Relevance of the principles to youth work

There are many ways the principles of The Treaty of Waitangi can be applied in practice. Organisations and individuals all play their part to ensure that Te Tiriti is an integral part of youth work.

Organisational level

Here are some ways your organisation could apply the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in practice.


  • Consult with whānau, hapū and iwi to find out what their community's needs and wants are instead of imposing or providing what your agency thinks is best.


  • Have an equal employment opportunities (EEO) policy.

  • Have policies to make sure Māori clients are treated fairly and equitably. For example, having whānau or a support person present during important meetings, or ensuring a Māori youth worker is available if requested.

  • Make sure your agency's policies are accessible to the young people you work with and that they know their rights.

  • Have policies that support te reo and tikanga Māori. This may involve having information available in te reo Māori.

Service provision

  • Ensure Māori clients have equal access to services. For example, offering a mobile service or employing workers with good networks within the Māori community.

  • Ensure equitable access to positions for qualified Māori staff.

  • Embody Māori tikanga or values in your service. For example, manaakitanga (hospitality) by offering kai and tea or coffee to manuhiri (visitors), saying karakia before meals, and ensuring tea towels (or anything item used for preparing food) are washed separately from bath towels and clothing.


  • Ensure Māori are represented at all levels of the organisation.

  • Have a Māori cultural advisor for both Māori staff and tauiwi staff.

  • Provide professional development for all staff in tikanga, te reo Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Individual level

It's not just up to organisations to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi. As an individual, you need to ensure the principles of Te Tiriti are part of your own youth work practice.

Relationships with tangata whenua

  • Develop and maintain a relationship with your young people's whānau.

  • Learn about the protocols of the mana whenua (local people).

  • Participate in professional development about tikanga, te reo Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Relationships with tauiwi

  • Respect the beliefs of the young people you work with.

  • Be active in fighting discrimination. Teach the young people you work with about Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Service delivery

  • Work in partnership with young people with the aim of empowering them.

  • Consult with whānau and work in partnership with whānau and the community to support young people.

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Last modified: Wednesday, 22 April 2015, 2:58 PM