The government has 'reinvigorated' its commitment to Far North iwi with the ministers for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, and Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, along with the chairs of Te Rarawa, NgāiTakoto and Te Aupōuri, signing an addendum to the Te Hiku o Te Ika Iwi-Crown Social Development and Wellbeing Accord.
Sepuloni said after a positive start in 2013, the governance activity set out in the Accord had not been maintained, and momentum had waned.
"This signing demonstrates the reinvigoration and evolution of the Treaty relationship with Te Hiku and our joint commitment to empowering whānau living in Te Hiku o Te Ika to lead a successful future," she said.
Mahuta described the Addendum as an example of a living Treaty relationship with iwi.
"The Addendum sits alongside the original Accord, revises and resets some elements, and introduces new commitments. It's designed to fit our needs for the future, and recognises some clauses of the Accord were not working or were no longer relevant," she said.
Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust chairman Rick Witana said the long-term agreement further aligned Te Hiku aspirations with government priorities and policies, and formalised the commitment to improve social outcomes in Te Hiku for at least the next 20 years.
"The iwi acknowledge the leadership and commitment of Ministers Sepuloni and Mahuta to transform the approach to addressing the social development needs of the Te Hiku region. This is a step in the right direction, a strengths-based partnership, locally-led solutions supported by the strengths that agencies bring to the table in Te Hiku," he said.
The shared goal was to improve the lives of the whānau, hapū, iwi and communities of Te Hiku.
"The Accord is a great example of partnership and investment between iwi and Crown into a generation with an inter-generational view. We are tackling the challenges we face in Te Hiku, and making positive changes in the lives of our people and our communities," he added.
Sepuloni said the Accord required a multi-agency approach to Crown-Māori relations, and was based on Crown agencies working collaboratively with iwi on the co-design of solutions for whānau and communities.
"This requires a significant paradigm shift in the way iwi and government agencies have engaged historically," she said.
"Government agencies, led by the Ministry of Social Development, have been working closely with the Te Hiku Development Trust to ensure an ambitious work programme."
Funding of $8 million had been earmarked over two years to support that programme as part of the government's Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund Foundational Package, with a specific focus on delivering initiatives aimed at improving wellbeing outcomes for Te Hiku whānau, particularly in the response and recovery from Covid-19.
"I'm really encouraged by this Iwi-Crown partnership and the investment we have made as a government to ensure that we build better communities post-Covid-19, which will also support us to honour our commitments to the Accord," Sepuloni added.
Nine agencies signed up to the Accord in 2013, the list now comprising the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Tertiary Education Commission, the Ministry of Justice, the police, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Internal Affairs, Statistics New Zealand, Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Social Development, Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Health and the Northland DHB.