Inland Revenue – PSA Rūnanga agreement a first in the public sector

The PSA and Inland Revenue have signed an agreement formalising a channel for Māori at Inland Revenue to raise and work on important issues with the PSA.

IR PSA signingBy Briar Edmonds

The agreement: Te Manu Taupua, is the first of its kind in the public sector. 

“The agreement empowers us to communicate on areas that affect Māori at IR and gives us a practical vehicle to do this,” said Marcia Puru, PSA national delegate and Māori enterprise delegate, at the signing ceremony.

Marcia said the journey towards this agreement has not only been about giving Māori at the Department a voice, but creating a forum where they can raise issues. This agreement also supports the advancement of Treaty principles and is aimed at making a difference to the aspirations of Māori in the workplace.

Areas of common interest between the PSA and Inland Revenue include the recruitment and retention of Māori staff, advancing the Treaty of Waitangi principles, recognition of cultural skills, and tikanga processes in IR.

Craig Thomas, manager of engagement, Māori and diverse communities at IR, and one of the signatories of the agreement, acknowledged the hard work of the PSA’s IR Rūnanga, which led the development and signing of the agreement.

“We have worked in the past with the Rūnanga on issues such as Tangihanga (funeral customs) leave but this agreement takes our relationship to a new level,” said Craig.

Craig said the name of the agreement - Te Manu Taupua - came from Wiremu Panapa, one of his team members, and refers to a sentry bird.

“If you think of a flock of birds feeding, there will always be some keeping an eye out for the rest of the flock. From our perspective as particular issues come up and we get awareness of them, we can then bring them to IR’s attention.

I am very proud of what our IR Rūnanga has achieved in empowering Māori to stand as delegates, to maintain our culture and our values, and to better the working lives of our Māori members,” said Craig.
Marcia Puru said: “An engagement of this nature for Māori is very valuable, and it provides an example to other government agencies who may be looking at ways to provide Māori in their organisations with a voice.”

“It has taken commitment, dedication and hard work to get where we are today, and it would not have been possible without the people who have helped us achieve this along the way,” says Marcia.

Marcia says some of the key people to thank include: Jim Jones – instrumental to development of the IR Rūnanga and its achievements; the IR national delegates team; and PSA national organiser – Dairne Grant; and IR’s Māori Responsiveness Team.