The new Incorporated Societies Act 2022 provides for the inclusion of tikanga Māori into the constitutions of Incorporated Societies. Aside from the statutory requirements of what must be included in the constitution, Societies are able to include in their constitution any other matter, which can include provision for the Society to express its tikanga, culture, kawa, or practices.

Examples of tikanga which might be expressed in the constitution include:

  • Whanaungatanga, or upholding relationships and embracing whakapapa.
  • Mana, or the authority, importance, or prestige of people and things. This might include upholding the mana of the Incorporated Society, or those who deal with the Society.
  • Recognising kaitiakitanga, or guardianship, and the authority of those who are kaitiaki.

Tikanga will vary between iwi and hapū, and geographic area, so each Incorporated Society has the ability to shape their constitution to the tikanga that they follow and recognise.

In addition to this, Societies are able to provide for tikanga-based dispute resolution, as compared to other dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration. However, if a Society does choose to incorporate tikanga into their dispute resolution process, it still needs to meet the minimum natural justice requirements outlined in the Act. 

It is important to note that a Society does not need to be a Māori organisation in order to incorporate elements of tikanga, culture, kawa or practices into their constitution. Any Society is free to include these concepts as it considers best for the governance of their Society.  

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.


Claire Tyler & Hanifa Kodirova