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Holistic approach to apologies integrating Te Ao Māori

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The Ombudsman Kaitiaki Mana Tangata has created a new apologies guide for agencies.

The guide, published on the Ombudsman website today, promotes a holistic approach to apologies that integrates Te Ao Māori to ensure agencies are meeting their obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi.

The Public Service Act 2020 requires Crown agencies to support the Crown in its obligation under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi. This includes developing capabilities in engaging with Māori and understanding Māori perspectives.

People have the right to expect a high standard of administration by central and local government agencies. They expect agencies to act legally, fairly, and in a timely manner, and to be treated with respect in a way that is culturally appropriate.

The Ombudsman may suggest that an apology be made where a wrong is identified as the result of an investigation. Generally, all government agencies should have processes in place that provide for effective apologies.

The guide is to assist agencies to make apologies that are appropriate for meeting the needs of a person wronged by that agency.

The concepts and principles underpinning Te Ao Māori provide tools to ensure that any apology is authentic, addresses the complaint, and is delivered in a culturally appropriate way. An effective apology will go some way to restoring the mana, dignity and self-respect of the affected parties.

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