Development of the Principles

The Policy engagement and design processes were developed to ensure that the final Policy genuinely incorporates the voices of many people and agencies involved in the social sector.

As the Policy developed it became clear that the Principles, Guidelines and related behaviours aligned with Te Ao Māori values. During the engagement and design process, and in collaboration with SWA's Chief Māori Advisor, conversations were held with various individuals and groups to determine how the Principles fitted with Te Ao Māori values and how each Principle could be best described in te reo Māori.

Māori words, or kupu, are rich in meaning and can mean many things. In the context of the Principles in this Policy the meaning of the kupu chosen to describe each Principle are described below. These kupu have been tested with a range of Māori stakeholders.

He tāngata

The use of he tāngata comes from the whakataukī (Māori proverb)

“he aha te mea nui?
Māku e kii atu, he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata” 

which translates to

“What is the most important thing in the world?
Well, let me tell you, it is people, it is people, it is people”

So, in this context, the use of he tāngata means that people — individuals, whānau and communities — are placed at the centre of everything we do and the goal of lifting them up, empowering them and improving their wellbeing is overriding in how we care for them and their information. It reminds us that when working with people’s information, it should be done in their service.


Means the process of showing respect, generosity and care for the people who use social services, their whānau and communities. It also means to show respect and care for their information and stories. Mana is the essential lifeforce within a person, place or object. In this context, caring for the people who share their information involves supporting, listening to and involving people in deciding what happens to their information. This results in empowering people and enhancing their mana.

Mana whakahaere

Means governance, authority, jurisdiction, management, mandate and power. Mana in this context refers to an individual’s power or influence, and whakahaere refers to an individual’s ability to influence or manage. To say that an individual has mana whakahaere over their data recognises the importance of their choice or say over where their data will go, who can access it, and what it can be used for.


Means to have guardianship and stewardship of the data and information entrusted by people who use social services. This is a trusted role that protects and keeps people’s stories and information safe, respects what had been shared, understands its value and enables the sharing of that information when that is appropriate. The kaitiaki (or guardian) realises that they do not own this information but keep it in trust - making it easily accessible for the person whose information it is and growing the value of the information. Growth can mean using the information to create and share insights, or returning collective, non-personal data back to the people and community it came from for their use. This type of stewardship results in benefit and wellbeing for the individual, whānau and wider communities both now and intergenerationally — protecting information and delivering value into the future.


This kupu expresses partnership, collaboration and cooperation. It refers to effectively engaging with one another and working together as equals in day to day activities. There is recognition that the value of the mahi (work) is enhanced when everyone contributes their knowledge, experience and wisdom. It is a commitment to one another and the process. When people are supported and cared for throughout the mahi, this provides and inspires valuable knowledge and insights that benefit everyone.