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Source: New Zealand Government

Today marks a milestone as the Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta co-sign an Addendum – with the Iwi Chairs of Te Rarawa, Ngāi Takoto and Te Aupōuri – to the Te Hiku o Te Ika Iwi-Crown Social Development and Wellbeing Accord (the Accord) on behalf of the Crown.

Carmel Sepuloni said after a positive start in 2013 the governance activity set out in the Accord was not maintained and momentum waned.

“This signing demonstrates the reinvigoration and evolution of the Treaty relationship with Te Hiku and our joint commitment to empowering whanau living in Te Hiku o Te Ika to lead a successful future,” she said.

Nanaia Mahuta said the Addendum to the Social Accord was an example of a living Treaty relationships with Iwi.

“The Addendum sits alongside the original Accord, revises and resets some elements and introduces new commitments. It’s designed to fit our needs for the future and recognises some clauses of the Accord were not working or were no longer relevant.”

A step in the right direction

Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust Chair, Rick Witana, said the long term agreement further aligns Te Hiku aspirations with government priorities and policies, and formalises the commitment to improve social outcomes in Te Hiku for at least the next 20 years. 

“The Iwi acknowledges the leadership and commitment of Ministers Sepuloni and Mahuta to transform the approach to addressing the social development needs of the Te Hiku region. This is a step in the right direction, a strengths based partnership. Locally led solutions supported by the strengths that agencies bring to the table in Te Hiku.” 

He said collectively, the shared goal is to improve the lives of whānau, hapū, iwi and communities of Te Hiku.

“The Accord is a great example of partnership and investment between iwi and Crown into a generation with an inter-generational view. We are tackling the challenges we face in Te Hiku and making positive changes in the lives of our people and our communities.”

A paradigm shift for working with iwi

Carmel Sepuloni added that the Accord requires a multi-agency approach to Crown-Māori relations and is based on Crown agencies working collaboratively with iwi on the co-design of solutions for whānau and communities.

“This requires a significant paradigm shift in the way iwi and Government agencies have engaged historically. Government agencies, led by the Ministry of Social Development, have been working closely with the Te Hiku Development Trust to ensure an ambitious work programme.”

As part of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund Foundational Package announced earlier this year, $8 million over two years has been earmarked to support this work programme. It will have a specific focus on delivering initiatives aimed at improving wellbeing outcomes for Te Hiku whānau, particularly in the response and recovery from COVID -19.

“I’m really encouraged by this Iwi-Crown partnership and the investment we have made as a Government to ensure that we build better communities post-COVID-19, which will also support us to honour our commitments to the Accord,” Carmel Sepuloni said.