Inland Revenue is committed to meeting our Tiriti o Waitangi obligations as a government agency and partner in the Māori-Crown relationship. The approach we’re taking is called Māhutonga, a programme that weaves te Tiriti o Waitangi and te ao Māori principles, concepts and practices into everything we do.
A core component is cultural capability. We have started to build Te Arapiki, which is a stair-cased learning approach that aligns to the expectations set out for all public servants by Te Arawhiti - the Office for Māori Crown relations.
Te Arapiki will help us deliver on our aspirations for the development of our Māori cultural capabilities.
In addition, Te Mata o Te Arero (our te reo Māori language plan) seeks to actively support the revitalisation of te reo Māori and the use of it in our workplace. This plan underpins our contribution to Maihi Karauna, the Crown's Māori Language Strategy.
Māhutonga includes Mauri Ora Te Whānau, a statement of our intent to improve whānau wellbeing through taking a whānau-centred approach to our work with Māori customers.
Underpinning both Mauri Ora Te Whānau and Māhutonga is a new body of research we delivered this year, our Māori customer landscape. It represents the views of whānau, hapū and iwi. By exploring the wider context of the Māori world view and perspectives, we can better understand what’s important to our customers. The appropriate application of this understanding helps us to think differently about how we empower Māori customers in a mana-enhancing, mauri-inducing and whānau-focused way, so that they are achieving their aspirations.
The landscape is already helping to bring the perspectives of whānau, hapū and iwi into our work. Alongside Mauri Ora Te Whānau, it has helped shape the communications about this year's individual income tax automatic assessments, and is informing our policy engagement and procurement strategy. The landscape has also been the basis for joint training for Inland Revenue and Ministry of Social Development people who are involved in a pilot to improve the experience of families and whānau customers who have debt with both agencies.
Shannon Davis and Paula Mato carried out the Māori customer landscape research, working with the wider Inland Revenue whānau and externally with whānau, hapū and iwi. Shannon says, “We used kaupapa Māori concepts in our research to ensure we looked after the people interviewed (manaakitanga) and met with them face-to-face (kanohi-ki-te-kanohi). We also recognised we needed to make sure people felt culturally safe and were able to make their contributions in their own ways.”
In February 2021, the Commissioner recognised their mahi with an award for providing Inland Revenue with an important body of knowledge. They’re in our Māori Research and Evaluation Team, which is part of Inland Revenue’s Customer Insights and Evaluation group.