One of the most important aspects of working with Te Tiriti is making sure that anything we do is genuine and not just for show. To ensure this, employers and staff need a good understanding of what Te Tiriti is and means, so that they can work out how it applies to them. To gain this understanding, they may need to do some background reading before they start.
I’m a first generation Pakeha New Zealander and while I’m certainly no expert in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, I think it’s integral to living and working in Aotearoa New Zealand. Learning more about Te Ao Māori has deepened my appreciation of—and love for—this country and has increased my understanding of contemporary issues of justice and equity in our country. In short, I think Te Tiriti o Waitangi is really important both personally and professionally. So how can you learn more about it?
If you’re still studying at Victoria University there are a number of courses you could take to learn more about Te Tiriti, you could start by looking at the School of Māori Studies. On campus you could engage with Te Waka Herenga Marae and Ngai Tauira, the Māori students’ association.
If you’re in the workforce, ask to see your organisation’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi Policy or, if you work in a larger organisation, you may have a team dedicated to incorporating Te Tiriti into your organisation’s work so connecting with them would be a good idea. When I worked at the City Council I formed a close working relationship with the Treaty Relations Team which helped deepen my understanding of the organisation’s commitment to Te Tiriti and enabled greater collaboration on projects because I had a personal connection with the team. With the Treaty Relations Team’s encouragement I also joined the organisation’s Kapa Haka group which was a great way to learn more about Te Ao Māori in a fun, supportive environment.
Other options to deepen your understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, te Reo and tikanga include:
- Learn Te Reo Māori: Te Wananga o Aotearoa offer free courses, or you could connect with your local Te Ataarangi branch or Continuing Education
- Do some reading and research: I’ve found Michael King’s Penguin History of New Zealand a great way to learn more about the history of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. You could also check out New Zealand History’s information about Te Tiriti or Waitangi
- View Te Tiriti o Waitangi at Archives New Zealand: The original nine sheets of Te Tiriti o Waitangi are stored at Archives New Zealand and available for public viewing at various times of the year.
 Mana Mahi Resource: Workplace Wellbeing Guide 6: Working with Te Tiriti o Waitangi https://manamahi.wordpress.com/mana-mahi-resource/workplace-wellbeing-guide-6-working-with-te-tiriti-o-waitangi/