Critical te Tiriti analysis of the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016-2026

Main Article Content

Leanne Manson
Tim McCreanor
Heather Came


disabilities, policy analysis, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, health inequities, Māori, human rights, Indigenous


Health policy is one mechanism to address inequities and protect Indigenous people’s access to the shared human right to health. Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Māori text) negotiated between the British Crown and Māori (the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa) outlines the social contract between Māori and Non-Māori. It was negotiated in part to protect Māori health. Within Aotearoa there continues to be significant ethnic inequities in disabilities. This paper undertakes a retrospective Critical Tiriti Analysis of the New Zealand Disability Strategy to determine its compliance with Te Tiriti. It also considers whether such an analysis might strengthen responsiveness to Indigenous peoples elsewhere. This analysis involved a five-phase process of review. Through our analysis we identified poor to fair engagement with the responsibilities outlined in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. There were promising statements about the special relationship between the Crown and Māori, conflicting statements about governance and self-determination, and limited engagement with ethnic specific equity concerns or spirituality. To strengthen the Strategy the authors determined Tāngata whaikaha (Māori disabled people’s) views needed to be more strongly centered within the structure and content. The historical and contemporary determinants of Māori health needed to be included along with deeper engagement with intersectionality and Te Tiriti o Waitangi responsibilities. Undertaking critical policy analysis is an effective method to inform and review policy that may be applicable in other settler-colonial contexts with significant ethnic health inequities.   

Abstract 1262 | WORD Downloads 175 PDF Downloads 443


Berghan, G., Came, H., Doole, C., Coupe, N., Fay, J., McCreanor, T., & Simpson, T. (2017). Te Tiriti-based practice in health promotion. STIR: Stop Institutional Racism.

Brewer, K. M., McCann, C. M., Harwood, M. L. N., & Worrall, L. E. (2015, 09 / 01 /). New Zealand speech-language therapists' perspectives on service provision for Maori with aphasia [Article]. Speech, Language and Hearing, 18(3), 140-147.

Came, H. (2014). Sites of institutional racism in public health policy making in New Zealand. Social Science and Medicine, 106(0), 214-220.

Came, H., Cornes, R., & McCreanor, T. (2018). Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand public health policy 2006-2016 New Zealand Medical Journal, 131(1469), 32-27.

Came, H., Doole, C., McKenna, B., & McCreanor, T. (2017). Institutional racism in public health contracting: Findings of a nationwide survey from New Zealand. Social Science and Medicine, 199, 132-139.

Came, H., Herbert, S., & McCreanor, T. (2019). Representations of Māori in colonial health policy in Aotearoa from 2006-2016: a barrier to the pursuit of health equity. Critical Public Health, 1-11.

Came, H., & Kidd, J. (2020, 2020/09/02/). A Critical te Tiriti o Waitangi analysis of the New Zealand Cancer Action Plan 2019-2029. Journal of Cancer Policy, 100252.

Came, H., Kidd, J., & Goza, T. (2020, 2020/01/31/). A critical Tiriti analysis of the New Zealand Cancer Control Strategy. Journal of Cancer Policy, 100210.

Came, H., Kidd, J., Heke, D., & McCreanor, T. (2021). Te Tiriti o Waitangi compliance in regulated health practitioner competency documents in Aotearoa: A Critical Tiriti Analysis. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1535), 35-43.

Came, H., McCreanor, T., Haenga-Collins, M., & Cornes, R. (2019, 2019/01/02). Māori and Pasifika leaders’ experiences of government health advisory groups in New Zealand. Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 14(1), 126-135.

Came, H., O'Sullivan, D., & McCreanor, T. (2020). Introducing Critical Tiriti Analysis through a retrospective review of the New Zealand Primary Health Care Strategy Ethnicities, 20(3), 434-456.

Crengle S, Lay-Yee R, Davis P, & J., P. (2005). A comparison of Māori and non-Māori patient visits to doctors: The national primary medical care survey Ministry of Health.

Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241-1299.

Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2009). State of the world's indigenous peoples. UN.

Dew, A., Barton, R., Gilroy, J., Ryall, L., Lincoln, M., Jensen, H., Flood, V., Taylor, K., & McCrae, K. (2020, 12//). Importance of Land, family and culture for a good life: Remote Aboriginal people with disability and carers [Article]. Australian Journal of Social Issues (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ), 55(4), 418-438.

DiGiacomo, M., Davidson, P. M., Abbott, P. A., Davison, J., Moore, L., & Thompson, S. C. (2011). Smoking Cessation in Indigenous Populations of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States: Elements of Effective Interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(2), 388-410.

Durie. (1998). Whaiora: Māori health development (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Durie, M. (1999, December). Te pae mahutonga: A model for Māori health promotion. Health Promotion Forum Newsletter, 49, 2-5.

Forrest, R., Taylor, L.-A., Roberts, J., Pearson, M., Foxall, D., & Scott-Chapman, S. (2016, 07//). PATU: ™Fighting fit, fighting fat! The Hinu Wero approach [Article]. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 12(3), 282-297.

Gould, G., McEwen, A., Watters, T., Clough, A. R., & van der Zwan, R. (2013). Should anti-tobacco media messages be culturally targeted for Indigenous populations? A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Tobacco Control, 22(4), 1-10.

Goza, M., Came, H., & Emery-Whittington, I. (2021). A Critical Tiriti Analysis of the recruitment and performance review processes of public sector chief executives in Aotearoa. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, n/a(n/a).

