Introducing critical tiriti policy analysis: A new tool for anti-racism from Aotearoa New Zealand

H Came, Dominic O'Sullivan, T. McCreanor

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review



Te Tiriti o Waitangi (te Tiriti) was negotiated between the British Crown and Indigenous Māori in 1840. Māori understood the agreement as an affirmation of political authority and a guarantee of British protection. The Crown understood it as a cession of sovereignty. Te Tiriti places a mandatory obligation on the Crown to protect and promote Māori health that has not been upheld.
Description of the problem

Ethnic inequities in health outcomes have been allowed to flourish in Aotearoa. We explored to what extend te Tiriti could be a anti-racism tool that health policy could be usefully evaluated against?

We introduce Critical Tiriti Analysis (CTA) a new form of critical policy analysis. CTA involves reviewing policy documents against the Preamble and the Articles of the Māori text of te Tiriti o Waitangi. The review process has five defined phases: i) orientation; ii) close reading; iii) determination; iv) strengthening practice; and v) Māori final word. We present a working example of CTA using the New Zealand Government’s Primary Health Care Strategy. This policy analysis found poor alignment with te Tiriti overall and the indicators of its implementation that we propose.

This paper provides direction to public health practitioners wanting to improve Māori health outcomes and ensure Indigenous engagement, leadership and substantive authority in the policy process. It offers an approach to analysing policy that is simple to use and, inherently, a tool for advancing social justice.
Key messages

CTA is an anti-racism tool for holding the Crown accountable for Māori health.

CTA could be adapted and applied in other colonial contexts to advance Indigenous health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-249
Number of pages1
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numberSupplement 5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2020


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