Māori engagement in infrastructure

Mā te rongo, ka mōhio; Mā te mōhio, ka mārama; Mā te mārama, ka mātau; Mā te mātau, ka ora.


From listening comes knowledge; from knowledge comes understanding; from understanding comes wisdom; from wisdom comes well-being.

About this work

Te Waihanga is undertaking research on Māori engagement in infrastructure.

We are exploring how government infrastructure providers and Māori engage, and work, with each other on the planning and development of infrastructure. Our research will consider the full range of engagement - not just consultation but also collaboration, co-design, and empowerment.

We are also looking at how Māori engage in infrastructure more broadly. As part of this, we will draw on research relating to Māori businesses and individuals in the infrastructure sector and explore the extent of Māori ownership of and investment in infrastructure.

We aim to produce a report on our findings in early 2024.

Why are we doing this research?

As more infrastructure is planned, and the roles for Māori in planning and development processes increase, there are likely to be greater demands on Māori groups’ time and resources. From our research, we hope to better understand what is working, and what’s not, when Māori and infrastructure providers engage on infrastructure. We also want to ask both Māori and infrastructure providers what in practice they need for future engagement to be effective. Our aim is to gather information that can help improve our infrastructure system for both Māori and infrastructure providers.

Te Arawhiti ǀ the Office for Māori Crown Relations advises that effective engagement is critical to producing better quality outcomes for both Māori and government. Proper engagement also means that Te Tiriti of Waitangi obligations are honoured. 

There is also information available in a variety of places about Māori involvement in infrastructure more generally, whether as owners of or investors in infrastructure assets or as participants in infrastructure planning, design, and construction. Our work will help provide a greater overview of Māori involvement in the sector.  

Our work will also seek to:

  • acknowledge, and increase awareness of, the history of Māori experiences of New Zealand infrastructure planning and development
  • provide a source of information on the processes government infrastructure providers use, or are required to follow, to inform Māori groups’ choices about how and when they engage on the planning and development of infrastructure.

The need for this research was identified in Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa, the New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy. The Strategy also made recommendations for strengthening partnerships with, and opportunities for, Māori. These will be considered following completion of this research and the State of Play work will also inform the development of the next New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy.

How are we doing this research?

We’ll be talking to infrastructure providers as well as Māori organisations and groups, as well as reviewing existing research and information that is relevant to these issues.

We will also access available information about Māori involvement in the sector.

Te Ao Māori Perspectives Advisory Group members

To provide support and guidance for this work we have convened a te ao Māori Advisory Group.

The members of the project te ao Māori perspectives Advisory Group (and their current work roles) are:

  • Amos Kamo (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga) – Director Policy & Performance Te Kurutao, Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities
  • Dr Rebecca (Becky) Kiddle (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) – Director, Te Manawahoukura, Centre of Rangahou Excellence, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa
  • Dane Grey (Ngāti Whātua) – Senior Development Manager (Large Scale Projects), Urban Development – Delivery, Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities
  • Elva Conroy (Tapuika, Tuhourangi and Ngāi Tahu) – Director, Conroy and Donald Consultants Limited
  • Teresa Poli (Ngāi Tūhoe) - Senior Consultant, Sustainability and Resilience, Aurecon.

The Advisory Group members are sharing their experience and knowledge with us. They are not in the Group as representatives of their iwi/hapū or as representatives of the organisations they currently work for.

Banner image: The Nga Awa Purua geothermal power station, co-owned by Mercury Energy and the Tauhara North No. 2 Trust