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Discussion paper

He Ara Waiora/A Pathway Towards Wellbeing (DP 18/11)

Issue date: 
Thursday, 20 September 2018
Corporate author: 

Formats and related files

Executive summary

“Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi”

“With your contribution and mine, the people will prosper”

Executive summary

“Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi”

“With your contribution and mine, the people will prosper”

The vision of the New Zealand Treasury is to promote higher living standards for all New Zealanders. The Treasury has always recognised that there are many possible ways to understand intergenerational wellbeing. The Treasury indicated earlier this year that the Crown–Māori relationship is integral to all four capitals in our Living Standards Framework (LSF), and that the Treasury would be further exploring how this might be reflected in the framework.[1]

One avenue through which this has been explored is in the Tax Working Group (TWG). The TWG's call for public submissions asked:[2]

How could tikanga Māori (in particular manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, and kaitiakitanga) help create a more future-focused tax system?

A lot of support was expressed from Māori for exploring this and through the input from submissions and a number of hui, we in the TWG secretariat have developed a “prototype” framework that integrates the four capital stocks in the LSF and the established principles of tax policy design.

Waiora speaks to a broad conception of human wellbeing, grounded in water (wai) as the source of all life.

The foundations for wellbeing come through kaitiakitanga (stewardship of all our resources), manaakitanga (care for others), ōhanga (prosperity) and whanaungatanga (the connections between us).

These foundations support the development of the four capital stocks: financial and physical capital; human capital; social capital; and natural capital. Wellbeing depends on the sustainable growth and distribution of these four capitals, which together represent the comprehensive wealth of New Zealand.


However, this is just a starting point. We recognise the weight of responsibility of drawing on concepts of such cultural, spiritual and historical significance. We understand that it is not enough to incorporate kupu (words) and whakaaro Māori (Māori ideas): the framework must generate substantive, measurable change. We recognise that there is a whakapapa, or lineage, to these kupu and that they fit within a wider values-based framework in Te Ao Māori (the Māori world). We are drawing on a range of expertise to help us to live up to this challenge, for which we are extremely grateful. In our next stage of work we will be further developing the framework in accordance with the knowledge that has been shared with us, informing development of tools to support practical policy application and outcomes measurement. This work will support the evolution of the Treasury's Living Standards Framework Dashboard.

By releasing this discussion paper at this early stage in the process, the work can be informed by a range of perspectives and ensure that our pathway, as well as the ultimate product, has, and is seen to have, integrity. This is important to ensure respect for the knowledge from Te Ao Māori that is being shared with us for this purpose, but also so we understand how the kupu fit with non-Māori New Zealanders' perspectives and values.

The TWG will be holding hui in October to test the thinking and approach, alongside the Interim Report recommendations. Ultimately, the success of this mahi (work) - enabling Māori and all New Zealanders to live the lives they value - will be in the breadth and quality of engagement from a range of people across Aotearoa/New Zealand. Over time, this will need to include Māori and non-Māori, academics and practitioners, public policy experts and people applying the values they hold dear in their daily lives to achieve their goals.


  1. [1] King, A., Huseynli, G., & MacGibbon, N. (2018). Wellbeing frameworks for the Treasury. Office of the Chief Economic Advisor, Living Standards Series: Discussion Paper 18/01. Wellington: The Treasury.
  2. [2] Tax Working Group. (2018). Future of tax: Submissions background paper. Wellington: Tax Working Group.


We would like to acknowledge the wide range of people who have contributed their time and efforts towards the journey so far and look forward to continuing our travels together.

Ka nui te mihi whanui ki te iti ki te rahi e rau rangatira ma e hora nei! Te kahui hapai ake te kaupapa ki te whai ao!

Aratu tuia ra – He Ara Waiora hei tirohanga; hei toki haupapa ake – oranga mauri ora!

Kati Ka mihi. Tēnā tātou!


This paper is part of a series of discussion papers on wellbeing in the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework. The discussion papers are not the Treasury’s position on measuring intergenerational wellbeing and its sustainability in New Zealand.

Our intention is to encourage discussion on these topics. There are marked differences in perspective between the papers that reflect differences in the subject matter as well as differences in the state of knowledge. The Treasury very much welcomes comments on these papers to help inform our ongoing development of the Living Standards Framework.

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 11 May 2021