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Category Finance
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, 4 September 2004
Date Policy Took Effect 4 September 2004
Last approved revision 1 May 2019
Sponsor Vice-Chancellor
Responsible officer Financial Controller


Purpose of Policy

In keeping with the University's commitment to acting in a manner consistent with the articles and spirit of the Treaty of Waitangi, the purpose of this policy is to provide guidance in determining the University's contribution to payments of Koha.


Hui (cultural gathering) are an important part of Māori society. Tangi take precedence over all other Hui, and indeed over all other activities. When death occurs in the district, other gatherings are interrupted or cancelled so that the body may lie on the marae.

In historical Māori society (pre 1830) koha was a matter of custom, in the form of kūmara, fish, preserved birds, eels, or any other foods gathered from land or sea in their local areas. In contemporary society most koha is in the form of money.


1. Present, gift, parting or final instruction.

2. For the purposes of this policy, the University of Otago defines 'gift' as unconditional, spontaneous gift (cash, goods or kind) given or received for unsolicited services, as within tikanga Māori. Koha will:

  • be in the form of cash;
  • be paid to external person(s) or non-profit community groups who provide support, or undertake a one-off activity and expect non-payment for such activity or support in return;
  • not be given in lieu of salary or as a payment for service(s) provided;
  • generally not be given by the University to University of Otago employees.

1. Determining University Payments of Koha

a. Procedure for determining University representation at cultural gathering (tangi, hui etc.)

Where staff attend a cultural gathering representing the University, the University will provide a contribution towards koha.


  1. The first point to consider is whether staff will attend in a personal capacity or whether they will attend as formal University representative(s).
    If there is an issue in determining mana or standing of the cultural gathering, advice should be sought from Divisional Heads and/or Director, Office of Māori Development to assist in the determination.
    If it is deemed that attendance will be in a personal capacity, then any koha will be the responsibility of the staff member(s) concerned.
  2. Notification should be made by the staff member(s) of the Hui (including tangi), to their Manager/Supervisor, where possible, before attending the cultural gathering. The staff member(s) will also provide him/her with details of the purpose of the gathering (kaupapa, mate - deceased person etc.) in particular, advice will be sought on:
    1. Importance of the event to the University.
    2. In relation to tangi:
      • the deceased having mana (wisdom, importance); and/or
      • significance and/or prominence within the community; and/or
      • prominence and/or standing in the local or national tertiary sector; and/or
      • association with the University of Otago.
  3. If the University is to be formally represented consideration will have to be given to the level of staff who should attend. In some cases senior University representation (i.e. Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor etc.) will be required. If there is difficulty in determining the level of representation, the Manager/Supervisor should contact the Director, Office of Māori Development to assist in deciding this.
  4. When formally represented, the University will provide koha, which is an unconditional gift. Koha will always be in the form of cash and the Director, Office of Māori Development will provide advice on the size of contribution.

b. Other circumstances where koha payment may be made

Koha as referred to in definitions on page one, may be paid to external non-profit community groups and individuals (non-University employees) in certain circumstances. This may include:

  • acknowledging an individual or non-profit community group who support a conference opening;
  • acknowledging an individual or non-profit community group who support an opening and/or blessing of a new building;
  • where an individual or non-profit community group attend to support/lead a mihi whakatau (welcome) or poroporoaki (farewell or closing of a hui);
  • where prominent guests are welcomed by mana whenua (people of the local area) at the request of the University of Otago.

2. Procedure for Payment of Koha

a. Authorisation procedure for payment(s) of koha

  1. Notification should be made by the staff member to their Manager/Supervisor prior to payment, of the intention to provide a koha payment. The staff member will also provide him/her with:
    1. a brief explanation of the reason for the koha payment; and
    2. the date of the event;
    3. details of who the payment will be made to;
    4. details of the amount of the proposed koha payment.
  2. Manager/Supervisor to make recommendation to Divisional Head for the payment of koha.
  3. The payment of koha, as defined within this policy will be approved by Divisional Head. If there is difficulty in determining whether such a koha payment is in line with this policy, the Manager/Supervisor and/or Divisional Head should contact the Director, Office of Māori Development to assist in any determination.

b. Administration Procedures for payment(s) of koha

Following the approval for koha, as described above, the staff member should email Revenue Management, Finance Services, Shared Services, a copy of documentation as detailed in 2A (i), along with the authorisation of their Divisional Head.

Revenue Management, Finance Services, Shared Services, will arrange for the cash to be collected.

All payments determined as koha under this policy will not be liable for GST, FBT or PAYE, unless paid to staff or former staff (where advice should be sought from the Financial Controller, Financial Services).

Contact for further information

For further information, contact:

Rhonda Bryant
Tel +64 3 479 8738

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