Maori constitutoion

The Report of Matiki Mai Aotearoa: Independent Working Group on Constitutional Transformation is a must read for 2016!

The Terms of Reference sought advice on types of constitutionalism that is based upon He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti.

To develop and implement a model for an inclusive Constitution for Aotearoa based on tikanga and kawa, He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Tireni of 1835, Te Tiriti o Waitangi of 1840, and other indigenous human rights instruments which enjoy a wide degree of international recognition”. The Terms of Reference did not ask the Working Group to consider such questions as “How might the Treaty fit within the current Westminster constitutional system” but rather required it to seek advice on a different type of constitutionalism that is based upon He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti. For that reason this Report uses the term “constitutional transformation” rather than “constitutional change.

Extensive consultation across the country was undertaken between 2012-2015 and included 252 hui, written submissions, organised focus groups and one-to-one interviews.

This process got to the heart of some complex (historical) issues, and the outcome is a rich document of viewpoints translated by the Working Group into ‘constitutional possibilities‘ to incorporate Rangatirirantanga and Kawanantanga‘.

The Working Group sets out 6 indicative models for further consultation (p8) and 7 recommendations (p9).

To its credit, Matiki Mai Aotearoa is about achieving constitutional transformation to brings together both Maori and Pakeha worldviews and will be seen as a significant work for a long time to come.

The other kaupapa underlying the suggested indicative models is that Te Tiriti envisaged the continuing exercise of rangatiratanga while granting a place for kāwanatanga. It provided for what the Waitangi Tribunal recently described as “different spheres of influence” which allowed for both the independent exercise of rangatiratanga and kāwanatanga and the expectation that there would also be an interdependent sphere where they might make joint decisions.


We call those spheres of influence the “rangatiratanga sphere”, where Māori make decisions for Māori and the “kāwanatanga sphere” where the Crown will make decisions for its people. The sphere where they will work together as equals we call the “relational sphere” because it is where the Tiriti relationship will operate. It is the sphere where a conciliatory and consensual democracy would be most needed.


The report is well written and makes an easy read. So add this one to your reading list for the year, sit back and enjoy!