Rangitīkei Environmental Operations Limited : whānau and iwi collaboration through governance and business operations : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business Studies at Massey University, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa, Manawatū, Aotearoa New Zealand

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This executive summary provides an overview of this thesis, which is focused on exploring the governance and business operations of Rangitīkei Environmental Operations Limited (REO). This organisation is owned equally by the four rūnanga of Mōkai Pātea who are; Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāi Te Ohuake, Ngāti Whitikaupeka, and Ngāti Tamakōpiri. The thesis recognises the integral role of whakapapa and iwi within the context of Māori culture and acknowledges these unique positions as the cornerstone of Māori society. The literature review, examines the complex procedures and shifting paradigms of governance, highlighting the differing viewpoints of Western, Indigenous, and Māori governance systems. It looks at governance, corporate governance, co-governance, and business models emphasising any potential synergies that may result from the interaction of these frameworks. The methodology chapter compares and contrasts Western research paradigms, including positivism, post-positivism and critical theory, before discussing kaupapa Māori approaches. It explains the qualitative methodology that is used, combining kaupapa Māori concepts of whakapapa, kōrero, manaakitanga, and pānui documentary analysis. Whanaungatanga is highlighted as a key aspect given that the position of the researcher is an insider who has been granted access to interview participants due to their whakapapa and connections with the iwi involved. The findings and discussions chapter aligns the research results to three themes: Mātauranga derived from the concept of capability, Kaupapa rather than the standard idea of capacity, and Whakapapa instead of succession. The interviews with the five participants show that REO is operating successfully due to the kaupapa-driven commitment to the work, and strong values of whakapapa ensuring that connection between the four iwi and the environmental development is retained. However, while mātauranga is shared where possible, the capability gap in terms of business and financial skills presents difficulties to the business. The findings show that succession at REO will require greater opportunities to compensate board representatives and build business acumen while maintaining whakapapa links to the iwi to ensure whānau and environmental wellbeing is centered. The conclusion summarises the findings using the contrast between the Western and Kaupapa Māori themes. It makes recommendations to address the challenges shared by the interviewees and lays out the current reality for an iwi like Mōkai Pātea who are yet to settle their Treaty of Waitangi claim. The chapter finishes with the aspirations that the findings of this thesis will serve as steppingstone in enhancing the capabilities of the iwi business and whānau. Overall, the thesis question was answered, shedding light on key aspects of the topic; however, further investigation is required to delve deeper into certain areas, explore alternative perspectives, and address potential limitations, ensuring a comprehensive and robust understanding of the subject matter.
Māori Masters Thesis