NZ office builds cultural competency

Over the past three months, Inhabit’s New Zealand team has been working on their goal of building the cultural competency of team members in the Auckland office. The team has been working with Hone Hurihanganui from Engaging Well, participating in three sessions that focused on building understanding of Māori* culture (Indigenous people to New Zealand).

In the first session the team explored New Zealand’s colonial history and key policies/events that took place. They looked at the statistics around Māori which confronted their unconscious bias and the institutional racism present throughout history through to today. This led to confronting topics like considering the differences between equality and equity; and being “not racist” vs. “anti-racist”.

This section was difficult for the team especially those team members who have been subjected to racist remarks/scenarios or ‘othered’ at some point in their lives.

The second session was about Tikanga (Māori customs) as well as Te Reo Māori (The Māori language). The team learned that one of the first steps they could take on their cultural competency journey is taking the time to try and pronounce Te Reo words correctly.

The third and final session was on the 29th of May 2023. In this session the team looked at the Treaty of Waitangi and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. These are the English and Māori texts of the agreement between the Crown and Māori, and they are considered one of New Zealand’s founding documents. The team examined what each text meant, and with Hone’s help were able to point out the differences between the two texts. ​​​​​​​

This is just the start of the Auckland office’s journey in building cultural competency. The next step will be looking at creating a meaningful and authentic engagement with mana whenua (subtribe who has territorial rights of the land). The New Zealand office is on Ngāti Whātua land.

*The macron over the ā elongates the sound.