In December 2018 the Waitangi Tribunal formally initiated the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry into claims alleging prejudice to wāhine Māori arising from Crown breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, in both historical (pre-September 1992) and contemporary times (the Inquiry).
Kaupapa inquiries are thematic inquiries by the Waitangi Tribunal into claims which raise nationally significant issues affecting Māori or groups of Māori as a whole, in similar ways, where the claim have not previously been heard.
Approximately 120 statements of claim raising mana wāhine issues have been filed with the Waitangi Tribunal between the 1990s and February 2019. Issues raised in the statements of claim relate to the alleged damage caused by Crown actions to customary roles of wāhine Māori, and their relationships with their lands and whakapapa, along with the impact on the status and wellbeing of wāhine Māori in relation to:
- employment, including the wāhine Māori pay gap and pay equity
- whānau and sexual violence
- the justice system, including the incarceration of wāhine Māori
- child protection and welfare
- wāhine Māori in leadership and decision-making roles (including in local government and natural resource management)
- education, health, and housing.
The Crown’s participation in the Inquiry is being led by the Minister for Women, Hon Julie Anne Genter, and the Ministry for Women, in partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry for Māori Development, and other relevant departments.