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7The Maori and the Pakeha


Conflict identification

Cultural conflict is clearly evident in the organization and more so between Ngaire and her manager. Ngaire seized the moment by selecting a Marae for the social gathering which her manager organized for all the Maori women who worked for the organization. According to a Maori people, the Marae is a completely fundamental part of their lives since it is considered as the most appropriate place for them to hold discussions, celebrations and they also conduct farewells for the deceased in such places. In addition to this, communities that share kinships such as whanau, iwi and hapu can meet and interact at these social places (Furey, 2002). Unlike in the ancient times, where marae’s were only gathering places, current ones are well equipped with enough accommodation for the communities and visitors such as tourists. The Maori have a unique culture of conducting a complex ritual for first-time visitors of the Marae and especially those belonging to the Pakeha community. The ritual was introduced with the aim of making the visitors conversant with the culture, protocols and other rituals that they might see during their visit in the Marae (Furey, 2006).

Considering that the Marae has become an open place for any person, the Pakeha people can attend a Hui if they are interested in learning the history of the Maori. Although many of the rituals which included bloodshed were greatly misunderstood, many of the non-Maori’s have come to the knowledge that they are simply cultural practices and not practices to bind them to the Maori culture. However, most of this stages involved in a more reserved Hui are slowly diminishing with very little happening especially in diplomatic meetings (Kokiri, 2000). Ngaire was well aware of this factor and she knew that all the participants of the hui would be comfortable in the Marae even those who were non-Maori.

The manager of the organization who disagrees with the idea of holding the hui in a Marae is a pakeha. The Pakeha are described to be local Europeans who live among the Maori tribes. For many centuries, the Pakeha people have been handled with respect by the Maori people due to the prestige and profits they brought to their land. According to the British government, the Maori’s way of life could not handle the Europeans expensive way of life. This brought a lot of conflicts for many years which caused the two communities to sign a treaty as a way of harmonizing them. The issue persists to date and the Pakeha people still regard the Maori as reserved due the simple rituals they undertake in the Marae. New Zealand has many prestigious social places with most being the investment of the British government. They were established to avoid the Pakeha from seeking accommodation in the low class Marae restaurants (Jones et al, 2000).

Although it is quite clear that Marae have undergone complete makeover in the recent years, the manager still feels that they are not good enough to provide high quality services (Paisley, 2009). Therefore, this becomes an issue of cultural conflict rather than a preference conflict. Ngaire prefers to have the gathering in a place where her cultural practices are predominant but the manager disagrees because he still disregards the culture of the Maori.

Conflict Resolution

The study of organizational culture between the Maori and Pakeha, reveals that conflicts are inevitable part within any given organization especially where indigenous community is involved. As a manager within an organization that is surrounded by the indigenous community, it is within my capacity to understand that conflict are likely to arise when values, goals and interests of different individual or groups are incompatible with each other (Furlong,  2005). Incompatibility may arise due to the fact that people in an organization compete for power, resources, jobs, security and recognition. It is for such reason that as a manager am required to outline strategies that would be effective in resolving conflict focusing on the Pekeha and Maori community (Ohbuchi, 2002).

Managing conflict

It is evident that conflict can be managed in various ways where as a manager one can decide to focus on structural changes or interpersonal relationships. The following are the three main strategies that as a manager I would use to resolve organizational conflict;

Use of constructive action

I believe this is the best approach of managing conflict especially between the Pekeha and Maori. In case of a conflict within my area of management, I assure that the problem is managed properly such that it becomes a positive force as opposed to a negative force which may result to threatening a group or individual within the organization (Dewey, 2001). Seemingly, conflict within the Pekeha and Maori is seen to result to delays of work, lack of action and in extreme cases it may result to complete organizational break down in no constructive action is immediately taken. I understand that unmanaged conflict faces the risk of withdrawal of individuals and unwillingness to effectively work harder.

Understanding cause of conflict

This kind of approach I consider it to be more of an interpersonal approach. It is quite important to understand the root cause of conflict so as to avoid a repeat of such action in the near future (Maravelas, 2005). Within my area of management that comprises of indigenous people, I ensure that an action plan is developed so as to identify a conflict while it is in its initial stages. Thereafter, a wise decision is measured on to whether compromising or agreeing with the issue which is causing the conflict.

Empower people

It is within my belief that empowering people especially those in the indigenous communities is very effective in resolving conflicts within an organization. As this community becomes empowered, they begin to develop “ownership attitude” whereby they are able to view conflict resolution as affecting individual bottom lines (Campomar, 2005). Empowerment of people create an environment where employees openly discuss a conflict thus establishment of creative atmosphere. Due to this creative atmosphere, People opt to adopt new ideas or change more easily thus creating an environment where differences are widely accepted.


Dealing with conflict within an organization is an important function that displays leadership. With today globalization, most managers have acquired conflict management skills. It is important to understand conflict within workplaces is no longer a task to be avoided rather; leaders are expected to embrace it so as to achieve a productive organizational operation.


Furlong, T. (2005). The Conflict Resolution Toolbox: Models and Maps for Analyzing, Diagnosing, and Resolving Conflict.  Ontario: Wiley and Sons.

Dewey E. (2001). Management of Organizational Behavior. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Maravelas, A. (2005). How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press

Campomar, M. (2005). Organizational conflicts perceived by marketing executives. Electronic

Journal of Business and Organization Studies, 10 (1): 22-2

Ohbuchi, K.(2002). Conflict resolution and procedural fairness in Japanese work organizations. Japanese Psychological Research, 44 (2): 107-12.

Furey, L. (2002). Hohoura. A Fourteenth Century Maori Village in Northland. Auckland Museum Bulletin 19.

Furey, L.(2006). Maori Gardening: An Archaeological Perspective. Wellington: Department of


Kokiri, T. (2000). Progress Towards Closing Social and Economic Gaps Between Maori and Non-Maori. Wellington: Government Printer.

Jones, D., Pringle, J. and Shepherd, D.(2000).“Managing diversity” meets Aotearoa/New Zealand», Personnel Review, Vol. 29 , Iss: 3, pp.364 – 380

Paisley, F. (2009). Glamour in the Pacific : cultural internationalism and race politics in the women’s Pan-Pacific.Honolulu : University of Hawaiʻi Press