Kia Whakapiri Mai: Bridging the home and away divide to enhance engagement

Project commenced:

This NPM Platform Project is building an understanding on how to build stronger, more connected iwi, through enhancing engagement with Māori governance entities.

In Phase 1 of the research, we are exploring the approaches used by Māori governance entities to ask: how do Māori governance entities engage members regardless of where they’re living?

In Phase 2, we then narrow the focus to one tribal governance entity, providing a demographic profile of the iwi based on both census and iwi register data to determine: what are the characteristics of registered and unregistered iwi affiliates?

Results from both these phases then inform the next stage, in which we are co-constructing an engagement strategy with a tribal entity to determine: how can tribal governance entities improve engagement with tribal affiliates, wherever they may live?

Colonial processes such as war and land confiscation, coupled with the dramatic 20th Century movement of Māori people from rural to urban locations, have severed the connection of many Māori to their tribal homelands, and broken down traditional social support networks.

Contemporary Māori governance entities are tasked with representing, supporting, and distributing resources to their members. However, these members may be disengaged, and live a great distance from entity headquarters. Current demographic trends show that the emptying of the regions in favour of the major urban centres will continue, prompting the question: how can contemporary Māori governance entities curb the legacy of colonialism and strengthen engagement with all their members, regardless of where they’re living?

In this platform project we are exploring, through qualitative interviews, how Māori governance entities engage with their affiliates. We are then partnering with one tribal governance entity and developing an in-depth demographic profile of the iwi they serve, based on census and iwi register data, to determine the extent of the entity’s engagement with tribal affiliates. Finall we are surveying the members of our partner tribal governance entity to co-construct an engagement strategy tailored to the entity.

Our approach prioritises building and maintaining meaningful relationships with the communities our research focuses on. The outputs of this research will benefit our partner iwi by meeting their informational needs, informing their strategic planning, and enhancing their ability to engage their members.

We recognise that the issues facing Māori governance entities in engaging their members are not new, and neither are they easily solved. Therefore, this research will be used as a platform to extend our networks with stakeholders, build a knowledge base, and develop further research projects in this area.