Story: Ngā rōpū – Māori organisations

Page 6. Government, tribal and economic organisations

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Treaty of Waitangi

The outcome of Waitangi Tribunal reports, legal challenges based around the Treaty of Waitangi and treaty settlements has been the establishment of a number of Māori-focused organisations, both governmental and non-governmental. The Waitangi Tribunal was set up in 1975 to investigate and make recommendations to the government on grievances for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. From 1985 the tribunal was empowered to look at historical breaches.

The Crown Forestry Rental Trust was set up as part of an agreement between the Crown and Māori, and for a number of years funded claims for those who had forests within their rohe (district). A significant amount of the money held by the trust was returned in 2008 to a number of iwi in a deal known as ‘treelords’. Te Ohu Kaimoana had come about as part of a treaty fisheries deal which included a purchase of a share in seafood company Sealord in 1992.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Maori Language Commission) is a government agency established in 1987 after the Waitangi Tribunal found for the claimants that te reo (the Māori language) was a taonga (treasure) which government had an obligation to protect under the Treaty of Waitangi. Te Taura Whiri is required to aid the growth and maintenance of te reo, which was made an official language of New Zealand in 1987.

Broadcasting organisations

Also at the interface between government and iwi are Māori organisations that deliver culturally relevant health, education, radio and television services on behalf of the government.

One outcome of the Waitangi Tribunal’s te reo Māori report was broadcasting opportunities for te reo.

Between 1989 and 1994, 21 iwi radio stations were set up throughout New Zealand. They were brought together by the Iwi Radio Network.

Māori Television began broadcasting in 2004. It offers programmes in te reo Māori and English and approximately 70% of the material is locally produced. A related channel, Te Reo, with programmes entirely in Māori began broadcasting in 2008. Māori Television was officially renamed Whakaata Māpri in 2022.

Urban authorities

Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust in West Auckland, founded in 1984, is one of a number of multi-tribal organisations known as urban Māori authorities. Others include the Manukau Urban Māori Authority in South Auckland, Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa Trust in Hamilton, Te Rūnanganui o Te Ūpoko o Te Ika in Wellington and Te Rūnanga o Ngā Maata Waka in Christchurch. These organisations play an important role in social and economic issues affecting urban Māori. They deliver education, health, employment training and other social services.


Māori interests in land are largely held in ahuwhenua trusts and Māori incorporations. A number of the larger incorporations have asset bases of tens of millions of dollars. Settlements to tribal groups saw tribal organisations controlling significant assets. In 2014 Tainui Group Holdings had $1.1 billion dollars in assets while Ngāi Tahu holdings were $1.35 billion in 2015. A number of Māori business organisations are represented by the Federation of Māori Authorities, FOMA.

How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Ngā rōpū – Māori organisations - Government, tribal and economic organisations', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 May 2024)

Story by Basil Keane, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017