Part 2: The initiatives we looked at

Four initiatives supporting improved outcomes for Māori.

In this Part, we describe the four initiatives that we looked at:

To select the initiatives, we looked at Budget data and Government announcements about new initiatives and funding from the last few years. From this information, we identified significant investments targeted at supporting improved outcomes for Māori. We looked for examples that targeted a mix of social and economic outcomes, sectors, and lead agencies, as well as addressing different domains from the Living Standards Framework.1

All of the initiatives we selected are significant in terms of the issues they are addressing and the potential impact they could have. However, these initiatives are small compared to the overall funding of the Votes they are part of and so might typically receive less Parliamentary scrutiny (such as through select committee examination in Annual Review and Estimates hearings) compared with areas of much higher funding.

We discuss the quality of performance measures and reporting in Part 5.

He Poutama Rangatahi

He Poutama Rangatahi is aimed at supporting rangatahi (young people) aged between 15 and 24 who are most at risk of long-term unemployment. He Poutama Rangatahi provides funding for community organisations to run programmes to support those rangatahi into employment or onto a pathway towards employment. Each programme is different but typically includes a combination of practical, cultural, and employment skills and knowledge alongside wrap-around pastoral care. Many of the programmes support young people to get qualifications such as first aid certificates and driver licenses.

He Poutama Rangatahi was designed specifically for young people, and especially rangatahi Māori, who are at high risk of long-term unemployment, who have more complex needs, and for whom other interventions have not been successful. One feature that differentiates He Poutama Rangatahi from other initiatives is the wrap-around support to help rangatahi overcome the barriers that make other interventions less successful for them. For example, if someone finds it difficult to apply for jobs because they do not have any formal identity documents, providers can help them get the documents they need.

He Poutama Rangatahi started in 2018 as a pilot programme in four regions where there were both large numbers of rangatahi not in education, employment, or training and a local workforce that would not be enough to support potential economic growth. The initiative later expanded to urban areas and is now available across the country.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment set up He Poutama Rangatahi and it was administered initially by Kānoa (previously called the Provincial Development Unit). A budget totalling about $40 million over three years came from the Ministry and from the Provincial Growth Fund.

The Government allocated a further $121 million of funding over four years from 2020/21 to 2023/24 as part of the Budget 2020 Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund so that He Poutama Rangatahi could continue in the regions and accelerate its establishment in urban areas. He Poutama Rangatahi now has an ongoing annual budget of $34.5 million, including $1.5 million for administrative costs.

In July 2021, the Government transferred He Poutama Rangatahi to the Ministry of Social Development, along with two other skills and employment initiatives: the Māori Trades and Training Fund and Jobs and Skills Hubs. This was to support a more co-ordinated delivery of employment and work readiness programmes.

We have not seen a statement of the overall intended outcomes or outputs for He Poutama Rangatahi. However, the rationale for He Poutama Rangatahi is clearly understood to be about reducing youth unemployment and supporting rangatahi into employment or training (we discuss this in Part 3). The Cabinet paper to establish the initiative notes intended outcomes such as improving employment opportunities for rangatahi and contributing towards wider social outcomes, like increased standards of living.

Budget 2021 introduced a new performance measure that further clarified the purpose of He Poutama Rangatahi. This measure, which was also included in Budget 2022, set a minimum target of 2000 rangatahi being supported into education, training, or employment pathways each year.

The Māori Agribusiness Extension Programme

The Māori Agribusiness Extension2 Programme (MABx) was set up to support the owners of Māori land and agribusinesses to realise their aspirations for their land. MABx provides funding to help groups of owners of Māori land come together to build capability, explore possibilities to work together, and improve the productivity and/or sustainability of their combined land. The groups of owners are referred to as "clusters". The funding pays for facilitators, co-ordinators, and expert advisors to guide and inform each cluster.

Māori land ownership is complex and some land blocks can have hundreds of owners. Māori land has its own legislation (Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993) and its own rules about ownership and governance. This can make decision-making about Māori land more complex than other land. MABx was set up to accommodate those complexities.

Māori landowners come to MABx with ideas and aspirations. These will be different for each cluster based on what they already know and the types of land use they are interested in.

