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Piki mai rā, kake mai rā!

Whakakarongo ake ki te tangi a te manu nei a te hōkioi.

Kei te tihi o ngā maunga kōrero o te motu, e korihi nei ki rau mānia, ki rau kāinga, ki rau awaawa, ki te ihi, ki te wehi, ki te tapu.

Nau mai haere mai!

E ngā iwi o te motu tēnā koutou katoa, me ō tātou aituā.

Tēnei te Kaunihera Māori, Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i te Reo, Ngā Heamana o Ngā Iwi, Te Rōpū Kaitiaki o Te Huarahi Tika, me te Kotahitanga Māori mō te Aratūātea te tangi atu nei ki a koutou ki ngā iwi o te motu, ki ngā rōpū whai pānga katoa, me te hunga tautoko, kia whakakotahi tātou i a tātou mō tēnei take nui, mō te aratūātea me te rangatiratanga!

Anei ngā mea i whakataukītia ai e ngā tūpuna, ko te kaha, ko te uaua, ko te pakari.




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The Māori Spectrum Working Group (MSWG) was established in May 2019 to secure Māori rights and interests in the telecommunications spectrum, to negotiate with the Crown, Māori, and the telecommunications sector, and to develop an enduring solution that will ultimately hold and manage those interests. Find out who we are  and what we do.

Why now?

In 2019, the Government announced it would enable further development of our national telecommunications infrastructure by providing access (via an auction process) to an existing band of spectrum where the existing rights have expired.


The spectrum, located in the 3.5GHz band would be allocated for use in providing 5G services. The access would be for short-term rights until October 2022, when all existing rights would have expired, and a further term of 20 year (tbc) rights would be auctioned.

The Crown's preparations for spectrum allocations by way of auction, in 2020 and again in 2022 sparked renewed focus on ownership and access rights for Māori. While Māori, including claimant groups on the MSWG, continue to seek a settlement, the Crown recognises that Māori have an interest in spectrum.

In December 2019, Minister of Communications Kris Faafoi announced that 50MHz would be set aside for Māori as “a stepping-stone towards a long-term arrangement from 2022, between Māori and the Crown”.

What's the opportunity?


Māori have a unique opportunity for transformative change - to generate resources, build digital skills and capacity, and carve out a path to a more connected future for our people. This is an opportunity to accelerate Māori participation in the telecommunications sector towards delivering economic, cultural, social and environmental benefits.

A programme to build our capability and realise the benefits in spectrum-related industries is being developed. For example, improving connectivity, particularly for rural communities and Māori-owned businesses whose needs have not yet been met, and possible use cases for Māori-owned businesses in the primary sector.

He tihi maunga, he pari kārangaranga. Tukua taku iwi kia kōrero. From the peaks of mountains, the echoing cliffs. Let everyone speak.

Piripi Walker, Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i Te Reo.

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The Māori Spectrum Working Group comprises representatives of Treaty of Waitangi claimants and others who are negotiating with Government Ministers and officials to oversee Māori interests and engagement in radio spectrum, and to reach an enduring solution.


The claimant groups are Ngā Kaiwhakapūmau i Te Reo (Wellington Māori Language Board) and the New Zealand Māori Council, and groups with a long association with Māori interests in spectrum including Te Huarahi Tika Trust, Māori telecommunications industry specialists and the Iwi Chairs Forum.

These groups have a decades long history of advocating for spectrum for Māori.


Register to receive updates here​.


The Māori Spectrum Working Group has gathered to work through what that means for us as Māori, and how our interests will be managed. Our goals are to:

  • work alongside Māori communities, interest groups and Iwi to create a permanent entity that leverages the radio spectrum in support of Māori economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing

  • negotiate a long-term solution with the Crown that recognises the shared Māori-Crown interests in spectrum

To help us do that, a series of hui have been held in-person and online to gauge the needs of Māori groups, Iwi and communities, and further hui will be held from time to time.

Register to receive updates here​.

Who we are
What we do
Where to next



Māori have been involved in the telecommunications sector since the 1800s. The history of telecommunications in Aotearoa is speckled with "firsts".


The first undersea cable in 1876 was installed on land gifted by Māori. The first international voice call was between Native Affairs Minister Sir Apirana Ngata and Australia’s acting Prime Minister. The first words were believed to be, "Kia ora". Māori efforts to contest a place in access to frequencies led to the establishment of Iwi Radio Stations, Māori Television and later 2degrees Mobile - all initiated by Māori.


Waitangi Tribunal claims

Māori access to and ownership of radio spectrum has been an ongoing issue, and we have largely been consumers rather than architects and innovators. The WAI11, Te Reo Māori claim in 1986 foreshadowed the emergence of Māori language broadcasters, who fought for the reservation of AM frequencies for a network of Māori radio stations. Since 1984, four Waitangi Tribunal claims relating to radio spectrum have been based on spectrum as a ‘taonga’ - of special value to Māori. While, Māori and the Crown have not reached an enduring solution, there have been positive outcomes for all New Zealanders as a result of Māori involvement.

