Kaupapa Principles & Policies

Establish principles, policies, standards and processes to create an overarching framework to uphold kaupapa values.


Using principles to set the overarching framework is a way to interpret the traditions, vision and values of the organisation as they apply to commercialism.

The purpose of setting out kaupapa principles is to puts the onus on the asset managers to proactively apply the principles to all aspects of commercial operations. Done well the principles should provide direction to the asset managers yet allow enough flexibility for them to employ their skills and expertise.

Iwi and Māori organisations tend to be very proficient at articulating principles and values. Perhaps the main challenge in this context is that it involves exploring how tradition applies to new and evolving circumstances and then forging a consensus amongst members.

Principles will be specific to each iwi/organisation as expressions of that collective’s traditions, visions and values. As such, the ideas below are suggestions to help with each organisation’s exploration of the appropriate principles:


The objective of the principles should be to provide an overarching direction for commercial decision making. They should reflect the traditions, vision, values and priorities that members want to see in the commercial ventures of the organisation.


It may be worth convening hui and working groups to discuss and explore the rules throughout their development. Some organisations may wish to consider a kaumatua group to provide advice on the application of the tikanga and kawa of that iwi/hapū.

Content of Principles

The principles can be framed in a broad and high level way to promote understanding and a sense of affinity between the asset managers and tribal traditions, visions and values.

Status of Standards

The standards should be adopted by the tribal governing board so that they become a binding instrument. The instrument might be the investment policy or organisations may wish to create a separate instrument that solely articulates the tikanga/kawa of that collective.

Articulating principles on a case by case basis may be undesirable as it can decrease the certainty that asset managers need to make effective commercial decisions.

Commercial Implications

Asset managers will be responsible for identifying how to give effect to the principles in their commercial decision making, yet will have the flexibility and discretion to interpret the principles and apply them to each circumstance (unless there are additional targets set).

Examples of Principles

Whakapapa – commercial endeavour has always been central to the identity of [iwi/hapū/ organisation name]. Our traditions of commercialism include [insert Iwi/hapū specific kōrero tāwhito pertaining to trade and commercialism]

Rangatiratanga – contemporary commercialism is a vehicle for regenerating the social, cultural, environmental, political and economic dimensions of the iwi/hapū/organisation. Our commercial pursuits should both be consistent with our kawa and tikanga as well as contribute to the expression of our inherent rangatiratanga.

Whenua – our ancestral landscape is fundamental to our identity as a people. Commercial ventures should contribute to strengthening the visibility of the relationship between people and place.

Mana whenua – mana whenua and the inherent tino rangatiratanga of our people is held by ngā hapū who have maintained the ahi kaa and identity of our people over generations. Commercial ventures should recognise the inherent status and authority of ngā hapū.

Kaitiakitanga – the health of the landscape is inextricably connected to the health of the people, commercial ventures shall therefore maintain the highest standards of environmental stewardship possible.

Te Ira Tangata – the people are the essence of the Iwi. Commercial ventures should therefore seek to enhance the lived reality of our people through job creation for tribal members and through investing in ventures that contribute to the wellbeing of our people.

A complementary set of principles that organisations may wish to explore include:

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Distilling the Declaration into a set of principles to guide commercial decision making could be a way to affirm the legitimacy and relevance of the instruments.

Investment Screening Standards – No Go Areas

Screening standards are rules that ensure the commercial operations don’t do things that are inconsistent with tribal values.

Guidance for developing screening standards include:


The purpose of the rules is to identify the types of investments that are inconsistent with the traditions, vision and values of the Iwi/organisation. They exist primarily to state unacceptable to the Iwi/organisation.


It may be worth convening hui and working groups to discuss and explore the rules throughout their development. Some organisations may wish to consider a kaumatua group to provide advice on what is and what is not consistent with the tikanga and kawa of the iwi/hapū.

Content of Standards

Standards should be explicit and unambiguous.
The standards need to be specific so asset managers, who will come and go over time, can understand what is and what is not acceptable.

Status of Standards

The standards should be adopted by the tribal governing board so that they become a binding instrument across the organisation. The most relevant instrument is likely to be the investment policy or framework. It is also possible to create the standards on a case by case basis through specific resolutions of the governing board.

