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9. Design for our unique constitutional and cultural environment

  • Co-design and co-create to include Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique cultural, geographical political context from the beginning.
  • Recognise the legal, constitutional responsibilities, principles, and obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  • Engage with users to create services that are culturally inclusive, with particular reference to Te reo Māori and Tikanga concepts.
  • Design services recognising the diverse and growing complexity of cultural and linguistic expectations of citizens.

Why it matters

New Zealand has a unique unwritten constitution which is founded on the Te Tiriti o Waitangi – The Treaty of Waitangi, which requires specific obligations to be met. Legislation is fluid in this space and changes the operating environment for service providers.

Services have to be culturally inclusive; particularly in reference to Te reo Māori and Tikanga concepts. For example, just translating text doesn’t mean it is accessible without taking into account the means and cultures of consumption and engagement.

New Zealand is becoming increasingly diverse, digital services need to be inclusive of all cultural backgrounds and perspectives.

The geographic situation of New Zealand requires a broader set of services for Pasifika and non-European cultures.

As we move though the digital age, cultures are inevitably impacted. It is part of our due diligence to recognise past mistakes and to protect the unique characteristics of Māori. Māori knowledge, experience, tools and skills ought to be viewed as a resource for use in design solutions.

The complexity and unique landscape around cultural and linguistic worldviews means that New Zealand’s vibrant diversity requires specific consideration through design thinking and needs to develop and adopt ways which support co-design across cultures.

How to meet this principle

As a minimum you should demonstrate:

  • services are available in languages fit for the customer needs
  • diligence in taking the opportunities to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, experience, tools and skills as a strength for use in design solutions.
  • services have been co-designed or created through consultation with a range of cultural leaders
  • legislative obligations have been covered off and are fit-for-purpose.

Rules, requirements and directives to follow:


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