FM radio frequencies


In 1990, the Waitangi Tribunal reported on the WAI26 and WAI150 claims for the allocation of FM radio frequencies, and recommended the allocation of FM radio frequencies for Māori.


3G spectrum


In 1999, the WAI776 claim for the allocation of 2100MHz spectrum was lodged by Rangiaho Everton at the Waitangi Tribunal under urgency. The Tribunal found in favour of the claim, however this was not accepted by the Government. Instead, it established Te Huarahi Tika Trust (THTT) with a one-off fund of $5 million, and the right to purchase a block of 2100 MHz spectrum on behalf of Māori at a five percent discount – costing approximately $14 million. After a long process of regulatory changes sought by Te Huarahi Tika Trust, the group and its partners raised the investment needed to launch 2degrees Mobile.

2degrees Mobile had an immediate positive impact. As the third player in the mobile sector, the new company was at the forefront of delivering competitive rates and improved value across the whole market. It drove fees improvements across the telecommunications sector, which resulted in economic and employment benefits for all users. Just two years later, an independent study reported that 2degrees Mobile had:


  • added $2.24 billion of benefit to the national economy

  • created 574 new jobs from its inception to December 2011

  • saved consumers $1.36m, an average saving of 21 percent

4G spectrum

Prior to the 2012 auction of the 4G 700MHz spectrum, there was a concerted effort between the Crown and Māori to reach an agreement over rights to spectrum. A cabinet paper was jointly developed between Treaty Claimants and officials from the Ministry of Economic Development (now known as MBIE). However, despite being ready in August 2010, it didn’t make it to Cabinet until a year later. Cabinet declined to make a decision and referred it back to Ministers. In September 2011, the Government rejected Māori calls for spectrum to be treated as a taonga.

In 2012, the Māori Spectrum Coalition was formed by Waitangi Tribunal Claimants. Again, a joint paper was presented to the Ministers of Māori Affairs, and Communications. In 2013, the Government announced details for the 700MHz spectrum (4G) auction and declined to allocate any spectrum to Māori.

In 2013, the WAI2224 claim was lodged, objecting to the auction of frequencies in the 700MHz band. The Waitangi Tribunal responded by saying that it had already ruled on the matter in favour of Māori.


The Crown set up a $30 million Māori Digital Development Fund (later renamed Ka Hao) to be used over five years to address the critically low engagement of Māori in the technology sector. The funds were to help to build capacity for high value technology jobs, businesses, education and training – and support the rejuvenation of the Māori language using digital technologies.

The Māori Spectrum Coalition advocated that the fund should be managed by Māori and a distribution and investment model developed. Instead, the Government allocated the funds to its Ministry of Māori Development – Te Puni Kokiri, and a contestable funding model was adopted.


5G spectrum

The Government’s preparations for short term spectrum allocations of 5G in 2020 followed by long term allocations in 2022, sparked a renewed focus on Māori ownership and access rights. While the Crown doesn’t support a settlement claim, it does recognise that Māori have an interest in telecommunications spectrum.

5G is the fifth-generation mobile technology and the next global standard in wireless connectivity. It will bring faster browsing speeds, low latency (make things quicker to upload) and increased network capacity. The improved capability will create new industries and revolutionise existing ones. The initial band to be auctioned is in the 3.5GHz band.


The Māori Spectrum Working Group (which primarily consists of members of the earlier Māori Spectrum Coalition) was formed to work through what that could mean for Māori, and how we might manage our interests.


The MSWG goals are to:

  • work alongside Māori communities, interest groups and Iwi to create a permanent Māori Spectrum Rights entity that leverages the radio spectrum to support Māori economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing

  • agree a long-term solution with the Crown that recognises the shared Māori-Crown interests in spectrum

Register to receive updates here​.



The Māori Spectrum Working Group took the idea of developing a permanent Spectrum Rights Management entity to be established after October 2022 out to Māori communities, Māori businesses, Iwi, and others. This relates to when the Government has scheduled the long-term spectrum allocation auctions.


During the two years leading up to the long term auctions, a series of online and/or in-person national and regional hui (Covid-19 levels permitting) were held to gauge the needs of Māori groups, Iwi and communities and seek input and recommendations.

As a result, support was given by various hui and groups to progress to a Memorandum of Understanding with the Crown, which was signed in February 2022.

The next step is to develop a legislative mechanism with Māori, by which an enduring arrangement with the Crown can be supported through Cabinet. The draft legislation is in progress.


Please register to receive any updates here​.

"Kua whiwhi a Tane i nga hiringa o te ra, kia ora ake ai nga tini me nga mano a Papatuanuku raua ko Ranginui. Tane has harnessed radiation emanating from the sun to enable life's existence between the sky above and the earth below."

Haami Piripi, Iwi Chairs Forum.

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