Examples of Investment Screening Standards

The following are some suggested clauses that could be included in an investment policy.

Please note, these are just suggested exemplars and every organisation will have their own unique values and priorities they wish to give effect to.

Kaupapa Investment Policy

The [name of entity] shall refrain from investments and active businesses that are inconsistent with the traditions, vision and values of [iwi/hapū/collective name] as set out below and confirmed by [name of board] from time to time:

  • Kaitiakitanga – the [name of entity] shall refrain from investments that have the following environmental affects:
    • Materially contribute to water quality falling below [mahinga kai or other] standards
    • Materially affects indigenous species that are endangered or of concern status
    • Materially decreases the coverage of indigenous forests
    • Are inconsistent with an Iwi Management Plan or other environmental management instrument developed by the iwi or hapū
  • Rangatiratanga – the [name of entity] shall refrain from investments that:
    • Are within the rohe of hapū until the hapū has confirmed that the development/ business venture is acceptable
    • Are in the rohe of another Iwi until it has been ascertained that the land does not contain wāhi tapū
  • Iwitanga – the [name of entity] shall refrain from investments that:
    • Materially affect the accessibility of materials necessary for cultural identity (e.g. raranga, rongoa etc)
  • Te Ira Tangata – the [name of entity] shall refrain from investments and divestments that:
    • Have a high probability of resulting in increasing tribal members unemployment rates
    • Directly support the tobacco, gambling, armaments or liquor industries
  • Other areas that organisations may wish to explore forming policies on include:
    • Genetic modification

International Frameworks

There are a range of Socially Responsible Investment frameworks and organisations that have information and comparable standards that organisations may find useful. These include:

New Zealand

  • Council for Socially Responsible Investment – which promotes sustainable investment and assists investors seeking to pursue socially responsible investment. It is also committed to establishing benchmarks and guidelines by which investors can ensure their funds reach destinations where there is (already) ethical and sustainable corporate behaviour. The Council has identified a number New Zealand SRI funds and overseas investment funds. More information can be found at www.csri.org.nz


  • Social Investment Forum (SIF) – is the US membership association for socially responsible and sustainable investing. SIF and its members advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. SIF has an extensive amount of information and resources about socially responsible investing, including helpful starter information for individual and corporate investors. More information can be found at www.socialinvest.org
  • Global Impact Investing Network – is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of ‘impact investing’, i.e. solving social or environmental challenges while generating financial profit. The organisation has produced some helpful research, such as SRI investment across asset classes. More information can be found at www.thegiin.org


  • FTSE4good Index – the FTSE4Good Index Series has been designed to measure the performance of companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards, and to facilitate investment in those companies. It can be used for research, benchmarking and investment. More information can be found at www.ftse.com/Indices/FTSE4Good_Index_Series/

Process Policies and Practices

Process is important. In Te Aō Māori, good things can readily end up on the scrap heap if the process hasn’t been adequate. Some ideas that could help with the process of upholding kaupapa include:

Hapū Consent and Consultation

Creating clear rules around whether, and if so when, hapū consent is required for particular developments, could help members view ventures as kaupapa consistent. The threshold for when consent is required could be set high or low depending on the type of venture. For example, land development that would require a cultural impact assessment under the RMA or tourism ventures that incorporate traditional knowledge could automatically require hapū consent. The grounds for different thresholds could be connected to the effect of the venture on fundamental aspects of iwi/hapū identity.

Other Iwi Consent and Arrangements

Similar consultation and consent standards could be applied to ventures in the rohe of another Iwi. Organisations could also consider developing a mana whenua protocol that contains standards about how they will respect the rangatiratanga of other Iwi.

For example:

  • Automatically offering a partnership to mana whenua,
  • a dedicated profit share going to mana whenua irrespective of whether they are partners in the venture,
  • creating a right of first refusal/buy in mechanism for mana whenua and the like.

Due Diligence Practices

Due diligence processes on the commercial operations of potential acquisitions and partnerships could be complemented with detailed assessments against kaupapa standards.

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