-ordinator, facilitator and mediator, leading by example and consensus rather than by decree.


The kind of organisational practices and the qualities of leadership required to maintain a loosely coupled structure are not unlike those exhibited in developing countries, where institution-building is an inherent function in any organisational endeavour (Kiggundu, et al, 1983). Institution-builders must understand the relationship between institutions and the clientele they serve, the relationship between individual behaviour and the social organisation in which it occurs, and the nature of cultural and institutional change processes. Rather than seeking to reduce the variables in the systems they manage, institution-builders must be able to move beyond even the maintenance of existing variables, to nurture and stimulate the development of new variables which take into account the uniqueness of each new cultural situation. They must also be able to tolerate the ambiguity that is inherent in such an open-ended, "variable-generating" approach to administration (Barnhardt, 1985). All of the characteristics outlined above with regard to the role of administrators in developing countries can also be valuable assets in any institutional role associated with Maori affairs.


Whether the task is to increase Maori participation, decentralise services, improve communication, or develop Maori-sensitive organisational structures, there is one set of skills that is paramount above all others, and that is a thorough grounding in Maori cultural beliefs and practices. Without such grounding (preferably as a practitioner), administrators are likely to lack the knowledge and credibility necessary to bridge the gap between existing institutions and Maori people, regardless of how well-intentioned they might be. So we see again the urgent need for skilled Maori administrators who can apply their talents to the development of the new kind of Maori institutions required if Maoridom is to achieve the degree of cultural and institutional independence needed to exercise Maori-style control over Maori affairs. How then, can such an institution-building task be undertaken? It is to that question that we turn for the last section of this paper.


As indicated in the opening statement, the purpose of this exercise has been to examine some of the issues surrounding the arguments for greater Maori control over their own affairs. Having identified some of the structural and cultural constraints that inhibit Maori participation in existing institutions, and having established the importance of an increased Maori presence in decision-making roles in those institutions if they are to begin to provide equitable services and benefits, we must now look at what can be done to overcome existing inadequacies.


The foremost consideration in any effort to achieve institutional parity between Maori and Pakeha is the need to develop the human resources of Maoridom, so that Maori cultural perspectives can be asserted through the actions of Maori people. If the handicap imposed on Maori by their status as a subjugated people is to be overcome, extraordinary efforts will be necessary to provide Maori access to the resources, education and experience needed to step forward on their own. This will require a wide range of new provisions and changes-some with regard to educational opportunities, and others with regard to access to resources and work opportunities. The remainder of the paper will be devoted to outlining some of the steps that need to be considered if Maori people are to become equal partners in determining the future of New Zealand.


Steps Toward Maori Self-Determination


The ideas presented here are compiled from various documents, reports and conversations that have grown out of the many hui, conferences and commissions devoted to Maori issues. Collectively, the proposed steps represent a major thrust that could go a long way toward achieving the goal of Maori self-determination addressed in this paper. The order in which they are presented is not intended to convey their relative importance.


