Orr’s mission to bring Ma¯ori culture to the central bank
Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr is planning to shift the mindset of the institution towards better embracing the cultural diversity of the country.
Orr is part Cook Islander and grew up in a largely Ma¯ori community in the central North Island, and since he took the helm of the Reserve Bank this year, phrases like tikanga
Ma¯ori and te Reo have begun to feature prominently.
Orr was the first of New Zealand’s central bankers to be welcomed with an official po¯whiri in March fronted by the bank’s recently formed waiata group, and at his first press conference announcing the official cash rate in May he greeted journalists in English, Ma¯ori and sign language.
Under his watch, the bank’s Statement of Intent, where it sets out its strategic objectives to the Government for the next four years, highlights its intent to embed te Reo and tikanga Ma¯ori into the culture of the bank.
“This is the first time we have got it up in bold lights as part of one of our key priorities,” Orr explained. “The reason we are embracing the wider tikanga Ma¯ori is simply that diversity and inclusiveness are a very very key part of a successful organisation and why not start with tangata whenua around thinking of diversity. At the very most basic level we have a clear obligation from the Treaty of Waitangi.”
Orr has been mulling over the place of New Zealand’s central bank in the country’s financial ecosystem. He says he would love it to be part of the bank’s branding in the future.
“It’s early days but it is resonating very strongly,” Orr says.
“That’s my personal passion. It’s something that I have been pushing hard.”
The Reserve Bank already uses Ma¯ori names, features and icons in its work, and added the words Te Putea Matua, roughly translated as Father of the Cash, to its latest bank notes as well as Aotearoa alongside New Zealand.
The Reserve Bank has added the words Te Putea Matuato to bank notes.