Embracing Indigenous culture in military organizations: the experience of Māori in the New Zealand military

Grazia Scoppio


This article builds on a 2007 research on Indigenous peoples in the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) which identified best practices from New Zealand that Canada could draw upon to enhance participation of Indigenous peoples within the Canadian Armed Forces. Using organizational culture theory as a conceptual framework, this article further investigates the main approaches and practices that have enabled a positive partnership with Māori and the successful inclusion of Māori culture in the NZDF. Specifically, the paper investigates the mechanisms used by the NZDF and the internal and external environments of the organization supporting the participation of Indigenous groups in the New Zealand military. The discussion explores ways in which Indigenous practices and customs can be incorporated into other military systems and protocols.  The paper concludes that, among military organizations, the NZDF is a leader in transforming the organizational culture by enabling the organization to embrace Indigenous culture and empowering Indigenous members within their ranks.



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