This glossary is a list of Māori and legal terms used throughout this report. It does not contain technical definitions of these terms, but simply describes how they are used in this report.2

Māori terms used in this Report have the meanings set out below:


Sub-tribal group.


Gathering, meeting.


Tribal group.


Guardianship and protection based on the Māori world view.

Kawa whakaruruhau

Cultural safety, recognised in nursing practice as a patient-centred approach to healthcare.

Ngā Kooti Rangatahi

Youth courts held on marae (traditional meeting place).


Upholding dignity for both personal and whānau.


New Zealander of European descent.

Tangata whenua

People of the land. Used to refer to Māori as the indigenous people of New Zealand, or to refer to iwi or hapū associated with a particular geographical area.

Te Ao Māori

A Māori world-view or the Maori dimension of understanding.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi 1840.

TIkanga Māori

The customary system of Māori values and practices that have developed over time, sometimes defined in New Zealand legislation as “Māori customary values and practices”.

Tino rangatiratanga

Self-determination, sovereignty, self-government.

Wāhi tapu

Sacred place, sacred site e.g. a burial ground.


Genealogy, ancestral history, descent.


The process of establishing relationships and relating well to others.


Family group. In the modern context, the term is sometimes used to include friends who may not have any kinship ties to other members.


A relationship, kinship, sense of family connection, through shared experiences of working together which provides a sense of belonging.

2 For further explanation of Māori terms see:

Legal Terms used in this Report have the meanings set out below:

Advance directive

A written or oral statement by which a person makes provision for healthcare decisions in the event that they become incompetent to make such decisions.

Best interests

A standard to guide substitute decision-making that takes into account the will and preferences of the person for whom the decision is being made.


A person’s ability to make their own decisions, e.g. consent or refuse healthcare. The term “competence” is sometimes used with a similar meaning, as well as “decision-making capacity” and “mental capacity”.

Capacity assessment

A clinical interview undertaken by a health practitioner for the purpose of deciding whether a person has decision-making capacity in respect of a specific decision(s). The assessment involves examining the mental processes a person goes through in order to arrive at a decision.

Common law

Law that derives its authority from decisions of the courts (case law) rather than from legislation passed by Parliament.

Court of Protection (COP)

The specialised English court under the Mental Capacity Act which has jurisdiction over the property, financial affairs and the personal welfare of adults who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Cultural competence

A standard of practice for health practitioners that recognises cultural diversity and working in a culturally responsive manner.

Deprivation of Liberty

When a person is under continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave, and the person lacks capacity to consent to these arrangements.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Safeguards introduced under the Mental Capacity Act requiring certain deprivations of liberty to be reviewed and authorised, even if the person is not actively seeking to leave the care arrangement.


A substitute decision-maker appointed by the Court of Protection for a person who lacks capacity to make property or personal welfare decisions.


A person who gives a power of attorney to someone else (an attorney) to make decisions on their behalf.

Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPOA)

A power of attorney made by a person with capacity which continues to operate, or endures, when the person loses capacity.

Habeas corpus

An application for writ of habeas corpus is one of the common law’s oldest causes of action that allows a person to challenge the legality of their detention.

Impaired decision- making capacity

The inability to make legally binding decisions. The term “diminished capacity” is sometimes used with a similar meaning to reflect that capacity or incapacity is not an absolute concept and is decision specific.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)

The Mental Capacity Act equivalent to an enduring power of attorney (EPOA) under the PPPR Act.

Learning disability

A condition giving rise to learning difficulties, especially when not associated with physical disability, including intellectual disability.

Legal agency

The ability to act within the framework of the legal system.

Legal capacity

As understood in human rights law, this term refers to a person’s possession of rights and the ability to act on those rights on an equal basis with others. Legal capacity comprises both legal standing and legal agency.

Legal standing

Being recognised as a person before the law.

Parens patriae

The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to make orders in the best interests of individuals who lack capacity and who are unable to safeguard their own welfare.

Power of Attorney

A document in which a person with capacity appoints another person to make nominated decisions for them.

Property Manager

A substitute decision-maker appointed by the Family Court under the PPPR Act for a person who lacks capacity in respect of their property and financial affairs.

Public Guardian

A statutory office set up under the Mental Capacity Act charged with establishing and maintaining a register of lasting powers of attorney, supervising deputies appointed by the court, and investigating complaints of abuse or referrals regarding adults who lack capacity.

Substitute decision- maker

A person or the court with legal authority to make decisions on behalf of someone else who is unable to make that decision.

Supported decision- making

A process of providing support to people whose decision-making ability is impaired, to enable them to make their own decisions.

Undue influence

Where there is improper pressure or coercion by one person taking advantage of a position of power over another person who may be regarded as vulnerable. A court may set aside a contract or a will and take into account undue influence in deciding whether a person has capacity.

Vulnerable adult

In English law this term refers to an adult who has capacity and therefore is not subject to the Mental Capacity Act but who is nevertheless thought to need protection from abusive relationships under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.

Welfare Guardian

A substitute decision-maker appointed by the Family Court under the PPPR Act for a person who lacks capacity to make care and welfare decisions.

Abbreviations used in this Report:


Article of an international convention


Court of Protection


United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


Compulsory Treatment Order under the MH(CAT) Act


District Health Board


Deprivations of Liberty Safeguards


European Convention on Human Rights 1950


European Court of Human Rights


Enduring Power of Attorney

HDC Code

Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights Regulation 1996


International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights


Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003


Mental Capacity Act 2005 (England and Wales)


Mental Health (Compulsory Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act 1992


Mental Health Act 1983 (England and Wales)


New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990


Office of the Public Guardian (England and Wales)


Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988


  © 2020 Alison Douglass