Māori Wardens today trace their history back to the Kīngitanga Movement of the 1860’s. The Wardens first received their statutory powers under the Māori Social and Economic Advancements Act 1945, and were under the control of the Tribal Executive Committees in whose districts they operated.

In 1966,the NZ Māori Council supported the establishment of a National Māori Wardens Association.

As community volunteers, Māori Wardens are called to respond to whatever the most Immediate and pressing needs of their communites may be. They provide a visible Presence on the streets to discourge crime, supporting young families with domestic Issues, and providing assistance at large gatherings.

For this reason, the types of work that Māori Wardens perorm can vary greatly between Different areas, and even within a single district. They have also changed signifiacntly over time. Though a core function is in maintaining order at hui.

The versatility of Māori wardens and their capacity to respond to the changing needs Of their communities has been seen recently in the response of Māori Wardens to natural and human disasters, including the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and the clean-up following the grounding of the MV Rena off the coast of Tauranga.Also Covid 19 Pandemic 2020 and Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023.

The NZ Māori Council is the statutory authority for the Māori Wardens under the Act. The Minister may appoint Māori Wardens in respect of any Māori Council District.

A Māori Warden must be nominated for appointment by the relevant District Māori Council. They are appointed by the Minister of Māori Affairs under section 7(1) of the 1962 Act.

Each Warden is appointed for three years and may be reappointed by the Chief Executive of Te Puni Kōkiri on the recommendation of their District Māori Council.

Māori Wardens have been supporting whānau for over 150 years at a grassroots level and have well-established relationships that enable them to work closely with whānau, Māori organisations, community groups and government agencies.

Māori Wardens are not police, but they have legal responsibilities under the Māori Community Development Act 1962. Today there are apporoximatley 700-800 Māori Wardens who volunteer their time to supporting others in our communities.

The strength of Māori Warden is their intimate knowledge of and close connection to their local communities. The guiding principles of a Māori Warden is respect, awhi, aroha and whānaungatanga. The values are.

Rangimarie (Peace)

Manaaki (Kindness)

Kōrero (Talking)

Whakaiti (Humility)

Tautoko (Support)

Pono (Honesty)

(Te Puni Kokiri)
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