A new policy is providing Napier City Council officers with the tools and opportunities to participate and learn te reo Māori and tikanga Māori.
The Te Reo Māori me ōna Tikanga Policy was adopted by Napier City Council earlier this month. It guides the way Council and mana whenua work together for the good of community, Council staff and the city.
Mayor, Kirsten Wise said Council has explored ways to further strengthen relationships with mana whenua and tangata whenua since the establishment of Te Waka Rangapū (Māori Partnership) in 2021.
“This policy represents another step towards partnership. We can set an example for others by championing and supporting the use of te reo Māori across work, home and in public spaces,” the Mayor said.
Building cultural capability is important, said Council Chief Executive, Louise Miller.
“Greater understanding of te ao Māori – Māori world view – and te reo Māori provides more opportunities for meaningful discussions, and the potential to enhance the projects we work on together,” she said.
An increase in understanding and knowledge enrichs everyone, says Council kaumatua Piri Prentice, who has played a significant role in the policy’s development.
“New Zealand Aotearoa is founded on an agreement that continues today as a pact of partnership between Māori and Pākehā. It is an agreement that established our continuing links with the Crown; an agreement which continues to act as a national symbol of unity and understanding between cultures. Toi Te Kupu, Toi Te Whenua, Toi Te Mana. Knowledge is the word, Knowledge is the land, Knowledge gives dignity.”
The policy has four supporting principles: kotahitanga (unity), atawhai (kindness), manaaki (caring), and ako (learning). It is supported by an action plan setting out ways the policy will be implemented, over the next three years, internally and externally.
Council is supporting the Crown’s efforts towards revitalising te reo Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand and, as part of the nation-wide commitment, will join the Reorua Rautaki.
Some actions already in place at Council include morning karakia each working day, karakia at the start and end of hui, kapa haka, staff inductions, tikanga sessions, karakia/blessings for projects/facilities, and the inclusion of te reo Māori in Council signage and public communications.