Who are Māori Wardens?

Aroha ki te Tangata. Nō nānahi, i te rā nei, mō ake tonu atu.

Caring for the people. Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Māori Wardens (Ngā Wātene Māori) are a longstanding Māori institution. Our history goes back to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. We and our predecessors have been supporting our whānau, hapū and iwi at a grassroots level since that time.

Today, Māori Wardens continue to serve our communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. We work closely with others to serve those most in need. Māori Wardens work with whānau, Māori organisations, community groups and government agencies.

We are not police, but we do have some special enforcement powers under the Māori Community Development Act 1962.

Māori Wardens appointed by the Minister

Māori Wardens are drawn from the communities they work in. They are appointed by the Minister for Māori Development for a three year term. After the three years, Māori Wardens can be reappointed by Te Puni Kōkiri.

The Māori Wardens today…

Māori Wardens have always served their communities in the broadest possible way. While we are a Māori institution, we have never restricted ourselves to serving Māori communities only.

Our regions and local associations provide services to all people in need, whoever they are and whatever their background.

Some examples of the work by our regions, districts and local associations are: providing training programmes to youth, providing food and shelter to whānau and communities in need, and responding to communities in crisis (e.g. during COVID lockdowns and flooding events in Auckland and on the East Coast).

Our Māori Wardens are also called upon to support the community by keeping the peace at tangihanga, ahurei, and major events.