Academic journal article Social Policy Journal of New Zealand

Co-Production in a Maori Context

Academic journal article Social Policy Journal of New Zealand

Co-Production in a Maori Context

Article excerpt


In June 2006 six iwi and Maori authorities were engaged by Te Puni Kokiri to participate in a trial to develop an understanding of coproduction (joint development of policy and service delivery to realise shared strategic outcomes) in a Maori context. Co-production reflects a new approach, which is neither prescriptive nor intervention based, but is a shared outcomes method in which relationships are strengthened through redundant planning and action for joint outcomes. It is expected to become a way of working with iwi and Maori authorities to enable them to be influential in, if not the co-architects of, the design of policies and programmes that concern their people and their own resources. Te Puni Kokiri considers co-production has the potential to become a successful way in which iwi and Maori authorities and government joint ventures can accelerate Maori development aspirations. It is also an opportunity for co-production partners to engage in developing new Maori policy. Despite this, undertaking co-production has been, and is likely to continue to be, far more challenging in practice than thinking about it as a concept (Martin and Boaz 2000).


In recent years the New Zealand landscape of government--community relationships has changed significantly from a contract-only environment to one that encourages citizen participation and involvement in government activities. Te Puni Kokiri's co-production project has emerged from within this environment, primarily from what we have learned from the experiences and evaluations of our past policies and programmes. These have shown that better results are likely when government and Maori organisations are able to jointly plan and build strategies, infrastructure and capability.

It is this agency's challenge to provide quality advice to government on Maori issues and at the same time support Maori to realise their potential. This project aligns with Te Puni Kokiri's approach to Maori development, the Maori Potential Approach (MPA) (3). The MPA aims, by engaging in positive opportunities for interaction between iwi and Maori and government over the long term, to achieve the shared strategic outcome of Maori succeeding as Maori. The MPA is a strengths-based philosophy as opposed to a deficit or problem-centred model.

Te Puni Kokiri's ultimate aim is to better place Maori to build and leverage their collective resources, knowledge, skills and leadership capability to improve their overall life quality. The concept of co-production aligns with the guiding principles of the MPA in that it:

* affirms Maori as a diverse, aspirational people with a distinctive culture and value system

* recognises the Maori community and their indigenous culture as a net contributor to the identity, wellbeing and enrichment of wider society

* affirms the capability, initiative and aspiration of Maori to make choices for themselves.

In addition to the MPA principles, the core assumptions of the co-production project are that:

* it is a catalyst for Maori potential

* iwi and Maori authorities are the primary interface and are best placed for working with whanau

* iwi and Maori authorities of sufficient capability and capacity are the most appropriate organisations to engage with government in a strategic capacity to achieve best outcomes for Maori.


Co-production is more than a "bottom up" community development model and does not aim simply to promote community planning and user-focused services. It involves a more active role for iwi and Maori authorities in designing and delivering local services, as well as providing the opportunity to influence the policy process by working with government to invest in shared outcomes for Maori.

Because little was known of what co-production in a Maori context involves, Te Puni KOkiri has engaged in a multi-year trial in conjunction with six iwi and Maori authorities to test this approach. …

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