Records Toolkit

Archives New Zealand’s guidance on information and records management

Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi settlements – What this means for Māori and government recordkeeping

Posted by Archives New Zealand on 30 April 2018

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Treaty of Waitangi (TOW) Principles 

Many public offices will already be aware and have an understanding of the TOW principles and their application in relation to their respective agencies, Acts, roles and responsibilities.

One purpose of the Public Records Act 2005 (PRA) is to encourage the spirit of partnership and goodwill envisaged by the signing of the TOW as provided for in Section 7 of the Act.

For Māori, iwi and hapū the main concerns around public records are the care and management, access and use, development and revitalisation of Māori knowledge and information (taonga tuku iho) that is held at Archives New Zealand. 

Over a long period of time, Māori/iwi/hapū from throughout New Zealand have accessed the public records in Archives NZ for their research of evidence for their Treaty of Waitangi claims. 

Treaty of Waitangi Settlements

Since 2008, access to taonga tuku iho within government records has become an important part of cultural redress with settlements. Supporting Treaty settlements is an example of TOW principles in practice.  

‘Letters of Commitment’, which are an example of the formal agreements used, are one way Archives New Zealand, in conjunction with other culture and heritage agencies, work with iwi, hapū, and Māori to care and manage, use, develop, revitalise and access their respective taonga tuku iho or government records as it is commonly referred to. 

The formal agreements are consistent with the partnership principle underlying Te Tiriti o Waitangi and are the basis for an ongoing relationship that facilitates the care and management, use, development, revitalisation and access to taonga tuku iho of the respective iwi, hapū and whānau.

How do Treaty of Waitangi Settlements (Treaty settlements) impact on government recordkeeping?

Treaty settlements are consistent with the PRA, in that Māori are concerned with the preservation, access and use of government records. Taonga tuku iho are a good example of records of cultural and long term value. 

Once the formal agreements are in place, Archives NZ will negotiate an agreed work plan based on the iwi’s aspirations. Aspirations vary from iwi to iwi and examples include access to their taonga tuku iho, revitalisation of te reo Māori, revitalisation of an iwi specific dialect, building a purpose built facility to house their taonga, access to taonga held in the various agencies collections, training and intern programmes. 

To date, the focus has been on public records that are already in our collection. More recently though, it has become apparent that we need to communicate with public agencies about the impact that the Treaty of Waitangi settlements have on government recordkeeping. We will have more information about what this means for organisations in a future blog. This will follow on from this blog and will explore Māori metadata and how to care for your records and information in the context of Māori principles.  

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