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Kaitiakitanga - Sustaining Our Future

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Give a brief discussion on Kaitiakitanga.


Kaitiakitanga is a resource management framework. The word is borrowed from “tiaki” implying care, which is basically guarding or protecting, and the generic term “kai” that degenerate into “kaitaki” means a trustee, conservator, caretaker, or a guardian.

The word Kaitiakitanga was developed to summarize an array of ideas, relationships, rights, and responsibilities, and so far the word has been translated to mean guardianship or stewardship. However, the primary role of Kaitiakitanga is to ensure sustainability for the future (Murihiku, 2008). It is widely believed that currently there is a framework for mutually beneficial sustainable management of resources, but the reality on the ground is that these promises are yet to be fulfilled. The article is trying to elaborate that it is man’s responsibility to ensure maintenance of the eco-system, and it is something that must be done to meet our global obligations (Hemmingsen, 2004).

The western society is greedy and capitalist for that matter, consumer oriented and driven by market considerations. Often decision making is arrived at through cost-benefit analysis, and in most cases, environmental concerns are neglected or quantified in such a manner, with costs allocated to impacts in relation to the requirements to mitigate effects. Kaitiakitanga is about natural resource management and the concept extends to some of the threats facing our natural treasures together with requisite remedy necessary towards the safeguarding and protection of the eco-system for the for future generations. The rationale behind the concept is to set up challenging economic, social, environmental, and cultural goals. One of the primary visions entails adopting renewable energy as a primary infrastructure project (Kawharu, 1998).

Opinion, vision and Insight

There are quite a number of environmental challenges that the global society is persistently faced with. These challenges include over exploitations of fishing grounds, nutrient enrichment of water bodies, and the global climate change (Tomlins & Mulholand, 2011). These challenges must be addressed immediately, so that future leaders are made aware of their relationship with their environment, and are also cognizant of the different ways to ensure sustainability (Marsden & Henare, 1992).

According to Maori worldview, the society comprises of spiritual and physical aspects that are entangled hence cannot be disconnected. These resources come from “atua”, and this means that they both have spiritual and physical characteristics. As a result, exploitation of resources must strictly be done when necessary and also for immediate benefit gains, otherwise the resources should be left intact, and maintained.

Despite the number of dissimilarities between western science and Maori worldviews on sustainability, it is now emerging that there is an area for a common ground. Because, both perceptions advocate for protecting future generations through placing limits on natural resource utilization, evaluating long term viability, and finally taking into consideration the environmental, social, economic, and cultural well being of the present and future generation (Pyle, 1992).


Wise Up: Creating Organizational Wisdom through an Ethic of Kaitiakitanga


The second article is about how enterprises are searching for innovating business solutions to increase their profit and at the same maximum shareholder value. The article is trying to summarize the relational wisdom approach of Maori in relation to the current economic argument where companies make abnormal profits at the expense of local communities and the environment. The resource is trying to convince organization to nurture an ethic of Kaitiakitanga model in relation to the Maori values that hold the potential to enrich and further on humanize the society understanding of business.

Such organizations have different purposes, implying that they are not only profit driven but they balance their financial viability with social and cultural aspirations of the shareholders as part of their core purpose (Buckingham & Gowe, 2012). Even though such entities are involved in commercial trade and evaluate their performance against key economic indicators, it is unethical for companies to perceive wealth creation as an end in itself.  Through Maori values, organizations are able to present their wisdom position by emphasizing and illustrating the intermarriage of life in an interlaced society.  By practicing Kaitiakitanga, enterprises are able to nurture business relationships where wisdom is consciously developed via mutual relationships.

Insight and Opinion

In my point of view, human beings should consider themselves to be overseers mandated to utilize agency of their mana (sovereignty, authority, spiritual power) for the sake for developing mauri ora which is basically the conscious well being for human beings and the global eco-system. It is in light of this fact that particular commitment should extend to corporate entities with commercial interest. Organizations tend to strategize sustainable business practices including internal policy formulation that touches on aspects such as human resource development, marketing endeavors, research and development, and periodic strategy re-evaluation. It is in this same way that these companies are endowed to developed a sustainable environmental program that not only takes care of the present commercial interest of the organization in terms of having a sound public relations image, but for the future protection of our society.

Connection between the two articles

The two articles have some level of similarities in relation to natural resources such as the sea and land and flora and fauna including people comprising of elements of natural environment. The underlying principles in both articles entail sustainability and protection and that the environment should be safeguarded. In the second articles, it is evident that the owners of an organization should bear the responsibility of protecting natural resources for the future generations, not on a short term basis for the immediate profit gains (French, 1998).

We have seen in the Maori economy how human beings can utilize the agency of their mana to create mauri ora for the humans and ecosystem and this should extend towards organizations. Enterprises should be ethical with their business practices

The global society should speak in one voice, whether it is a corporate body or an individual. The voice should be sustainability of the environment for the future generations, and one of the best ways is to exploit resources only if necessary and for immediate gains. Secondly, we should make a swift shift to other alternative renewable energy forms and this includes using wind and solar power which are both less harmful to the environment.  By taking care of the environment, we are simply taking care of the future of our kids.



Buckingham, J., & Nilakant, V. (2012). Managing responsibly: Alternative approaches to corporate management and governance. Farnham, Surrey, England: Gower.

French, A. J. (1998). What is a Maori business: A survey of Maori business peoples perceptions?: A 52.785 research report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Business Studies in Management at Massey University.

Hemmingsen, S. A. (2004). Kaitiakitanga: Māori values, uses and management of the coast: A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Geography in the University of Canterbury.

Kawharu, M. (1998). Dimensions of kaitiakitanga: An investigation of a customary Maori principle of resource management.

Marsden, M., & Henare, T. A. (1992). Kaitiakitanga: A definitive introduction to the holistic world view of the Māori. Wellington, N.Z.: Ministry for the Environment.

Murihiku, R. P. (2008). The cry of the people: Te Tangi a Tauira: Ngai Tahu ki Murihiku Natural Resource and Environmental Iwi Management Plan 2008. Dunedin, N.Z.?: Iwi Management Committee.

Pyle, E. (1992). Sustainable water management: An approach based on the Gaia hypothesis and the traditional Maori worldview: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Science at Lincoln University.

Tomlins-Jahnke, H., & Mulholland, M. (2011). Mana tangata: Politics of empowerment. Wellington, N.Z.: Huia.


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