- 10 June 2011 12:19
Information-mapping key to strategies for multi-million dollar Mãori payouts
Māori policy advisers at Bay of Plenty Regional Council in New Zealand are using mind-mapping to simplify input and present clearly the complex information required for formulating strategies relating to Treaty claims settlement process that involves hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mindjet MindManager information mapping software has helped Council officers to understand the complexities of the Treaty settlement process that has benefited Maori tribes by millions of dollars.
Through legislation and statute, the New Zealand Government has recognised the Treaty of Waitangi. Signed in 1840 between the British Crown and Māori chiefs, it is recognised as the nation’s founding document. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has sought to engage with iwi (tribes) to support them through the complex Treaty claims settlement process.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council, also known as Environment Bay of Plenty, encompasses the nation’s largest and most dense population of tribes, approximately 30 per cent of the region’s population is Maori. This is a dynamic space which makes Māori Policy Adviser Trevor Himona’s job diverse and challenging.
He is part of a Māori Policy Unit that reports to the Strategy Development Group of four division within the regional council. Each group oversees a large expanse of council’s 12,000 sq km total area.
Bay of Plenty’s regional council deals with 34 Maori iwi and 142 hapū (sub-tribes) scattered among 162 traditional marae (villages) and including meeting houses or gathering areas. There are also some 1,800 Māori Land Trusts within the regional council’s area, that manage a land asset-base of about $6.6 billion and accounts for about 30 per cent of the land area in the region.
Treaty settlement negotiations since the 1990s have seen approximately $910 million included in settlement redress to Maori. Two iwi tribes, Ngai Tahu and Waikato-Tainui each received $170 million in the 1990s which they have increased by 400 per cent to about $1 billion dollars today. The Government has set a target to complete historical settlement negotiations by 2014 and Maori are expected to become increasingly significant players in the regional and national economies.
Keeping ahead of the demands inherent in dealing with such a huge volume of complex negotiations poses problems for Trevor, which he solves by using MindManager.
This simplifies his work by visualising all aspects of a topic and ensuring that he is always up-to-date with negotiations. MindManager also enables everyone who views his information maps to perceive clearly how each element relates to the others. The software tool allows Trevor to connect ideas, information and people visually, in the form of maps.
He says: “It is a great way to summarise a whole range of information within a visual flow chart. When I talk with a Maori group I use MindManager to summarise the discussion and add it to a flow chart, from which I developed a strategy for our CEO as part of the regional council’s Treaty Relationship Road Map. It illustrates clearly the breakdown of information from the various tribes and sub-tribes, and shows the complexities progressing each district for the Treaty settlement process.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council primarily utilises the maps for internal meetings that support its discussions with local councils, including Rotorua, Tauranga and Whakatane, and with the national government. Trevor’s information helps to ensure that the Regional Council is up to date with each Treaty settlement of Bay of Plenty iwi that passes into written law.
Approximately $400-500 million is expected to be provided to Māori as part of the Treaty settlement redress and compensation in the Bay of Plenty area. Plus a land asset-base of $6.6 billion suggests that Māori will become a significant stakeholder in the region’s environment, health, education and economic long term future. According to Trevor, his council believes that “what’s good for the local Maori people is good for the regional economy as a whole”.
He says that using MindManager to input and present information clearly would have taken three to four times longer if he had relied on the use of Word. He learned to use MindManager on-the-fly while working on his first project, choosing a ferris wheel template for structuring his strategies. Now he takes only one to two days to develop a particular project to completion. He shares the map with other MindManager users, or outputs it as a .pdf file for those who do not use the software.
‘Invaluable for use as a talking point’
“One of the neat features of MindManager is the ability to update constantly the various elements of a map,” says Trevor. “It’s also invaluable for use as a talking point at meetings because it makes complex information easy to understand. All the people I show it to appreciate this. Our CEO has taken the strategy I developed and uses the map as a focus for high level discussions and forums outside council.
“It allows people to understand how our strategies are progressing and how I have been able to prioritise groups, as well as giving insights into some of the property issues on the iwis. The Information Map has been shown to other councils as well as New Zealand’s central government. It has generated a lot of discussion and good outcomes. For use in strategic policy work, MindManager has been excellent.”
According to Evaleigh Rautjoki-Williams, IT Software Specialist at Bay of Plenty Regional Council, 25 management and staff are using MindManager at present. As well as Māori policy advisers like Trevor Himona, these include business analysts, strategic development/planners, land management officers and communications advisers.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council, located at Whakatane in the north-east of North Island, oversees local-tier governing councils for each of the territorial authorities. Bay of Plenty had an estimated population of 257,000, with major centres at Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane. The Bay of Plenty is among New Zealand’s fastest growing regions: population increased by 7.5 per cent between 2001 to 2006 and is projected to increase to 277,900 by 2011. Significant horticultural, forestry and tourism industries are well established in the region.
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