  1. In the area of education, steps need to be taken to increase the relevance of studies at all levels to the Maori cultural world. Such relevance goes beyond the inclusion of bits and pieces of "Maori culture" in a Pakeha curriculum to a restructuring of the learning environment itself, to allow students to learn through experience in the real world-both Maori and Pakeha. Community-based, project-centered approaches to education allow students to test theory against practice and develop the kind of experience necessary to function and survive in a real-world environment. Similar relevance can also be achieved through the establishment of school-based enterprises, whereby students learn useful skills while providing a useful service to the community (Sher, 1977). Cultural relevance cannot be achieved without first increasing the presence of Maori on the teaching and administrative staff in the schools. This will require a concerted effort to attract Maori candidates to programmes that address the cultural assets Maori bring to the teaching situation. In addition, training opportunities should be extended out into the community and the school, for the benefit of aspiring Maori teachers who may not be able to leave family and home to attend a teachers' training college. This will also benefit existing teachers who may wish to improve their teaching practices with Maori pupils. Finally, new research initiatives are needed to gain a better understanding of how schooling practices can build upon and strengthen cultural differences, rather than destroy them. Collaboration with and involvement of Maori people in this research is essential
  2. At the university level, steps need to be taken to expand the opportunities for Maori to enter and pursue courses, particularly in professional areas. Initially this may require special provisions to recruit and admit Maori candidates into critical programmes, such as management studies, education, and law. In addition, the curricula of such programmes should be broadened to allow for a Maori specialisation, taking into account the special features of these professions in a Maori context. Expansion into areas of Maori interest will strengthen the programme for all students, because it provides a comparative cultural base against which to examine professional practices sometimes taken for granted as culturally universal. In more general terms, universities also need to provide a more supportive and sensitive environment to assist Maori students in gaining access to the resources that a university has to offer. This includes the provision of a greater variety of social as well as academic support programmes, preferably in cooperation with Maori people and organisations. Recognising the existing needs of all Maori students, full support and encouragement (including financial, academic and moral) should also be extended to alternative Maori academic institutions, such as Te Wananga o Raukawa. Such institutions can make a valuable contribution to higher education in New Zealand by expanding the range of academic opportunities available to students. This is particularly true with the programme of administrative studies, coupled with Maori cultural development, offered at Te Wananga o Raukawa.
  3. In addition to improved access to academic opportunities, Maori people also need greater access to employment opportunities, so they can acquire the on-the-job skills needed to move up the ladder into positions of increased decision-making responsibility. Given the history of structural discrimination that Maori have been subjected to, it is necessary to establish "affirmative action programmes" which would facilitate Maori entrance into new institutional roles and provide incentives for them to pursue career opportunities that can lead to greater influence in the power structures of New Zealand society. Affirmative action employment policies should exist in all public and private sector institutions that impact on the lives of Maori people. Likewise, any new development initiative should include a policy of "human resource development" as an explicit component to ensure that Maori people acquire the skills to contribute to and benefit from the development process. Unless such policies are in place to assist the current generation of Maori people into productive roles in the New Zealand economy, it is likely that the state of economic dependency that currently exists will continue to be passed on to the next generation. Sooner or later the downward cycle will have to be broken through some kind of restitutive action. The sooner such action is taken, the better for everyone concerned.
  4. Along with access to education and jobs, Maori people also need access to resources, particularly financial, so that they can pursue their own development initiatives and provide services in a manner consistent with Maori cultural beliefs and practices. In those service areas where existing institutions are meeting with less than satisfactory success in addressing Maori needs, consideration should be given to contracting such services to Maori institutions, as a means of providing them with the resources and the opportunity to deliver the services through their own structures. In areas such as education, social services, and employment, Maori institutions can hardly do worse than existing institutions, so opportunities should be made available for local Maori organisations to submit proposals and negotiate contracts to provide the services themselves, using their own administrative structures and employing their own staff. Success or failure will then rest in Maori hands and responsibility to find solutions to long standing problems will be borne by those most directly affected by the problems. But responsibility without resources and authority is meaningless, so some mechanism such as contracting is necessary to provide Maori institutions with the means to service their own needs and seek to overcome the deficiencies of the existing system.
  5. All of the above ideas for improving Maori opportunities to participate in the institutions that impact their lives require extensive promotion and support if they are to become any more than wishful thinking or blots of ink on a piece of paper. These and numerous other ideas for Maori self-determination have been advocated through many forums for many years, all with little noticeable change in benefits to Maori people. Too often the responses to Maori needs have fallen short of expectations because they have been directed at the symptoms of problems, rather than at their root causes. It is necessary, therefore, that some form of institutional commitment be made to ensure that Maori issues are placed in proper perspective, that proposed solutions get translated into action, and that new ideas are generated to further Maori development initiatives.


A Maori Development Service


A nationwide support structure for Maori development should be established that can assist all Maori institutions in realising their fullest potential. Such a support structure (or "Maori Development Service") should have sufficient independence and credibility to be able to freely advocate development practices and policies that address Maori needs, even though they may run counter to the vested interests of established mainstream institutions. Examples of some of the kinds of functions that such a service could perform include the following:

 - develop and document successful models for Maori development

- carry out and report on research addressing Maori issues

- establish offices in each tribal region to assist with regional development initiatives

- provide on-site training to strengthen Maori development skills and disseminate new information

- coordinate the development of other support services to assist Maori development efforts


