Video transcript: Four initiatives supporting improved outcomes for Māori

Transcript for a video about our report on four initiatives designed to support improved outcomes for Māori.

Title: Four initiatives supporting improved outcomes for Māori

Kate Williams (Senior Performance Auditor):

The public sector has an important role in supporting a successful and effective relationship between Māori and the Crown and contributing to improved outcomes for Māori.

We wanted to understand how public organisations are using funding that has been committed specifically to support improved outcomes for Māori, and what has been achieved as a result.

We looked at four initiatives that aim to support improved outcomes for Māori, and which have received new or increased funding in recent years.

The initiatives we looked at were:

  • He Poutama Rangatahi, which is administered by the Ministry of Social Development;
  • the Māori Agribusiness Extension Programme, which is administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries;
  • and two initiatives administered by the Ministry of Education:
    • Te Ahu o te reo Māori; and
    • Whānau Engagement.

Overall we found that the funding was spent as intended and there are elements of good practice that could be applied more widely in the public sector.

All four initiatives are based on the idea that Māori know what works best for Māori. In practice, this has included supporting iwi, Māori landowners, and service providers to design and implement each initiative in a way that suits local communities and their needs.

One thing that was done well was the strength of relationships between the public organisations and Māori involved in each initiative, and which was based on a strong sense of mutual trust.

However, building effective and enduring relationships takes time. Public organisations should make sure they factor this time into their planning.

Public organisations have relied on staff with local knowledge and connections to build and strengthen relationships with Māori. Many of these staff are Māori and can face additional pressures compared to their non-Māori colleagues. It is important that public organisations acknowledge these pressures and engage with their Māori staff to understand how best to support them. This might include employing dedicated staff to take on responsibilities, such as leading tikanga.

Engaging with public organisations can also put pressure on iwi and service providers who often have limited capacity. Public organisations can help to reduce the burden on iwi and service providers by improving co-ordination across their different areas of work aimed at supporting improved outcomes for Māori, to ensure that efforts are well aligned, and reduce duplication.

Although we saw much that is encouraging, and heard anecdotally that all four initiatives have made a positive difference, we did not see this adequately reflected in reporting.

This concern is not unique to these initiatives and the Auditor-General has written extensively about his concerns that reporting on new initiatives is not currently adequate in providing Parliament and the public with the information needed to hold the Government to account for the spending of public money.

We encourage all public organisations to consider and apply the findings of this audit to the work they are doing to support improved outcomes for Māori. In particular, we would like to see all public organisations building effective relationships so that iwi and Māori have better experiences with other Government initiatives.

Title: Read our report at

Watch the original video.