Valuing our indigenous heritage to support cultural awareness and shape a more inclusive future

Valuing our indigenous heritage to support cultural awareness and shape a more inclusive future

PwC New Zealand’s Te Māramatanga programme recognises and honours their indigenous heritage to build awareness and foster inclusion.

Te Māramatanga Programme

Cultural competence – the willingness and ability to understand, appreciate and interact with people from other cultures or belief systems – has never been more important.

The benefits of a culturally competent workplace are clear. Decades of research shows that inclusive cultures can have a hugely positive effect on team productivity, impacting a company’s bottom line and retention rates. Meanwhile, a lack of cultural competency in the workplace can lead to miscommunication, conflict and stunted productivity.

PwC New Zealand is cultivating a workplace environment rooted in cultural competency, starting with its Te Māramatanga: Building Your Te Ao Māori (Māori Worldview) Knowledge Base programme. The interactive programme, run by PwC’s Manukura Māori business team, aspires to build and expand awareness of the Māori worldview by providing a snapshot of cultural values, customs, stories, language and the Māori economy. By boosting knowledge of Māori culture, PwC New Zealand is building stronger connections and relationships with Māori clients, employees and communities.

The Māori, the indigenous people of mainland Aotearoa (New Zealand), make up nearly 17 percent of the national population and are expected to make up one-sixth of the labour market by 2038.1

Valuing our indigenous heritage to support cultural awareness and shape a more inclusive future


“We operate under the principle of being a relationship builder, a connector and an interpreter that bridges the gap between te ao Māori (the Māori world) and the conventional corporate world and government institutions.”

Manukura Māori teamPwC New Zealand

By embracing and building knowledge of the Māori culture in a way that respects and honours it, PwC New Zealand aims to strengthen the firm's cultural competence and support internal operating practices to foster a more inclusive environment. The firm is committed to increasing its Māori representation to be more reflective of society and clients and prioritising that its people feel culturally confident. Through the Te Māramatanga programme, PwC New Zealand is helping its people to broaden their perspectives with value-based training, which includes connecting people to Māori values and beliefs.

The results

Te Māramatanga was created for the firm’s people, by its people, four years ago. So far, two thirds of PwC New Zealand’s 1,200 partners and staff have completed this voluntary programme. With the programme running for two hours a week over four consecutive weeks, it’s a commitment of almost 7,000 combined hours dedicated to learning more about the Māori Worldview. The firm has also increased its Māori people representation with six Māori partners and 80+ Manukura team members (4.1%) nationally, and looks forward to continuing to increase this representation.

The programme has been so well received that there’s been high demand for further learning — and PwC New Zealand has answered that call. As a result, the firm has created a stage two programme, Te Ohonga (The Awakening), which it launched in 2021. The Te Ohonga programme highlights PwC New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to building understanding and awareness of its nation's indigenous people, their culture and their history. This programme is designed to provide a deeper awareness of the nation’s indigenous Māori ahurea (culture) and involves a guided journey through which Māori people recount some of their hītori (history), their pūrākau (stories) and wawata (aspirations). The objective is to ‘awaken’ the programme’s participants within a safe space. The programme is a ten-and-a-half hour time commitment over a six week time period and over 90 participants have taken part so far.

Unconscious biases and exclusion can derail good decision making. Cultivating a culturally competent workforce means employees can better collaborate across boundaries to leverage their differences as strengths. Embedding this kind of empathy and inclusive respect into the workplace not only builds pathways for employees to feel valued, but it also transforms organisations and inspires people to carry those same attributes into their own homes and communities — all while recognising and honouring the history and heritage of a geography.
 

Programme testimonials

“Thank you for such an amazing and enlightening course, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire course! I thought it was well derived and split across the four modules. The positivity the facilitator brought to the course really pulled everything together and it was my favourite part of my weeks in June.”

Associate, PwC New Zealand, Te Māramatanga programme

“Everyone should do this, I didn’t want it to end…”

Partner, PwC New Zealand, Te Māramatanga programme

“Thank you for the fantastic course - it was eye opening and fun! The facilitators do such an awesome job of engaging and creating an environment where people can have a go. I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to do this course.”

Director, PwC New Zealand, Te Ohanga programme




[1] Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa, INGIA (accessed 13 Dec 2022: https://iwgia.org/en/aotearoa-new-zealand/4685-iw-2022-aotearoa-new-zealand.html)

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Lynn Rossouw

Lynn Rossouw

Director, Global Inclusion and Diversity

Aoife Flood

Aoife Flood

Senior Manager, Global Inclusion and Diversity, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Giselle Kolkoto

Giselle Kolkoto

Senior Manager, Global Inclusion and Diversity

Bradley Deckert

Bradley Deckert

Manager, Global Inclusion and Diversity, PwC US

Tuneet Bahi

Tuneet Bahi

Manager, Global Inclusion and Diversity, PwC United Kingdom

Simrita Kaur-Bhogal

Simrita Kaur-Bhogal

Manager, Global Diversity and Inclusion, PwC United Kingdom

Nishant Shardhanand

Nishant Shardhanand

Senior Associate, Global Inclusion and Diversity

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