He hōnore, he korōria, maungarongo ki te whenua, he whakaaro pai ki ngā tangata katoa.  Pai Mārire.

I have been grateful to meet with many of you as I have travelled around the country. 

Your experiences, thoughts, ideas and questions have been really helpful in understanding the types of changes that will assist your organisation to move forward.  Our meetings have highlighted the extent of the responsibilities you undertake in our communities across the motu.

What I have learnt is that Māori Wardens operate in a very different context than when you were first established through the Māori Social and Economic Advancement Act 1945.  Communities now have different needs for support from Māori Wardens, and in recent years, there has been an increasing desire by many Māori Wardens groups to have greater independence over your day-to-day functions and governance.

As I have advised my Cabinet colleagues, I intend to report back in mid-2019 on the outcomes of my discussions with Māori Wardens, the New Zealand Māori Council, and other key stakeholders, with a plan to move forward.

I have taken on board the range of issues considered by the Joint Advisory Group (JAG), and feedback from discussions with the New Zealand Māori Council and Māori Wardens groups to progress the next phase of engagement.

I now want us to have more detailed discussions to identify specific changes that may be required to modernise the governance and operations of Māori Wardens, and to assist your consideration of potential options.  I want to encourage your participation and engagement in this process throughout 2019.  You will see greater use of Te Puni Kōkiri’s website and a dedicated Māori Wardens Facebook page for sharing and updating information.  This will support regional workshops aligned with Rātana, Waitangi and Te Matatini events in early 2019, and further engagement hui around the motu during March, April and May 2019.

I look forward to working with you to determine a future where Māori Wardens are able to sustainably undertake your responsibilities now and in the years ahead.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister for Māori Development