Harris, R. B., Cormack, D. M., & Stanley, J. (2019). Experience of racism and associations with unmet need and healthcare satisfaction: the 2011/12 adult New Zealand Health Survey [Article]. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 43(1), 75-80.

Hickey, & Wilson. (2017). Whānau hauā: Reframing disability from an Indigenous perspective. Mai Journal, 6(1), 82-94.

Hickey, H. (2006, 02//). Replacing medical and social models of disability by a communities-based model of equal access for people of differing abilities: A Māori perspective Huhana Hickey. He Puna Korero: Journal of Maori & Pacific Development, 7(1), 35.

Hollinsworth, D. (2013, 2013/07/01). Decolonizing Indigenous disability in Australia. Disability & Society, 28(5), 601-615.

Hunter, K. (2019). The significant cultural value of our Māori nursing workforce. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 35(3), 4-6.

Ineese-Nash, N. (2020, 09/26). Disability as a Colonial Construct: The Missing Discourse of Culture in Conceptualizations of Disabled Indigenous Children. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 9(3), 28-51.

Kidd, J., Came, H., Doole, C., & Rae, N. (2021). A critical analysis of te Tiriti o Waitangi application in primary health organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand: Findings from a nationwide survey. Health & Social Care in the Community, 30(1), e105-e112.

Kiro, C. (2000). Kimihia mo te hauora Maori: Maori health policy and practice [Doctoral dissertation, Massey University]. Auckland, New Zealand.

Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand. (2017). 2017 living wage rate: $20.20. Retrieved 14 February from

MacDonald, L. (2019). Silencing and institutional racism in settler-colonial education Victoria University]. Wellington, New Zealand.

Marmot Review Team. (2010). Fair society, healthy lives: The Marmot review: strategic review of health inequalities in England post-2010 (The Marmot Review). Global Health Equity Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London.

Marriott, L., & Sim, D. (2014). Indicators of inequality for Māori and Pacific people [Working paper 09/2014]. Victoria University.

McAllister, T., Kidman, J., Rowley, O., & Theodore, R. (2019). Why isn’t my professor Māori? A snapshot of the academic workforce in New Zealand universities. Mai Journal, 8(2), 235-239.

McGruer, N., Baldwin, J. N., Ruakere, B. T., & Larmer, P. J. (2019). Māori lived experience of osteoarthritis: a qualitative study guided by Kaupapa Māori principles. Journal of Primary Health Care, 11(2), 128-137.

O’Sullivan, D., Came, H., McCreanor, T., & Kidd, J. (2021). A critical review of the Cabinet Circular on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Treaty of Waitangi advice to ministers. Ethnicities, 21(6), 1093-1112.

Office for Disability Issues. (2016). New Zealand disability strategy 2016-2026. Author.

Opai, K. (2017). Te Reo hāpai: A Māori language glossary for use in the mental health, addiction and disability sectors. Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori

Paradies, Y. (2016, 03//). Colonisation, racism and indigenous health [Article]. Journal of Population Research, 33(1), 83-96.

Pihama, L., Reynolds, P., Smith, C., Reid, J., Smith, L. T., & Te Nana, R. (2014, 07//). Postioning historical trauma theory within Aotearoa New Zealand [Article]. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 10(3), 248-262.

Rae, N., Came, H., Baker, M., & McCreanor, T. (2022). A Critical Tiriti Analysis of the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill. New Zealand Medical Journal, 135(1551), 106-111.

Ratima, K., & Ratima, M. (2007). Māori experiences of disability and disability support services. In B. Robson & R. Harris (Eds.), Hauora: Māori Standards of Health IV: A study of the years 2000-2005 (pp. 189-198). Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare, University of Otago.

Ratima, M. (1995). He anga whakamana: A framework for the delivery of disability support services for Māori. Massey University.

Robson, B. (2007). Economic determinants of Maori health and disparities. In M. Bargh (Ed.), Resistance: An indigenous response to neoliberalism (pp. 45-61). Huia.

Royal Commission on Social Policy. (1987). The Treaty of Waitangi and Social Policy [Discussion booklet number 1].

Simon, V. (2006, 09/01/). Characterising Maori nursing practice [Journal Article]. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 22(2), 203-213.

Smiler, K., & McKee, R. L. (2007, 01/01/). Perceptions of Māori Deaf Identity in New Zealand [research-article]. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 12(1), 93-111.

Statistics New Zealand. (2013). 2013 census quickstats about Māori.

Statistics New Zealand. (2014). Disability survey: 2013. Author.

Statistics New Zealand. (2015). He hauā Māori: Findings from the 2013 Disability Survey. Statistics new Zealadn. Retrieved 24 October from

Stienstra, D. (2018). Canadian Disability Policies in a World of Inequalities. Societies, 8(2), 36.

Te Puni Kōkiri. (2013). Ka mōhio, ka matau, ka ora: He ia kōrero: Measuring performance and effectiveness for Maori: Key themes from the literature. Author.

UN. (2007). Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Author.

UN. (2008). International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Author.

Waitangi Tribunal. (2019). Hauora: Report on stage one of the health services and outcomes kaupapa inquiry. Author.

Wilson, D. (2018, 05 / 01 /). Why do we need more Maori nurses? [Editorial]. Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand, 24(4), 2.

Workman, K. (2011). Māori over-representation in the criminal justice system does structural discrimination have anything to do with it?: A discussion paper. Rethinking Crime and Punishment.