Tūhoe economic worldview: mapping to an orthodox framework

A report comparing Ngāi Tūhoe’s interpretation of the economy against orthodox economic frameworks, by economist Shamubeel Eaqub (of Sense Partners).

This work is part of MBIE’s contribution towards He Tapuae Service Management Plan, a 40-year agreement that forms part of the mana motuhake redress in the Tūhoe Deed of Settlement.

The agreement sets out Crown and Tūhoe shared commitments aimed at building whānau and community social and economic resilience, ending Tūhoe dependency on the Crown.

He Tapuae Service Management Plan [PDF 600KB](external link) — New Zealand Government

Tūhoe Deed of Settlement Summary(external link) — New Zealand Government

The report finds there is some alignment at a high level, with aspects of the Treasury’s living standards framework matching some foundational elements of the Tūhoe Te Urewera lifestyle pillars.

Key differences include:

  • Tūhoe consider a 'balance sheet' view of the economy as a social, spiritual and physical web that spans time and space – everything needs to be accounted for: past, present and future. This contrasts with a 'profit and loss' view of the economy, where transactions are counted and valued, often not counting unpaid activities or the negatives.
  • For Tūhoe, the future is not discounted – investments for the future are more important than the present. Time has different meaning, with implications for prioritisation of actions.
  • For Tūhoe, the benefit of the collective results in individual benefits. This differs from the orthodox view of individual benefits adding up to overall societal benefit.
  • Economic outcomes for Tūhoe are derived through use and stewardship or resources, enabled by responsibilities and privileges. This differs from economic returns derived from the ownership of resources, enabled by property rights and legal responsibilities.
  • For Tūhoe, trade-offs within the economy are not possible. For example, you can’t pollute then restore.
Last updated: 12 December 2023