Te Tiriti o Waitangi


Overarching statement about Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Te Poari o ngā Kaihaumanu Hinengaro o Aotearoa

The Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand

Te kī tūhono mō ake tonu | Relationships/partnerships are forever


Te Poari o ngā Kaihaumanu Hinengaro o Aotearoa (the Board) is a responsible authority under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (HPCA Act) and independent from the Crown.

The Board acknowledges te Tiriti o Waitangi (te Tiriti) as the foundation of the relationship between tangata whenua[1] and tangata tiriti[2] in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Te Tiriti is a fundamental constitutional document in Aotearoa New Zealand. It is therefore ‘higher’ than law. It has its own mana which should never be diminished. Te Tiriti is fundamental to social and health policy in Aotearoa New Zealand. Meeting our responsibilities under te Tiriti as the regulator of Psychotherapists will help improve the well-being of Māori.

The Board’s commitment to upholding the mana of te Tiriti is primarily driven by our desire to achieve excellence as a te Tiriti partner through authentic, respectful, and mutually advantageous relationships. It is also integral to achieving our primary statutory objective of achieving protection of the public, noting that the health sector has not served Māori interests well in the past, which has been a significant contributor to health inequities. Our commitment is aligned with Government’s expectations as expressed in the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022.


Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the principles and our commitments

There are key differences between the English text and te reo Māori text of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Since 1987, following a Court of Appeal judgment,[3] the Articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi have been interpreted and expressed by the Courts, the Waitangi Tribunal and the New Zealand government through a set of principles. Te Tiriti is interpreted as a living document and its’ principles evolve over time.

The principles that we consider relevant and a fundamental part of our work as health practitioners are contained in a 2023 Waitangi Tribunal Claim – Wai 2575: the Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry.[4] In its report, the Waitangi Tribunal recommended a set of 5 principles for the primary health care system. The Ministry of Health has since included these in their reissued Māori health action plan.[5] 

The following outlines the 5 principles and how the Board will ensure these principles are honoured.    

(a) The guarantee of tino rangatiratanga, which provides for Māori self-determination and mana motuhake in the design, delivery, and monitoring of primary health care.

The Board will ensure Māori are represented on all our key decision-making committees, our working groups, in leadership roles and on our Board.  

(b) The principle of equity, which requires the Crown to commit to achieving equitable health outcomes for Māori.

The Board is responsible under the HPCAA 2003 for a number of functions including setting standards for the profession. We will set standards that continue to ensure that Psychotherapists are required to demonstrate cultural competence.[6] The Board will systematically examine, identify and address any existing racism or bias and seek to introduce pro-equity measures in order to achieve equitable health outcomes for Māori to the fullest extent possible consistent with our statutory objectives and functions.

(c) The principle of active protection, which requires the Crown to act, to the fullest extent practicable, to achieve equitable health outcomes for Māori. This includes ensuring that it, its agents, and its Treaty partner are well informed on the extent, and nature, of both Māori health outcomes and efforts to achieve Māori health equity.

The Board will actively protect Māori interests by ensuring all policy and standards focus on reducing health disparities for Māori. This will include ensuring Psychotherapist’s are culturally competent to practice so Māori can achieve health equity. Criteria for appointment to any working group responsible for drafting any new policy and / standards will include collective knowledge of, and experience and expertise in relation to, te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori and cultural safety.

(d) The principle of options, which requires the Crown to provide for and properly resource kaupapa Māori primary health services. Furthermore, the Crown is obliged to ensure that all primary health care services are provided in a culturally appropriate way that recognises and supports the expression of hauora Māori models of care.

The Board will ensure its functions are carried out in a way that values the expression and integration of kaupapa Māori models of care. This further requires the Board to involve Māori psychotherapists in our processes and to have culturally responsive options for when Māori are interacting with any of our Board or statutory committees.    

(e) The principle of partnership, which requires the Crown and Māori to work in partnership in the governance, design, delivery, and monitoring of primary health services. Māori must be co-designers, with the Crown, of the primary health system for Māori.

The Board will work in partnership with Māori at all levels of the organisation to enable co-design of the functions of the Board. Māori will be able to see themselves reflected in the policy and work of the Board.


Ensuring we make good progress

The Board will conscientiously self-reflect and monitor and evaluate our performance robustly and transparently, at every level, to ensure a strong and successful partnership is present between the Board and Māori.

We recognise that this statement expresses aspirational goals, and we have much to do to achieve them, but we are committed to working together to achieve rapid and sustained progress.


[1] Tangata whenua is a generic term for people comprising those with mana whenua responsibilities (people who are tied culturally to an area by whakapapa and whose ancestors who lived and died there), together with taura here taurahere (people who are resident in an area but belong to waka and tribes from other parts of Aotearoa New Zealand).

[2] Tangata tiriti is a generic term to describe people whose rights to live in Aotearoa New Zealand derive from Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the arrangements that the Crown has established under a common rule of law, and the equity provisions of Article 3 of Te Tiriti.

[3] New Zealand Māori Council v Attorney-General [1987] 1 NZLR 641 (aka the “Lands case”).

[4] Hauora – Report on Stage one of the Health Services Kaupapa Inquiry, Wai 2575, Waitangi Tribunal Report, 2023, page 163.

[5] Whakamaua: Māori Health Action plan 2020-2025, 30 July 2020, Ministry of Health, New Zealand.

[6] Reference – hyperlink to cultural competence standards