Building cultural bridges and learning from each other

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Matariki – the Maori new year – is a time for New Zealanders to celebrate community and learn more about Maori culture. This year, IAG is celebrating Matariki by building cultural bridges and developing support for the Maori community.

Michael Carswell, NZI’s GM Corporate and Facilities, recently attended a hui facilitated by Marsh to kick start a deepening relationship between the Maori community from central New Zealand, IAG and its broker partners Marsh.

“For many it was their first experience talking to an insurer, so being there to meet them face to face was particularly important, both from a relationship perspective but also culturally it was the right thing to do,” Michael said.

Representatives were present from the Maori communities of the lower North and upper South Islands, representing interests including privately owned residential homes, iwi-owned residential developments and corporate operations, and community assets such as marae.

The key learning Michael said about the hui was that it was not just an opportunity for the Maori community to learn from IAG; IAG was there to learn what was important to their community and how it could respond to their needs.

“Things like how we assess the value of carvings at a marae, the story that goes with their creation and what provisions our policies enable for fixing damage to them.

“We learned that an appropriate policy response may not be to provide replacement, but rather enable the community to rebuild these themselves, since it’s in this way that the story of the carving can be preserved,” Michael said.

“By developing our understanding of Maori culture and the protocols and behaviour that are expected, we can better meet our community’s expectations in making their world a safer place.

“For example, writing contracts which take account of particular protocols, like site blessings prior to a demolition.”

Although this initiative is just beginning, on a practical level IAG is already working with Marsh to adapt its policy wording so that our products are more relevant, and to produce these in Te Reo.

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