Cultural safety is a concept which has been developed by Maori nurses in New Zealand in order to reflect on nursing practice from their point of view as the indigenous minority in our country. The paper contrasts this new concept critically with Leininger's well-known model of transcultural nursing in order to suggest its potential significance. To date work on cultural safety in New Zealand has focused on the attitudes which individual nurses bring to their practice, attempting to change the effects of their social conditioning on their approach to nursing. The paper supports the view that all nursing care is provided in a social context which influences its efficacy, and specifies that the structural elements, such as the institutional context within which nursing care is provided and policies which influence how care is the provided, need to be explicitly recognized. The paper concludes that until the effects on the health care system of inequalities in power between groups in society are addressed we cannot ensure that the needs of persons from minority cultures will be met. Because it illuminates this dimension of nursing care, cultural safety is a concept of general significance for all nurses.