The Ministry for Primary Industries categorises clusters as either "phase one" or "phase two". Phase one clusters are at an early discussion phase, exploring their options and whether they want to work together and, if they decide to, developing a work programme for phase two. Phase two clusters have a clear idea about land use that they want to progress and they explore in detail what the project requires, make decisions on options, and start to implement decisions. Phase one clusters take about 6-12 months to develop a work programme. Phase two clusters take about three years to complete the work funded by MABx.

The Ministry for Primary Industries' Māori Agribusiness Directorate has responsibility for MABx. The directorate is part of the Agriculture and Investment Services business unit.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has clearly defined the short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes it is seeking to achieve through MABx (see Figure 1). Outcomes include individual clusters achieving what they had set out to do through to increased Māori employment in agribusiness ventures.

Figure 1
Intended outcomes for the Māori Agribusiness Extension Programme

Short-term outcomes Medium-term outcomes Long-term outcomes
Māori Agribusiness Extension Programme (MABx) participants are more ready to make decisions about land use and opportunities.

Growth in relationships that support clusters to make informed decisions about their land use.

Growth in cluster capability and capacity including:
  • participant comfort they are contributing to, and learning from, MABx; and
  • ability to work together beyond the programme.

MABx participants have access to information and advice on how best to address sustainability and environmental issues when considering land use.

Māori landowners view the MABx approach as a vehicle for achieving their aspirations.
Cluster participants are achieving their aspirations.

Clusters are implementing decisions about land use and opportunities.

Clusters/Māori agribusiness are sharing knowledge and resources on an ongoing basis.

Clusters are actively maintaining useful networks.

Māori-owned land involved in MABx is more productive and diversified.

Māori landowners involved in MABx employ more paid staff.

Clusters have made a positive impact on the well-being of participants and others who work on the whenua.

Māori agribusinesses are trialling or adopting sustainable land use practices.
Māori land is more productive, diversified, and sustainable.

More Māori are employed by Māori land ventures.

Māori own more agribusiness [brands/ventures].

Māori land ventures are more resilient to changing environmental conditions.

Source: Ministry for Primary Industries.

In its project initiation document, the Ministry for Primary Industries explains how MABx supports the Ministry's broader strategic priorities and the Government's priorities for Budget 2019. It also explains how MABx supports the outcomes sought by its two funding sources: the Productive and Sustainable Land Use fund and the Fit for a Better World action plan (which includes the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund).

MABx was allocated $12 million as part of the Sustainable Land Use package in Budget 2019. In 2021, the Ministry for Primary Industries allocated an additional $10 million to MABx from its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures funding. In 2022, the Government allocated a further $10.6 million over four years to expand MABx. The Government expects the Ministry for Primary Industries to set up a minimum of six new clusters each year with this funding.

Te Ahu o te Reo Māori

Te Ahu o te Reo Māori means the future pathway of te reo Māori. The Ministry of Education describes this initiative as "a pathway that seeks to inspire and aspire for improved te reo Māori proficiency, acquisition, and use across the education sector". It also provides opportunities for te reo Māori to be normalised and Māori identity and culture to be shared and embraced.

The Ministry of Education has contracted language training providers to deliver Te Ahu o te Reo Māori to teachers and support staff from schools and early childhood centres.3 It intends to increase the use of te reo Māori in schools and early childhood centres for all learners, improving the educational outcomes for ākonga Māori (Māori learners) by enabling their education to reflect their identity, culture, and language. The training has a local focus and is available at seven levels – from complete beginners to fluent speakers.

The overall intended outcome for Te Ahu o te Reo Māori is to grow and strengthen an education workforce that can bring te reo Māori back into the learning of all ākonga. The Ministry of Education has also set out some of the things participants are expected to be able to do after completing the training (these are shown in Figure 2). Outcomes include pronouncing students' names correctly and integrating Māori words and phrases into everyday teaching activities.

Figure 2
Intended outcomes for Te Ahu o te Reo Māori

Outcomes Accelerate use of te reo Māori teaching and learning in general-stream, te reo Māori and Māori medium.

Improve kaiako and teacher te reo Māori proficiency and acquisition.

Create an education system that acknowledges, appreciates and respects te reo Māori.

Contribute to a system change that values and prioritises te reo Māori in education.
The step change expected over time Normalisation of te reo Māori usage at school and home.

Increase in the quality of te reo Māori used by teachers and students.

