24 Feb 2012

MFAT staff told to understand Maori culture

6:32 am on 24 February 2012

The responsibility for instilling the values of tikanga Maori in all the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade staff could rest with a single Maori cultural adviser.

Under restructuring plans announced on Thursday, the ministry said it plans to scrap its Maori Policy Unit and hire a kaumatua.

Overall, the government department is expected to cut 305 jobs - in a bid to save $20 - $25 million per year.

Chief executive John Allen says the kaumatua's role would be more than an advisory position.

He says it would be an opportunity to raise cultural awareness among ministry staff.

Mr Allen says the ministry's ambition is to understand, support and connect with Maori.