Māori Breakout Sessions at the Philanthropy Summit 2019

“Be open to new approaches and processes”

Two breakout sessions at the Philanthropy Summit 2019 were supported by the Māori Advisory Committee.

The first session, ‘Supporting Māori aspirations’ followed the thought-provoking, courageous and challenging keynote presentation by Ani Mikaere ‘Undoing colonialism to do good’. The kōrero continued in John McCarthy’s keynote ‘Responding to the challenge and invitation at Ōtaki’.

This session was designed to provide an opportunity for participants to further discuss the kaupapa raised in the two keynotes.

As facilitator, Marcus Akuhata Brown gave a couple of excellent examples highlighting the importance of funders not assuming we know about hapū/iwi/Māori communities by relying solely on research. Or, what we’ve seen on TV, what our friends say, and even the Māori/cultural advisors we employ.

“Instead of relying on these things,” Marcus emphasised, “speak with people inside those communities directly. The Māori cultural advisors, or other people we may know who work within the communities are key to making the initial contacts which could enable us to engage in a meaningful way.”

In smaller groups, participants were encouraged to discuss their thoughts openly, make suggestions and finally, ask ‘the’ questions. Here are a few of those:

  • What does good relationships look like?
  • Do relationships come before partnerships?
  • Are we actually fit to be partners with the change makers who apply to us for funds?
  • How do we enhance mana (give prestige to) throughout all our processes?
  • What does sharing power look like with ngā kaikōkiri (those supporting, leading and advocating for change within their communities)?
  • How much power do we need to give up?
  • How can we work more collaboratively across all funding sectors to support Māori aspirations?


Ani Mikaere presenting ‘Undoing colonialism to do good’

The second breakout session, ‘Developing a philanthropic model for Aotearoa’, was a continuation of the first which asked participants to come up with suggestions and solutions to the many questions. For example:

  • Build intentional relationships – who should be involved?
  • Develop a ‘Best Practice’ model for funders
  • Focus resources on marginalised communities, including within Māoridom
  • Identify opportunities to support Māori aspirations – use strength based data
  • Relationships NOT transactions
  • Whakarongo / LISTEN
  • Mahi tahi – Co-design with ngā kaikōkiri
  • Reciprocal learning
  • Support inter-dependency
  • Fund existing successful Māori models i.e. Kapa Haka, Te Ataarangi, Te Reo Māori, Waka Ama, Kura Kaupapa etc.
  • Develop a kaupapa Māori entity for funders to learn how to engage with Māori, and collaborate to support Māori achieve their aspirations
  • Be open to new approaches and processes
  • Letting go of power / Share power
  • Deal with our own discomfort
  • TRUST
  • Be courageous


Keri Wano (TSB Trust) and Jonathan Bell (Eastern & Central Community Trust)

I want to sincerely thank everyone who attended the two breakout sessions and I can assure you that your contributions were extremely valuable.

We are currently designing the ‘Next Steps’ to support funders who are willing to learn more, and continue to be part of the courageous conversations. Philanthropy New Zealand will keep you up to date.

It would be great to see you all again, or for those who would like to be part of this journey. Nau mai haere mai.