The Waitangi Tribunal has a wide jurisdiction to inquire into matters affecting Māori throughout New Zealand. District inquiries aim to hear grievances of specific iwi, hapu and whanau within a particular geographical area. There are now only a few districts in New Zealand left to complete hearings before the Waitangi Tribunal.
Kaupapa inquiries, on the other hand, deal with nationally significant matters affecting Māori across New Zealand, and are not specific to any particular geographical area. The Kaupapa Inquiry Programme was issued in 2015 by the Waitangi Tribunal’s Chairperson, Chief Judge Wilson Isaac. The identified Kaupapa inquiry topics are:
- Māori Military Veterans
- Health services and outcomes
- Mana Wahine and Mana Tane
- Education services and outcomes
- Identity and culture
- Natural resources and environmental management
- Social services, social development and housing
- Economic development
- Justice system
- Citizenship rights and equality
Currently, the Māori Military Veterans Inquiry has completed one hearing round and is preparing for the next stage as technical evidence is researched and prepared.
Chief Judge Isaac directed in November 2016 that the Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry will be the second Kaupapa inquiry, and it is now in its preliminary pre-hearing stage. A 2011 report by the Waitangi Tribunal concluded that Māori were currently undergoing a serious health crisis – not only was Māori life expectancy significantly lower than non-Māori, but Māori were greatly over-represented in statistics of poor health.
The Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry will investigate various grievances relating to the health of Māori, including matters such as the disparities in health outcomes for Maori compared with non-Māori, the national framework for primary healthcare, the general accommodation of matauranga Māori and rongoa in health policy and the delivery of mainstream health services, and other matters still to be identified.
The scope and breadth of the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry, and the matters it will inquire into, are still being developed. Claimants with either existing Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti o Waitangi claims or entirely new claims will assist in the direction of the inquiry.
If you would like to participate in the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry, or find out more about the other Kaupapa inquiries and whether you can participate, please contact our Māori Legal team on (04) 472-0020 and ask for Dr Bryan Gilling (Partner) or Cerridwen Bulow (Solicitor).