Principle of kāwanatanga

The word ‘kāwanatanga’ is used to describe the concept of governance.

The principle of kāwanatanga stems from Article 1 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. In the context of the University and the duties of Council under section 281 of the Education and Training Act 2020, the word ‘kāwanatanga’ is used to describe the concept of governance. It relates to the Council’s obligation to provide good governance for the University as a whole and to act reasonably and in good faith. In particular, as an expression of New Zealand’s Treaty relationship, that good governance requirement extends to all dealings with Māori people and practices, including the University’s Māori staff, students, and stakeholders.

Application of the principle of kāwanatanga

In applying the principle of kāwanatanga, the Council commits to providing sound, inclusive leadership, and setting an example of cultural responsiveness for the rest of the University’s boards and committees.

Māori representation in University governance

A key demonstration of kāwanatanga is ensuring that there is robust Māori representation at the governance level of the University at all times.

As per the Council Membership Statute section 4.1.2 (c), Council is required to appoint ‘at least 2 people who are Māori and have a recognised standing within the Māori community and among iwi networks’. This means ensuring that there are two or more Māori members on Council who are active in their Māori communities and/or iwi, and recognised for their Māori leadership and expertise. Māori members may be appointed by the Minister or by Council, or elected by staff or students, however, it is Council’s responsibility to ensure that Māori representation on Council is maintained.

The Nominations Panel, a committee of Council, is responsible for identifying and recommending potential candidates for Council membership to be appointed or reappointed. In order to ensure appropriate Māori representation on Council, a Māori representative should be included on the Nominations Panel. The Nominations Panel should also consider whether prospective Council members have an awareness of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Māori advice to Council

Te Aka Matua, a committee of Council, has the purpose in its Terms of Reference ‘to assist Council to discharge its governance responsibilities in relation to Māori’. The Committee’s membership includes both specified members of Council, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori), Māori student representatives and ‘up to two members not on Council who have strong relationships with Māori communities relevant to the University’. In demonstrating the kāwanatanga principle, Te Aka Matua will ensure that Māori representation on the Committee, as set out in the Terms of Reference, is maintained at all times, and that Council is fully informed about Māori issues and decisions.

Māori-inclusive Council meetings

Council members recognise and value the importance of Māori at the University and therefore meetings and decision-making are proactively inclusive of Māori issues, perspectives, and outcomes. This requires being open to and systematically enquiring about whether there are any Treaty and/or Māori dimensions to the matters before Council. To ensure this occurs, the Council has committed to undertaking an annual review process in relation to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Council will also seek to incorporate te reo and tikanga Māori into its meetings and Te Tiriti o Waitangi Statute will be highlighted when new members are inducted into Council, and when Council has strategic planning sessions. Both of these activities may require advice and support from its Māori membership and/or the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori).