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4.1 Introduction to te ao Māori and risk management

This section outlines some key Māori values that have a direct or indirect link to supporting good health and safety principles mentioned in these guidelines.

Te ao Māori can be described as the Māori world view. Tikanga Māori can be described as Māori customary practices or behaviours. To act in accordance with tikanga is to behave in a way that is culturally proper or appropriate.

There are many key values that underpin te ao Māori. Some of these values are significant in how they support key health and safety principles. In particular, the ways that persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) communicate, engage, and relate to their workers, contractors, subcontractors, and those affected by the work in the local community.

The table below summarises some Māori values with relevance to worker health and safety good practice:

Value What it can look like


A sense of belonging, getting to know one another
Fostering good relationships between workers and management and between PCBUs in the contracting chain.


Extending hospitality and uplifting people

Showing care for workers and their wellbeing, and respect for all workers involved in the contracting chain.


Recognising the mana of every worker during worker engagement and participation. When consulting with workers on health and safety matters, acknowledge and value the skills, knowledge, and experience that each worker brings with them


Collaboration, oneness

Focusing on the ‘we’ - all PCBUs working together in the contracting chain towards a common goal (completing the project or job on time and within budget and keeping workers healthy and safe while doing so).

Understanding who you are working with on a personal level. This can help with communication, especially when things go wrong.


Guardianship of the land and the environment
Engaging with local iwi who are the kaitiaki of that area. Acknowledging how the work and people effect the environment, and how the environment effects the work and the people.

Table 2: Examples of Māori values with relevance to worker health and safety good practice

Note: These values can be applied across multiple aspects of road and roadside work, not just the examples listed in this table.

There are also many practical day-to-day tikanga practices that should be respected and applied where appropriate. Examples of these practices are mentioned throughout these guidelines.

4.2 Engage with local iwi

Engaging with local iwi from the planning stage onwards can be helpful when incorporating te ao Māori into road and roadside health and safety.

Engaging with local iwi and community can be particularly helpful when local knowledge is needed or tikanga may need to be followed. For example, you may need to lift tapu (restriction) when:

See Case study: Tikanga approach to health and safety builds a stronger business