Kia ora e hoa mā, anei tā mātou karere hōu, pānui mai!
Hello friends, here's our latest blog, happy reading!
Over the last year the team at Aro has become more active in the cultural responsibility space. So we thought we’d share some of the excitement with you! In this piece we’ll introduce you to our friend and te ao Māori mentor - Nathan from Riki Consultancy, his thoughts on cultural responsibility in the workplace and how the team here at Aro are working towards a better te ao Māori workplace together.
In this blog we dive into:
👉 A Bit About Riki Consultancy
👉 Cultural Responsibility
👉 Culturally Responsible Marketing
About Riki Consultancy 🌊
The Origin Story
Nathan and Janelle are a brother-sister duo from Whaingaroa, Raglan. They work with a passion to reshape and grow the way Kiwis integrate Te Ao Māori in the workplace. Specialising in cultural capability advisory and professional development across education, corporate and public sectors.
What Inspired Riki Consultancy?
Over the last 10 years Nathan and Janelle noticed the increase in demand for Te Ao Māori education. Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori and Te Ao Māori practices, slowly became more mainstream - evident in more mainstream media exposure (eg. social media, the music industry, mainstream media). Nathan commented that they noticed the government had started moving towards prioritising Te Ao Māori integration as a requirement in the public sector. All of these factors meant they had a strong foundation to start building the Riki consultancy legacy.
Considering themselves a mouthpiece for all Māori, the duo are dedicated to paving the way for the next generation to thrive as Māori. How? By creating spaces where Māori are able to thrive and non-Māori can become cultural allies through thorough Te Tiriti O Waitangi and the Te Ao Māori education. So with a rich background in education and a passion to effect real change, they launched Riki Consultancy in 2021.
Cultural Responsibility 🤝
What Is It and What Does It Look like?
Nathan believes that the disconnect between Māori and non-Māori stems from a lack of true understanding. “True change stems from authentic intentions,” but to hold these intentions, people need a strong and in depth understanding of Māori culture and history. Cultural responsibility isn’t about making Māori culture your own - but rather, to understand it so you’re equipped to support Māori to thrive as Māori without cultural limitations.
What This Means For You & Me:
There’s a lot of hesitancy around the right way to start the journey. For most, it doesn’t come from a place of unwillingness to try, it's the fear of getting it wrong and offending someone.
So we sat down and had a chat with Nathan about his advice for non-Māori wanting to move towards cultural responsibility:
👉 Tokenism is a necessary step to change. Much like dating - it’s awkward, you’ll feel out of your depth, and you’ll suffer through awkward moments. But you won’t find success unless you keep putting yourself out there.
So take that online course, persist through the vowel sounds until you nail it. You’re on the right track.
👉 Keep Māori voices involved with whatever Māori mahi you’re involved with. We can all honour Te Tiriti O Waitangi by acknowledging and being an advocate for Māori to be part of the conversation.
Re-writing your company values? Get people like Nathan & Janelle involved. Producing Māori artwork? Chat with a Māori artist first.
👉 Get comfortable being uncomfortable. There will be pushback. You will be criticised and you will feel pretty lame sometimes. But resilience is the only path to progress. One day both Māori and non-Māori will live in a world where resilience in this space isn’t a necessity - but for now, strap on your boots because you’re gonna need ‘em.
Culturally Responsible Marketing 🤳🏽
How We've Been Getting Involved
Nathan's advice for marketers wanting to ally their mahi with Te Ao Māori is to make sure that Māori are woven into the process from conception to delivery. “If Māori are the primary audience, can they see themselves in your content? Do they hear it? Do they feel Māori values, or te mana Māori?.” Practise honourable governance by asking yourself “are the people we’re targeting, involved in the process?”
So, What’s Aro Doing?
As a company we have a long way to go before we can move in this space with confidence. So we’re taking it step by step, and getting the ball rolling in a few different ways!
👉 Te Reo Sessions
We have the privilege of having regular team Te Reo Māori lessons with Nathan. He teaches us Te Reo that we can integrate into our everyday interactions. The team is learning to craft and present our mihi, learning karakia (prayers), whakatauki (proverbs) and about traditional formalities.
👉 Health & Safety Policy
We’ve recently reshaped our health & safety policy to align with the Hauora framework. Meaning that the company now officially supports the team's wellbeing through a Te Ao Māori lens. Making sure we’re all looked after from a mental, physical, social and emotional perspective.
👉 Refreshing Our Values
We worked with Nathan to refresh our company values and align them with Te Ao Māori. Our four key pillars are:
● Mana Whānau: a focus on authentic relationships.
● Mana Tiaki: a focus on nurturing the individual's emotional well-being.
● Mana Maui: Combining tenacity with creativity - much like Maui broke rules to create awesome and practical solutions, so we strive to carry this spirit into our mahi.
● Mana Ōrite: Treating all people with respect & creating equitable outcomes for all.
👉 Getting Google Onboard
Up until recently, Te Reo Māori wasn’t an official language on google. Meaning that we couldn’t run any google ads with Te Reo Māori, so there was room for improvement in the authenticity and relatability space. We raised this issue with Google and pushed to get it established as an official language. Seeing it happen was super exciting for the team. Since this change, we’ve seen an increase in CTR (click-through rate) on ads that have Te Reo Māori in them.
Having Nathan in our corner to help inform our client mahi and internal policies has made us all more confident that we’re down the right path.
Wrapping Up 🎬
Feeling inspired to get started on your journey, or even take it that step further? If you’re a business looking to get your organisation involved, check out the Riki consultancy website and get in touch with their team.
In the meantime here are some lightweight resources you can get stuck into and improve your Te Reo:
Developed by Auckland University of technology.
Kōrerorero meaning conversations, is an interactive learning tool developed to teach te reo Māori through listening, repetition and learning vocabulary and phrases that can be easily introduced into real life situations.
Brought to you by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
Increase your knowledge of te ao Māori (the Māori world)? With a mixture of Māori and English, the Taringa podcast is the perfect way to learn te reo and tikanga Māori in a fun and relaxed way.
Developed by Hamilton based company, Game Kings.
Tākaro is incredibly simple yet entertaining and fun for the whole whānau. Learn to confidently recall symbols and their corresponding Te Reo Māori translations, helping to expand your vocabulary. The game contains English reference sheets for translation but you won’t be using them for long!
The Aro Team.
"Mehemea ka moemoeā ahau ko ahau anake, mehemea ka moemoeā a tātou, ka taea tātou."
"If I dream, I dream alone. If we dream as a collective, we can achieve our dream."
Got any questions, comments or thoughts? Drop us a line - we’d love to hear from you!