• What is the nature of leadership in Māori culture, indigenous cultures and Western culture?
• How do you engage with a Kaupapa Māori Organisation when you are invited as a non-Māori (Pākehā) to provide leadership in a particular sphere of influence?
• What experiences and knowledge most help non-Māori understand more fully the intricacies of leading within a kaupapa Māori framework and Te Ao Māori worldview?
• To what extent can the exercise of leadership transcend culture?
This thesis emerges from my own experience of leading in senior leadership roles within mainstream non-government organisations (NGOs) for 15 years and in kaupapa Māori NGOs for 9 years. The primary purpose (the kaupapa) of this thesis was to evaluate and compare Western leadership models with Te Ao Māori and other indigenous leadership models to discover the contribution and limits of non-Māori leadership within Māori communities. As the number and size of kaupapa Māori organisations continues to grow, we find more non-Māori in leadership roles providing a variety of skills and experience that are complementary to kaupapa Māori organisations/communities.
A driver of conducting this thesis was the lack of indigenous leadership research Zhang, X., Fu, P., Xi, Y., Li, L., Xu, L., Cao, C., Li, G., Ma, L.,...Ge, J. (2012, p. 1065). The Leadership Quarterly reviewed 285 papers published on leadership from 2007- 2011 and only 5 (less than 2%) were genuinely indigenous studies. Western scholars conducted three out of the five of studies.
The literature review determined that Western leadership styles and traits are evident in indigenous leadership, as many are universal but there are some core differences exhibited in indigenous leadership contexts. Bass (1997, p. 132) states “variation occurs because the same concepts may contain specific thought processes, beliefs, implicit understandings, or behaviours in one culture but not another"
Tikanga and kawa emerged as key Te Ao Māori principles exhibited in leadership. Mead, Stevens, Gallagher, Jackson & Pfeifer (2006) argue that Māori leadership must incorporate the principles of tikanga Māori. Lang (2007, p. 4) points out that tikanga is collective and deeply embedded in Te Ao Māori while ethics, a European equivalent, tends to be more individualised, legalistic and disconnected from day-to-day relationships. Māori leaders and non-Māori leaders must be familiar with local tikanga in regards to culture, customs, formality and protocols in order to lead correctly (Chong & Thomas, 1997). Tikanga is the outworking of kawa, which guides Māori tikanga. Kawa tends to be unchangeable but tikanga has to be adapted from generation to generation.
Pfeifer and Love (2004) have conducted research on Māori and non-Māori leadership within a New Zealand context to measure traits under transactional and transformational leadership characteristics, which showed Māori scored higher in transformational leadership factors than their non-Māori counterparts and suggests that Māori perceive their leaders as more transformational.
Māori organisations are often led by visionary and transformational leaders but may lack transactional leadership in regards to day-to-day management. The effect of this has led to Māori organisations lacking structure that comes with the people with strong management leadership skills and has given rise to non-Māori being employed to add this skill mix as cited in the introduction of the literature review. This has created a new and positive dynamic within Māori organisations as they seek to honour tikanga but also walk the fine line of ensuring the organisations they lead have the right skill mix to thrive in our complex/dynamic modern world.||en_NZ