Rūnanga structures in workplaces and Māori enterprise delegates

Māori hold a unique place in New Zealand society as tāngata whenua (indigenous people) with a special status conferred by the nation’s founding document, Te Tiriti ō Waitangi. Te Tiriti ō Waitangi is recognised by the PSA (Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi) through Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina– the national body representing the interests of Māori members.

All PSA members who identify as Māori are part of Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

In recognition of this, the PSA has created the position of Māori enterprise delegate in each enterprise, who may be supported by a rūnanga structure in larger organisations.

Every enterprise delegate committee must provide a position for a Māori enterprise delegate (see Māori Enterprise Delegate Guide)to sit as a member on the enterprise delegate committee, where one is elected. This means that the role is created, even though it may not be filled. In other words, it is up to Māori within that enterprise to decide whether there is a Māori enterprise delegate.

The rules state that the role of the Māori enterprise delegate is to represent the interests of Māori members within the enterprise and to provide a point of connection with the wider representative structures within Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina.

The election of a Māori enterprise delegate should be conducted at the same time as election for other delegates, if at all possible, and may be conducted in an alternative manner, if necessary. Voting is open to members within an enterprise who have identified as Māori on their membership form. More guidance on the role and election of a Māori enterprise delegate can be found in the Māori Enterprise Delegate Guide.

Structures may be established to represent Māori members within an enterprise at levels below the enterprise delegate committee. This will usually be in large enterprises where the general delegate structures exist across several workplaces and/or regions. The structures should allow for rūnanga delegates at all appropriate points in order to reflect the general delegate structures. These are known as rūnanga delegate structures, although they may have a name appropriate to the enterprise. Delegates elected within these structures are know as rūnanga delegates. Rūnanga delegates are workplace delegates with a primary focus on the representation of Māori members on Māori issues in the workplace, who ultimately get to vote for a Māori enterprise delegate.

This means that, for example, where there are regional delegate structures in a large public service department there can be Māori delegates, elected by Māori members, at a local level (perhaps in each workplace) who would between them elect a Māori regional delegate to the regional committee. The Māori regional delegates would elect one of their number to the National Delegate Committee.

For more information on the rūnanga delegate structures and rūnanga delegates, refer to the Māori Enterprise Delegate Guide.