Māori women leaders call on men to recognise their leadership

A group of prominent Māori women are calling on male leaders to recognise Māori women as critical for Crown agencies, tribal organisations and private sector leadership roles, to ensure the development of Māori is successful. The issue was discussed at a Māori Women's Leadership Summit in Auckland today.

This is the call from Māori women leaders who have gathered for the annual Federation of Māori Authorities women's leadership summit.

FOMA Chief Executive Traci Houpapa says, “I think we need more Māori male champions who recognise wāhine toa wāhine Māori as critical to the ongoing success development and prosperity of the Māori economic space. I think the sooner that happens the more of a diverse and strong leadership platform we'll have.”

The meeting is in its sixth year. Traci Houpapa says this meeting gives Māori women leaders in their respective fields, the opportunity to discuss having more Māori women on boards, Crown agencies and the private sector.

“It’s also about our Māori men increasingly recognising the important role that Māori women have in terms of running operating leading our iwi organisations and our Māori authorities.”

Treasury Governance and Appointments spokesperson Carla Wellington says 39% of treasury boards are made up of women. But just 3% are Māori women.

“If this were a hospital drama the nurse would be saying Dr the patients looking really pale we need some wāhine stat,” says Carla Wellington.

“From talking to a lot of women we still have that silent leadership where we have our men as our visible leaders but we've got a network of women behind them that are leading them and guiding them where they need to be,” says Ngaria Rolleston.

“Māori men can support their women most do but also believe that we're an equal to men,” says Iron Māori Founder Heather Skipworth.

Iwi Leaders Group member Mark Solomon told Te Kāea there are more men in the group than women. He said the group isn't opposed to having more Māori women in leadership roles and they're always supportive of having Māori women at the helm of organisations.