Championing te Tiriti o Waitangi: Toi Mai announced as winner at the 2023 Diversity Awards

Last night, Toi Mai was announced as the winner of Ngā Āhuatanga o te Tiriti Tohu at the Diversity Awards NZ 2023!


We are still a young organisation, but we are in a unique position to influence real change in the vocational education and training space of Ngā Peka o Toi.

We keep te Tiriti o Waitangi at the forefront of all our mahi, adopting a Māori–Pākehā partnership-leadership model from our conception. This begins with co-leadership from our Te Tumu o Toi (CEO) Dr Claire Robinson and Poumatua Tama Kirikiri, supported by a Board and Kāhui Pou (executive leadership time) consisting of equal representation Māori and non-Māori. Additionally, we maintain a significant number of kaimahi Māori to strengthen the bolstering of mātauranga Māori in our peka, while deeply integrating te ao Māori principles in our workspace and office culture.

“Toi Mai was established in October 2021 to be the voice of our industries,” says Claire. “When Tama and I started this conversation about joining Toi Mai, we felt it was a great opportunity to do things in a way that for many people are just hypotheses. Starting a brand new organisation from the ground up meant that we could ask, what does a te Tiriti-honouring organisation actually require?”

Te Kāhui Pou (the executive leadership team) accepting the diversity award as a group from judge Dr. Nicola Ngawati

Te Kāhui Pou, Board Co-Chair Alice Shearman and Board member Pita Alatini accepting Ngā Āhuatanga o te Tiriti Tohu from judge Dr. Nicola Ngawati at the 2023 Diversity Awards event.

“Change is long overdue,” said Tama in his acceptance speech. “For too long, we’ve accepted that there’s some people who don’t get a fair deal, and tonight is an indication there’s a lot of people who’ve said that’s enough, and it’s time to make a real change.”

It is an incredible honour to be recognised by Diversity Works NZ for the hard work and commitment that our kaimahi have exemplified in this space, and it’s encouraging for us to continue to take this te Tiriti-led process further as we head into the future.

Ka mua, ka muri – We look back to inform our way forward.

Click here to read more about the Toi Mai journey through its case study.

Click here to find out more about the Diversity Awards NZ.