Report offers Te Ao Māori lens on housing

Innovative Te Ao Māori measures to hold Government and the housing sector to account for housing are outlined today by Te Kāhui Tika Tangata Human Rights Commission. 

“We are suffering from a housing crisis made worse by a profound lack of accountability structures,” says Te Amokapua Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt. 

“The Commission’s inquiry into the right to a decent home has identified the need for accountability and this report, for the first time, provides options to do that through a Te Ao Māori lens,” says Hunt. 

An estimated 100,000 or more people in Aotearoa New Zealand are experiencing homelessness. It is a problem most significantly experienced by Tangata Whenua, reflecting the nation’s painful past where the colonial government, beginning in the 1860’s systematically stripped Māori of traditional land and home ownership.  

The Commission’s acting Pou Ārahi, Manawa Pomare, says the report released today explores how accountability can be strengthened, Te Tiriti o Waitangi upheld, and housing outcomes for Māori improved with a system based on tikanga Māori. 

“The report highlights a lack of effective and constructive accountability for housing by the Crown to Māori. 

“It also discusses Māori being accountable to Māori in the housing context,” says Pomare. 

Two independent researchers in collaboration with the Commission’s Tangata Whenua team led and facilitated the work.  

The report explains how the concept of Rangatiratanga (a tikanga, rules-based leadership structure) provides accountability as a collective process, with clearly identified responsibilities on rangatira, whānau, hāpu and iwi.  

Tino rangatiranga was asserted and affirmed in He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni, The Declaration of Independence 1835, and guaranteed in Article two of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  

“When Māori are accountable to Māori, through the process of tikanga Māori, this is an expression or practice of Rangatiratanga,” says Pomare. 

The report explores three possible models for an accountability structure, including a Māori housing authority, an independently appointed kāhui (cluster), and a mutual accountability system mechanism between Tangata Whenua and the Crown. Pomare hopes the report will spark further discussion about the most appropriate way to strengthen accountability in the housing system for Tangata Whenua.  

The Commission’s Housing Inquiry December 2021 report, Strengthening Accountability and Participation in the Housing System focused on accountability and public participation in kāwangatanga (government/Crown). It recognised that what works in the kāwangatanga sphere may not necessarily align with Te Ao Māori or extend to Māori spaces.  

Download the report "Housing Inquiry Discussion Paper: Understanding Accountability for Māori" here.
Download a large print version of the executive summary here.


 The report explores three possible models for an accountability structure: 

  • A Māori Housing Authority: A Māori Housing Authority is recommended as an option that potentially follows the model of the Māori Health Authority. Such a model could take responsibility for all housing for Māori, including emergency, social housing, support of CHP entities and construction. 
  • An independently appointed kāhui (cluster): an independently appointed kāhui as representatives of the Māori housing sector that reports to Parliament. 
  • A mutual accountability mechanism: a kāhui or entity independent of the Kāwana with mutual accountabilities. 

Read more about “An estimated 100,000 or more people in Aotearoa New Zealand are experiencing homelessness” here.