Approval Date
31 May 2022
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
31 May 2024
Deputy Chief Executive: Partnership and Equity
Baldrige Criteria
Purpose and Background


To provide guidance and clarity in the practice of koha presentation by Otago Polytechnic Limited.



Koha are usually unconditional gifts and given with the intention of aroha - kindness, goodwill, support, and/or appreciation of the occasion.

Otago Polytechnic Limited acknowledges the important practice of koha as an integral part of tikaka Māori.

Otago Polytechnic Limited representatives may give appropriate koha on behalf of their respective activity to preserve the Polytechnic’s recognition of tikaka Māori.

Any koha given on behalf of Otago Polytechnic Limited should be reflective of the occasion.


Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, and subsequent amendments


Kaumātua is an elder.

Koha is a gift or contribution made in a Māori cultural context, usually in recognition of hospitality or some beneficial action or service. Koha reflects the mana of both the donor and the recipient and embodies the philosophy of reciprocity. Contextually, koha can be a gift or money received or paid out as an integral element in a Māori ritual of encounter. Koha does not include normal expenses such as marae hireage, food and resources.

Mana Whenua are the local hapu of the place where Otago Polytechnic Limited is situated.

Pōua and Tāua are Kāi Tahu terms for their elders/grandparents.

Taoka is property, treasure, or apparatus.

Takata Whenua are indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand

Tikaka Māori or tikaka-ā-hapū are customary values, and practices, protocols and rules as defined by Mana Whenua.

Unconditional Gift as it relates to this policy is defined as:

  • a donation where the donor does not expect any goods or services in return for the donation. When koha is received as an unconditional gift, it is not liable to Goods and Services Tax (GST);  and/or
  • where the recipient does not expect any form of remuneration for any assistance offered or delivered.
  1. When Koha is given
    • 1.1 Koha is given within the spirit and practice of Tikaka-ā-Iwi when Mana Whenua are invited to participate and/or support Otago Polytechnic Limited in events or activities, and where no set fee or payment is expected.
    • 1.2 Otago Polytechnic Limited representatives as Manuhiri (visitors) are to give a koha when visiting or staying on a Marae regardless of the length of duration of stay.
    • 1.3 Koha is to be given when Otago Polytechnic Limited representatives attend occasions that involve a Powhiri/welcome or Mihi Whakatau, or when visiting Marae for ceremonies and more formalised gatherings.
    • 1.4 The following are examples of when to gift koha:
      • Kaumatua assistance with traditional welcomes, Whakawātea and rituals relevant to the developments of Otago Polytechnic Limited.
      • Kaumatua/Mana Whenua guidance, support and cultural mentoring to an Otago Polytechnic Limited staff member or College/Service Area.
      • Visits to Marae.
      • Taki Aue or Takihaka.
    • 1.5. In instances where Otago Polytechnic Limited staff members may be conducting one-on-one or very small and informal meetings a koha is not normally required.  Although provision of kai/food is expected through enacting maanaki ki te takatap.  As an option, staff members may consider taking some kai/food for morning/afternoon tea as a goodwill gesture.

2. Giving of the Koha

    • Kaumātua, Kaikōrero, or orator are the appropriate people to speak and give the koha on behalf of Otago Polytechnic Limited during the Powhiri.
    • It is not always expected that an individual Otago Polytechnic Limited staff member or representative(s) pay koha from their personal monies on behalf of or when representing Otago Polytechnic Limited. However, it is appropriate for staff members who wish to give a personal koha to do so.
    • If there is a group of Otago Polytechnic Limited representatives, only one (1) koha should be given which represents the entire group or organisation.


  1. Appropriateness of Koha
    • 3.1 The amount of koha should reflect the occasion, the mana, and prestige of the reason for attending the hui. If the Chief Executive, Board Chair or Te Kāhui Manhkura/Executive Leadership Team are attending a hui, then a koha which is befitting the rank and the status of the hui being attended should be given and should reflect the status of their role.
    • 3.2 Koha should not be confused with payments for services, i.e., when attending a hui at one of the paptipu Marae or function the koha or gift is just that, and no receipt is expected.
    • 3.3 Separate and in addition to koha there may be catering, accommodation, and venue hireage costs, for which an invoice is required. These costs are to be confirmed and agreed upon separately with the hosts prior to the event taking place unless there is a specific request from the host that only a koha be given.
    • 3.4 In some situations, it is appropriate for koha to be in the form of gifts and Taoka which is appropriate to the donor and the division being represented, e.g., books/book token(s); plants, petrol vouchers, or vouchers may be presented to Mana Whenua as a koha. 
    • 3.5 Generally, money in the form of a cheque or cash may be given as a koha.
    • 3.6 Koha is to be allocated to account code 349 and the appropriate activity budget for which the hui is being attended.
    • 3.7 Budget Managers have delegated authority to authorise koha financial contributions from their respective budgets

Approved by:

Dr. Megan Gibbons

Chief Executive

Date 31 May 2022

megan gibbons signature



Policy Version 1: Previously Coded: MP0356