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Tikanga And Its Impact On Human Resource Management Practice – Some Signposts.

Tena koe i o tätou aitua maha e ngapu nei te whenua i to rätou hinganga. Heoi ano, e taea te aha atu i te tangi, i te maumahara ki a rätou me tä rätou i mahiai? No reira, waiho rätou ki a rätou, ko tätou ki a tätou, tena ano koe.[1]

Tikanga and its impact on Human Resource Management practice, some signposts.

Before I go any further it is important now, to tell you the reader, that this, and any subsequent articles, is not going to provide you with a prescriptive model to apply and to address what is a complex issue. It is not a dissertation for a Masters Degree, nor is it an authoritative view. It is the view of a practitioner who knows a bit about HR and a bit about tikanga, trying to put the two together for people who have to work with these issues daily.

I see my role not to answer the questions for you, but simply to bring them to your attention, in the hope that you will seek your own enlightenment in whatever manner it is appropriate for you. How you do this will also be an experience in enlightenment in itself. To paraphrase the Dhammapada, “You must walk, I can only show you the path”.

There are some things, however, that you can do which will make the journey for you a little less fraught with potholes. One is not to assume that all Mäori are alike and therefore share the same tikanga. Not only is this not true but also can be seen as offensive. Another is not to assume that one Mäori has the authority to speak for others. Some may have, and some patently do not. Choose the wrong one and you could be in serious trouble. Tread warily if you think that tikanga or “cultural advice” is simply a commodity, which you can buy from a willing seller. You may buy a counterfeit product.

One way to minimise the problems above, and others you are likely to face, is to know your community. Talk to them share their celebrations and their losses, become part of them and they will share their knowledge with you and help you avoid the many potential problems you could face in trying to deal with these issues.

Tikanga and Corporate Culture.

There has been considerable discussion about corporate culture and the part it plays in organisational development and in particular the management of an organisation’s human resources. Corporate culture is about the way things are done in the organisation and that to a large extent, even in the most egalitarian of organisations, is driven by the values of the people with the power in the organisation. That power is bestowed to the individual by the organisation and can be exercised in that environment with few constraints.

In managing the people in the enterprise how much cognisance is given to their values? How much do you know about the values, which truly matter to your employees? In particular those that drive your Mäori employees, or for that matter those of any other than those belonging to the dominant culture.

For further information on Tikanga and its impacts on HR, check out the article in full which was written for HRINZ publication by Waddy, Managing Director of Te Maru O Tangata, which specialises in providing HR services to small and burgeoning Mäori organisations for titled "Tikanga and its impact on Human Resource Management practice – Some signposts.".

HR Tool Kit:

Discrimination in Employment and Human Rights Act

Relevant Related Websites:

Ministry of Maori Development
Te Maru O Tangata
Human Rights Commission
Department of Labour


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Disclaimer: This information has been written for and submitted to HRINZ for publication and has been published in good faith for the general information of HRINZ Members of the Institute. HRINZ accepts no legal responsibility for the contents of the Knowledge Base and appropriate professional advice and assistance should be sought in particular cases.

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