Beyond Puao-Te-Ata-Tu: Realising the promise of a new day

Scholars at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga call for a 1988 report to be our blueprint for how we begin to restructure our country in the wake of Covid-19.

Written more than three decades ago by Māori for the Department of Social Welfare, Puao-Te-Ata-Tu: Realising the Promise of a New Day recognised that the issues facing Māori resulted from failing systems of state provision underpinned by a broader context of colonisation, racism, and structural inequity.

Amohia Boulton (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngai te Rangi, Ngāti Pukenga), Michelle Levy (Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Mahuta) and Lynley Cvitanovic (Ngāti Pākehā) write that our whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori community responses to COVID-19 brought to life what Puao-Te-Ata-Tu so clearly articulated. Those responses demonstrated the vast potential that lies within Māori communities, when adequately resourced, to successfully meet the challenges of modern life.

During 2018–2019 several government-initiated reviews and inquiries focused on issues of critical importance for Aotearoa New Zealand.  Without exception, these reviews identified profoundly failing state sector systems particularly for Māori, stressing an urgent need for bold transformational change.

This sixth Te Arotahi paper from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence returns to the key messages in Puao-Te-Ata-Tu and concludes just as that report did more than 30 years ago, without those in positions of power and influence actively working to eliminate the institutional racism pervading our state institutions, the system will not transform.

Amohia Boulton, Michelle Levy, Lynley Cvitanovic