Increase in ākonga uptake of te reo Māori learning at school and in the community.

Increase in workforce accessing te reo Māori professional learning development opportunities.

An attitude shift in the wider education community that te reo Māori is recognised as being for everyone.

Critical awareness of te reo Māori is raised.
In general-stream schools The workforce will confidently:
  • pronounce children's names and Māori place names correctly;
  • use simple greetings and acknowledgements to children every day;
  • recite simple karakia and teach simple waiata and know what they mean;
  • integrate Māori words/phrases into curriculum activities;
  • understand and appropriately use te reo Māori; and
  • promote te reo Māori.
In Te Reo Māori & Māori Medium schools The workforce will confidently:
  • speak, write, and teach quality te reo Māori using local dialect language and references;
  • communicate with ease and spontaneity using a good command of grammar, vocabulary, and idiomatic language; and
  • champion, drive, and influence revitalisation strategies and standards in the wider educational community.
School / Home / Community Ākonga using te reo Māori more every day at school, home and in the community.

Workforce is using te reo Māori more naturally with each other in their everyday interactions.

Whānau hearing their tamariki and the workforce using te reo Māori with each other more regularly.

Source: Ministry of Education.

The project brief for Te Ahu o te Reo Māori shows how this initiative supports higher-level outcomes, and in particular the outcomes associated with Maihi Karauna (the Crown's Strategy for Māori Language Revitalisation 2019-2023), Tau Mai Te Reo (the Māori language in Education Strategy), and Ka Hikitia – Ka Hāpaitia | The Māori Education Strategy.

Funding of about $12.5 million over four years was allocated for Te Ahu o te Reo Māori in Budget 2018. The Government then decided to expand Te Ahu o te Reo Māori nationwide and in 2020 allocated $108.3 million over four years as part of its Supporting Māori Learners and Te Reo Māori Post COVID-19 initiative from its Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Te Ahu o te Reo Māori has been extended to run until 2030.

The Ministry of Education is expected to enrol 10,000 teachers and support staff in Te Ahu o te Reo Māori each year. In its first year, this number was reduced to 7000 because it took longer than expected to get started. The Ministry advised us that this was largely due to the impact of Covid-19.

Whānau Engagement

Whānau Engagement was also part of the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund initiative for Supporting Māori Learners and Te Reo Māori Post COVID-19. It was set up in response to reports that during the first lockdown some whānau had become disconnected or isolated from the education services their children were enrolled with.

The Ministry of Education's internal guidance document for using the Whānau Engagement fund sets out four goals for this initiative:

  • Māori learners and whānau are aware of the range and scale of education and well-being services that are available to them (including skills training and employment pathways) and know how to request them.
  • Māori learners and whānau are supported to re-engage with local education services and access education and well-being support.
  • Local education services are prompted and supported to engage Māori learners and whānau and provide high-quality services to them.
  • There is a trouble-shooting facility in place if Māori learners and whānau are not able to access services and entitlements that they seek.

These goals are also included in the individual funding agreements with iwi.

The Ministry of Education received about $31 million over four years to support iwi to help Māori learners and their whānau reconnect with education services. This funding has been used to fund new advisors based in the Ministry's regional offices and funding for iwi to work with whānau.4 Performance measures and expectations are set locally with each iwi.

Each region has used the funding in different ways. The iwi involved have also taken different approaches, but all have the same overriding objectives about Māori learners and whānau being aware of, and engaging with, education and well-being services, and prompting local education services to engage with Māori learners and whānau.

Examples of what different iwi are doing include working directly with individual ākonga (learners) and whānau who are experiencing a specific barrier to engaging with education, contracting a service provider to work with disengaged ākonga, and carrying out research to better understand the barriers preventing whānau from engaging with education services.

1: The Treasury (2021), Living Standards Framework, at

2: In an agricultural context, the term extension does not have a fixed definition but refers to approaches aimed at increasing land productivity by improving and sharing the knowledge of farmers and landowners.

3: Te Ahu o te Reo Māori is open to teachers and other staff from both general stream (English medium) and Māori medium schools and early childhood centres, including kura kaupapa Māori, wharekura (secondary schools), ōhanga reo, and puna kōhungahunga (whānau-led playgroups).

4: The Ministry of Education allocated an additional $20 million to support Māori educational organisations to provide facilitation and brokerage services.