B3 Effective community involvement

B 3.1  Engage a broad group of stakeholders

Reducing alcohol-related harm is a community issue. Evidence shows that engaging the local community in the design and implementation of prevention initiatives has the potential to improve individual and collective health and wellbeing.

Collaboration involving a range of local stakeholders helps to clarify and improve understanding of local alcohol issues. This ensures communities can undertake evidence-informed activities.

B 3.2  Engage Māori as a priority

B 3.2.1 The need to prioritise Māori

Research consistently shows that Māori experience a higher level of alcohol-related harm than non-Māori.

For example, compared with other New Zealanders, Māori have higher rates of death from alcohol-related causes, are more likely to be apprehended by police for an offence that involves alcohol and are more likely to experience harmful effects in areas like financial position, work, study or employment, injuries and legal problems as a result of their drinking.[1]

It is essential to consult and partner with Māori, both for alcohol licensing and alcohol harm prevention strategies. Māori need to be engaged in determining and implementing policies and approaches to address alcohol-related harm to make certain they are effective for Māori and protect against unintended consequences.[2] There are few examples of such agency collaboration with Māori.

In order for this work to proceed effectively, there is a need for:

  • leadership drive at senior levels in agency organisations to meet their obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi to consult with Māori
  • an effective picture of current alcohol-related harm for Māori that will inform priority areas of action through Māori communities to reduce that harm

Te Hiringa Hauora has partnered with Kokiri ki Tāmaki Makaurau Trust, to undertake a comprehensive alcohol-focused kaupapa Māori health needs analysis. The Ministry of Health is also likely to join the partnership. The project, Waipiro: Kaupapa Māori Tukanga mō te Panoni, will bring a strong Māori voice to the alcohol policy debate, and will enhance the ability of communities to advocate for fewer alcohol licences in their area.

B 3.2.2 Working in partnership with Māori

Government agencies are required to meet Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations in work in alcohol licensing and reducing alcohol-related harm, despite the omission of a Treaty clause in the Act. This includes consulting and working in partnership with Māori and working to create equity for and actively protect Māori. Ensuring Māori partnership, in contrast to consultation only, and self-determination, in line with the tino rangatiratanga aspect of Te Tiriti, are critical in genuine work with Māori to reduce alcohol-related harm. 

Practical options are to:

  • engage with iwi and relevant local Māori organisations alongside tri-agency collaborations and their wider organisations in developing alcohol harm reduction plans
  • ensure planning draws on Māori awareness of issues with alcohol and insights to achieve effective solutions
  • ensure plans consider options for reducing inequity in alcohol-related harm for Māori
  • ensure Māori have a genuine position in planning ie, that expands beyond simple information gathering which adds to already present research fatigue
  • as appropriate, provide information on new outlets and licence renewals to Māori organisations that are positioned to support iwi and Māori communities in objecting; in a South Auckland example, Māori Wardens are engaged to support Māori communities in opposing licensing applications.

There are examples of collaborations that bring Māori voices to the table in decision making related to reducing alcohol harm; such approaches can potentially inform regulatory agencies in their work in collaboration with Māori. These include:


[1] Connor, Broad, Rehm, Vander Hoorn, & Jackson (2005) cited in New Zealand Law Commission. (April 2010). Alcohol in our lives: Curbing the harm.(Law Commission report; no. 114).   

[2] Alcohol Healthwatch submission on the Māori Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into the determinants of wellbeing for Māori children.