A Māori land farming Trust got into hot water recently when lines were blurred between the role of the Board and the management.  In this instance one of the Board trustees spoke to a farmhand employee regarding her annual performance review and the prospects of receiving an increase in salary.  Unfortunately, the  Board member was unaware that the Farm Manager was already involved in discussions with the employee regarding recent ongoing performance issues and that any salary increase was likely to be deferred.   This placed the Farm Manager in a very difficult position as the employee had received a contrary message from the Board member regarding a salary increase.

This example highlights the importance of the distinction between governance and management of Māori organisations  Whether your Board is for a large Māori Incorporation or your local Marae Board of Trustees recognising the different but complementary roles of the Board and management is an important step to effective governance. 

It is the role of the Board to provide leadership, strategy and effective decision making, not day-to-day management.  The effective functioning of your Māori organisation requires the mutual trust and confidence of the Board and management.  Crucial to this relationship is having Board members that will provide an environment for management to do it’s job by doing their own.

Peter Johnston
Māori Issues Lawyer