The logical base for such a support service is in the university, where research, development and training are established functions and where issues can be examined from a relatively independent stance. In fact, the Centre for Maori Studies and Research at the University of Waikato provides a useful model around which a Maori Development Service could be built. At the moment its current functions are severely restricted by limited funds and staffing. If expanded to include regional extension centres, either in affiliation with other universities (including Te Wananga o Raukawa) and technical institutes, or through a national network of tribal resource centres, the Centre for Maori Studies and Research could greatly enhance its services and more readily extend those services to additional tribal areas. The benefits to be derived by Maori people from such services is already evident in those regions where the Centre has had an opportunity to assist local Maori institutions. The processes for assisting Maori development that have been developed by the Centre could be readily transferred to other settings through the establishment of a Maori Development Service as an expansion of the existing Centre structure. Such a service could be modeled on the "Cooperative Extension Service" of the U.S. Department of Agriculture which, through its network of university-based agricultural experimental stations and community-based county extension agents, has been one of the major contributors to the development of U.S. agriculture. No less a commitment is necessary to provide Maori people with the level of support that they need to establish themselves as full partners in New Zealand social and economic arenas.


These are but a few of the steps that could be taken to strengthen Maori presence in New Zealand society. Many other steps could and should be taken. The most important thing is to recognise that patronising or token responses to Maori issues are no longer adequate. What is needed are structural changes in New Zealand society which would lead to substantial shifts in the control of resources and institutions from Pakeha to Maori. This is not an easy transition to make and few people relinquish power willingly. Without such changes, however, the gap between Maori and Pakeha will widen beyond repair, and the legacy of benign neglect to which the above solutions are addressed will erupt into a full-scale confrontation, for which mutually acceptable solutions will no longer be possible. As unpalatable as the above ideas may appear to some, the alternatives are even more unpalatable. New Zealanders have an opportunity to maintain their posture as world leaders in the areas of human rights and race relations, and the next decade will test their resolve to do so.



1984 Asher, George
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In TU TANGATA, Vol. 18
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1984 Awatere, Donna
Auckland: Broadsheet Magazine Ltd.

1982 Barnhardt, Carol
"Athabascan Teachers and Athabascan Students"
Ray Barnhardt, ed.
Fairbanks, AK: Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, UAF

1977 Barnhardt, Ray
"Administrative Influences in Alaskan Native Education"
Ray Barnhardt, ed.
Fairbanks, AK: Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, UAF
pp. 57-63

1985 Barnhardt, Ray
"Administration Across Cultures"
Fairbanks, AK: Dept. of Rural Development, UAF

1983 Barnhardt, Ray, and Carol Barnhardt
"Chipping Away at Rural School Problems:
Alaska's Experience With Educational Technology"
In PHI DELTA KAPPAN, Vol. 65, No. 4
pp. 274-278

1978 Barnhardt, Ray, John H. Chilcott and Harry F. Wolcott, eds.
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1973 Barrington, J.M., and J.L. Ewing
"Human Problems in Administrative Change: A New Zealand Case Study"
Armidale, NSW: University of New England
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1985 Beattie, Sir David
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1984 Clark, Charlton
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In TU TANGATA, Vol. 18
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1985 Douglas, E.M.K., and John Dyall
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1984 Edgeley, L.A., and W.F. McDonald
WORKING TOGETHER: A Handbook for Managers and Supervisors in a Multi-Cultural Workforce
Wellington: Vocational Training Council

1983 England, G.W.
"Japanese and American Management: Theory Z and Beyond"
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1984 Fisher, R.J.
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1977 Graves, N. & T.D.
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1973 Harbison, .Frederick H.
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1982 Hingston, Denis "Mangere Kokiri"
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1983 Hofstede, Ceert
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1977 Johnson, Ana Gutierrez, and William Foote Whyte
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1983 Kiggundu, M.N., J.J. Jorgensen, and T. Hafsi
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A Synthesis
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1984 King, Michael, ad.
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1984 Mahuta, R., et al.
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1978 Mahuta, Robert
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1981 Mahuta, Robert
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1985 Mahuta, Robert, et al
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1982 Misa, Tapu
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1984 Murchie, Elizabeth
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1975 Nayacakalou, R.R.
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1984 Puketapu, Kara
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1978 Raureti, Moana
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1984 Reynolds, Angus
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1980 Rikys, Peter
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1985 Ritchie, J.E., and R. Mahuta
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1963 Ritchie, James
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1975 Salmond, Anne
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1977 Sher, Jonathan
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1985 Stokes, Evelyn
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1985 Walker, R.J.
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1975 Walker, R.J.I.
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1979 Walker, Rangi J.
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1985 Walker, Ranginui
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1970 Wallace, A.F.C.
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1976 Weick, Karl E.
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