Critical Tiriti Analysis of He Mata whāriki, he matawhānui

Review into the Future of Local Government in Aotearoa


  • Heather Came Auckland University of Technology
  • Hana Wilkinson Te Whatu Ora
  • Grant Berghan Berghan and Associates
  • Leanne Manson Pharmac



Hapū are interested in local government due to their decision-making influence over the cultural, social, economic and environmental wellbeing of a district that can enable or restrict tino rangatiratanga. In Aotearoa, the debate about Indigenous engagement in local government is shaped by Te Tiriti o Waitangi responsibilities to protect and promote the interests of hapū. There is currently a major review of local government underway, which is providing a once-in- a-generation opportunity to have a courageous conversation about the future of this sector. This paper presents a Critical Tiriti Analysis (CTA) examining to what extent He mata whāriki, he matawhānui–the local government draft review report–has engaged with te Tiriti. It includes a postscript on the final report released while this paper was under review. In the draft report we found variable engagement. It was strongest regarding relationships and governance and weaker in relation to tino rangatiratanga, ōritetanga (equitable citizenship) and wairuatanga (spiritual domain). This review challenges local and regional government to lift their game in relation to their te Tiriti responsibilities and concludes that local Māori solutions, mātauranga Māori knowledge and leadership are required at all levels of local and regional government. National states of emergency and devastating disasters in the context of Cyclone Gabrielle will no longer wait for the bureaucracy of the local government.

Author Biographies

Heather Came, Auckland University of Technology

Dr Heather Came is a seventh generation Pākehā New Zealander with a background in public health and social justice activism. She currently runs a racial justice consultancy–Heather Came and Associates. She is an Adjunct Professor at Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University.

Hana Wilkinson, Te Whatu Ora

Hana Wilkinson–Taranaki te Maunga, Hangatahua te Awa, Taranaki Iwi, Ngā Mahanga Hapū, Tihei Mauri ora e! Hana has experience working within the health system both at the individual healthcare level and at the population health and wellbeing level.

Grant Berghan, Berghan and Associates

Grant Berghan Ngāpuhi, Ngātiwai and Te Rarawa Iwi. He is an experienced senior executive with a passion for Māori development. He co-facilitates Māori Leadership Programmes, in conjunction with Tania Hodges representing

Leanne Manson, Pharmac

Leanne Manson–Parapara te Maunga, Pariwhakaoho te Awa, Ngāti Tama ki te Tauihu, Te Ātiawa ngā iwi, Tihei Mauri ora e! Leanne has extensive health sector experience across clinical nursing settings, Māori health policy, Māori health equity advisory and professional policy roles. Leanne currently works as the Pou Tohu Mātāmua, Principal Advisor in the Māori Directorate at Te Pātaka Whaioranga Pharmac based in Wellington.




How to Cite

Came, H. A., Wilkinson, H., Berghan, G., & Manson, L. (2024). Critical Tiriti Analysis of He Mata whāriki, he matawhānui: Review into the Future of Local Government in Aotearoa. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 20(1), 27–45.