NEW ZEALAND | Chief Ombudsman hosts Māori King

New Zealand has a substantial indigenous population, the Māori people. The Ombudsman in New Zealand has been conscious that Māori have not always been well-served by the State and that there have been periods in New Zealand’s post-European history of unfairness and unreasonableness towards Māori.

One of the most important leaders in Māoridom is Kīngi (King) Tūheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII Maori, who heads one of the most influential Māori movements called the Kīngitanga (the King Movement).

The establishment of a relationship of trust and respect with the Kīngitanga has been one of the fundamental goals of the New Zealand Ombudsman.

Recently New Zealand’s Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier was honoured to host Kīngi Tūheitia and his wife Te Makau Ariki Atawhai at his office in Wellington.

Kingi Tūheitia is the seventh monarch of the Kīngitanga, which was established in 1858 to unite Māori tribes under the leadership of Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, an iwi leader in the Waikato region and the first Māori King.

In his welcoming address, Mr Boshier described the visit by the couple as another milestone in the relationship between his office and the Kīngitanga.

The relationship was first forged three years ago when Mr Boshier was invited by Kīngi Tūheitia to Turangawaewae Marae in Waikato.

Since then, the Ombudsman and the Kiingitanga have worked closely together.

“It’s an opportunity for the Chief Ombudsman to engage directly with Māori, improve our cultural capability as an office and raise awareness of our mahi (work),” Mr Boshier says.

An example of the strong relationship is the highly successful Kīngitanga student internship programme.

“It started with our very first Kīngitanga intern three years ago and has expanded to include general university students and this year, an intern from the disability community,” Mr Boshier says.

The Kīngitanga partnership has resulted in a programme that’s both diverse and inclusive.

In 2022, the Kīngitanga’s chief of staff Ngira Simmonds accepted an invitation to sit on Pūhara Mana Tangata, Mr Boshier’s panel of eminent Māori advisors.


Source: The National Ombudsman New Zealand

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