EDITOR’S LETTER The Maori challenge

What does being Maori mean when it comes to best practice corporate governance? After all, the rules of good governance – like honesty, integrity and accountability – are colour blind. But are there other, culture-based aspects of being Maori, or even non-Maori for that matter, that can enhance best practice models? And why are Maori making such an effort and commitment to understanding, implementing and practising high standards of corporate governance? The Director asked Auckland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to the magazine, Mark Story, to investigate the relatively new but increasingly important issue of Maori adoption of best practice governance. What he found makes fascinating cover story, tale of rapid change and sometimes enlightened mix and match of process and culture to deliver outstanding outcomes.
With multimillion-dollar cash and asset portfolios from WaitaNgai Treaty settlements to administer, iwi and individuals have suddenly found themselves thrust into roles as directors and trustees with “clear legal and fiscal responsibilities” and with little or no experience or preparation to equip them for the task. Maori interest in governance is, therefore, driven both by the size and scope of some settlements and by “recognition of the need to develop best practice governance structures to profitably manage these newly acquired assets”.
The learning process is, however, more than just case of taking up the text books and avidly reading the case notes from seminars and conferences on the topic. Maori are learning, as they always have, from each other; from their successes and their failures. They are also taking up the challenge of adopting and adapting some seemingly rigid but rigorously applied rules to suit and meet their own particular cultural and commitment needs. Maori organisations are, as Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon told Story, making “quantum leaps” in the governance stakes by sharing information about their own experiences. But, as Solomon also points out: “We have the same compliance obligations as any mainstream business.” Maori governance is, for many, cultural challenge that is, by and large, being successfully met.
Also in this issue we publish the revealing results of comprehensive and groundbreaking survey of New Zealand director remuneration, governance issues and director attitudes undertaken by integrated human resources consultancy Sheffield and The Director. The survey also includes compelling comparisons with the state of director pay in Australia. Turn to page 12 for the details.

Visited 5 times, 1 visit(s) today

Business benefits of privacy

Privacy Week (13-17 May) is a great time to consider the importance of privacy and to help ensure you and your company have good privacy practices in place, writes Privacy

Read More »
Close Search Window