From the CE: Key messages from grantmaking and Te Tiriti o Waitangi workshops

August 10, 2017

I took away a couple of key messages from PNZ’s grantmaking and Te Tiriti o Waitangi workshops this week. The first was about finding strength-based approaches in an area so often dominated by deficit, negative statistics and blame. The second, working with the risk that funding can be perceived as another form of control when sovereignty and autonomy are pre-requisites for success.

It’s easy to find negative stories and statistics about the way the system is failing Māori in areas like health, justice, education. This is a legacy of our history, and of course grantmakers will be concerned that they fund meaningful and positive change.

But there is a much more helpful approach that focuses on the good stuff: the powerful examples we heard at IFIP of Māori self-determination and community development; the research that shows how things like immersion in a rich cultural life, a sense of belonging and strong identity is turning around negative outcomes for whanau, hapu and iwi. The challenge for grantmakers is not to forget about the negative statistics, but to use them to inspire relationship building and grantmaking that seeks to give further life to the Treaty promise of Māori control of the things they value.

That raises the risk that our grantmaking, especially the processes of application, due diligence, and accountability, can be in tension with a desire to support self-determination. There are no simple answers to navigating that dynamic. As with much grantmaking, it points to the need for long-term, trust-based, face-to-face relationships to be our way of working, and for our ‘brave conversations’ to be explicit about the risks when seeking to give, we need to be careful about what we are taking.

– Tony Paine, CE, Philanthropy New Zealand

Philanthropy New Zealand’s Grantmaking and Te Tiriti o Waitangi workshops were held in Auckland on 8 and 9 August 2017. They were facilitated by  Kim Penetito and Joe Waru.