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Mā te whenua e whanake ai te whānau
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Language: English | Māori

Setting up a governance structure

Establishing the trust's culture

The trust's culture is essentially the guidelines for how everyone – trustees and owners alike – will behave and treat each other.

He waka eke noa

A canoe which we are all in with no exception

Why it's important to establish a culture for the trust

A strong, healthy trust relies on having an agreed and positive culture within the ownership and trustees; this includes all parties involved with the trust. The culture could be described as a code of conduct or terms of engagement. It's a framework to enable healthy, robust discussions and decision making as owners and trustees.

Trusts that are successful generally have cultures that focus on things like:

  • respect and trust
  • positive, open communication
  • inclusiveness
  • māoritanga and your tikanga
  • strong relationships.

Knowing the expectations around how everyone should work together will help things run smoothly, and give you a way to deal with things if they don't.  

What to consider

Your culture is about what your priorities are, and the way that you'll do things. For example:

How will we make decisions? 

  • Will there be a fixed chain of command or a democratic process?
  • How will we incorporate this in our trust order?
  • Will we include owners or the wider community in decision making?

How will we communicate and engage with our people, and vice versa?

  • Will there be a fixed process for speaking during hui – for example, only one person speaking at a time – or something looser?
  • How transparent will the trust be with information, and how can whānau request information from us?
  • How regularly will the trust engage and communicate with owners?
  • How accessible will our core trust documents be?

How will we interact with our stakeholders? 

  • Do we want to work collaboratively with suppliers or just tell them what we want?
  • Will we partner with others, and if so, how will we choose our partners?
  • How will we ensure these partners meet our requirements?

How will we build and strengthen relationships?

  • What are our external relationships?
  • Who will manage our external relationships, and how will they represent the trust while doing so?