National | Ministry of Māori Development

TPK set for strategic and leadership reset

Te Puni Kōkiri is set for a strategic and leadership reset. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta wants the organisation to focus more on its core role in promoting Māori wellbeing and ensuring public sector agencies are effective for Māori.

Mahuta says, "It just enables us to work in today's context where TPK doesn't have to be everything to everyone.  We can be strategic, we can have impact, we can say what works and that's an exciting space."

The minister wants the agency to exert greater leadership and influence in the public sector system.

"The reason why we're doing this is because [of] the ambition of the government around addressing inequality, poverty and inequity.  The time is right for Te Puni Kōkiri to be more strategic in the policy it leads in terms of what works for Māori and what improves wellbeing outcomes."

Functions undertaken by Te Puni Kōkiri have increased over time but staff numbers had not and resources were stretched.

Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive Michelle Hippolite says, "Less is more to some extent, work on fewer things that will have direct impact and then work alongside Te Arawhiti to lift the capability and performance to the rest of the state sector."

The shift will coincide with a leadership change, with Hippolite stepping down this month.

"I hope they will build on what we've done," she says, "There is a lot of discipline that has to be brought to make sure they stick to the nitty {gritty] because the agency and the leaders can be pulled apart quite a bit in order to do different things."

Mahuta says, "Other government departments are going to have to build their capability, what I hope that doesn't mean for Te Puni Kōkiri is we lose a whole lot of people because they'll be pinched off Te Puni Kōkiri."