Waitangi Day is a day to reflect on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Aotearoa’s history, and the developments that have been made, as well as the progress that still needs to be done. But this year there’s more to reflect on with the government’s proposed bill that aims to introduce three principles to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
At Buckettlaw we are exploring how the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi can be integrated into employment law and how we can support and assist employers in fostering a work environment that incorporates the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. These principles can help employers and employees to work together in a way that respects and values the cultural diversity and aspirations of Māori workers, employers and communities. By incorporating tikanga Māori, or Māori customary values and practices, into the workplace, employers can also create a more inclusive and harmonious work environment.
Tikanga Māori is the traditional Māori way of doing things, which reflects values such as manaakitanga (hospitality), whanaungatanga (relationships) and kaitiakitanga (stewardship). Tikanga Māori can also offer insights on how to handle issues such as bullying, discrimination, redundancy and dismissal in a fair and respectful manner.
One way that employers can implement tikanga Māori is by acknowledging the significance of whakapapa (genealogy), whanaungatanga (relationships) and mana (prestige) in Māori culture. These concepts can help resolve workplace conflicts, enhance employee engagement and retention, and foster a positive organisational culture. For instance, employers can honour whakapapa by recognising the identity and heritage of their Māori employees, whanaungatanga by building trust and cooperation among staff, and mana by empowering and supporting their workers to achieve their potential.
The Treaty of Waitangi affirms the importance of respecting the cultural values and aspirations of Māori workers, employers and communities. It also recognises the need for Māori participation and representation in decision-making processes that affect their employment opportunities and outcomes. The Treaty principles can help employers and employees to understand and fulfil their duties and responsibilities towards each other, as well as to uphold the dignity and mana of Māori in the workplace.
The Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi is not only a historical document, but also a living one that guides the relationship between Māori and Pākehā in Aotearoa New Zealand.By embracing the Treaty principles and applying Tikanga Māori in the workplace, employers and employees can foster a more positive, inclusive and effective work culture that benefits everyone.
We hope that everyone has a relaxing Waitangi Day and enjoys the celebrations that are occurring throughout Aotearoa.
Image Credit: Waitangi Museum