Ngati Porou, Nuiean
Ko Ngati Porou ahau ki te taha o toku whaea
ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Tuwhakairiora te Hapu
Ko Matahi te marae
Ko Horouta te waka
I am Ngati Porou, Nuiean
My mointain is Hikurangi
My river is the Waiapu
My hapu is Tuwhakairiora
My marae is Matahi
My canoe is Hoeoauta
In 1981 James Barnes assisted Hiwi Tauroa the New Zealand Race Relations Conciliator, develop a Education and Communication strategy to introduce New Zealand communities on things Māori (Taha Māori). A paradigm shift was required to redirect the operational focus of the Race Relations Office from compliance and enforcement to education and awareness.
The REM methodology, developed by James Barnes, has been consistently proven reliable for over thirty years, providing effective and sustainable processes to achieve the results individuals and organisations are seeking in organisational transformation.
In 1990 James Barnes attended the 6th General Assembly, held in Norway, of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, representing the Māori Legal Service Ngā Kaiwhakamarama I Ngā Ture. The Conference organisers appointed James Barnes Special Rapporteur for the Conference.
Apart from having Ngati Porou heritage, James Barnes also has Niuean heritage. This link to Pacifica included being appointed to the Pacific Island Chamber of Commerce Board for a number of years in the 1990s
In 2001, James Barnes was selected by the NGO Sector of New Zealand to be a member of the Official New Zealand Government Delegation to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, held in Durban South Africa. He was the only non-Government member of the Delegation.
In 2008 James Barnes was appointed Deputy Chair of the Manuel Jose Whanau Committee. In 2010 New Zealand Geographic claimed that the Jose whanau was the largest family in New Zealand. In 2015 James Barnes was appointed Acting Chair of the whanau, and then Chair in 2020.
In early 2011 James Barnes was appointed to the Advisory Board of the New Zealand Victoria University of Wellington, Centre for Applied Cross-cultural Research. The Centre is "a recognised international heavyweight in the area of cross-cultural research".
In May 2019 James Barnes was awarded Life Membership of the New Zealand YMCA after a fifty year long, mostly voluntary, association with the Movement. This included being on the Boards of a number of regional YMCAs over the years, 10 years President of the Wellington YMCA, 8 years on the National Board, including representing the New Zealand YMCA movement at various Asia/Pacific regional meetings and conferences and being successfully nominated by the YMCA national board to represent the NGO sector at the 2001 UN anti-racism conference. James Barnes is currently a governing member of the Gisborne YMCA.