Master of Indigenous Studies and Master of Māori Studies

The two masters' degrees provide a friendly and supportive learning environment for students through the mixed delivery model which includes, online lectures, one-on-one lecturer-student tutorials, workshops, and Wānanga.

After completing a minimum of four papers either part time or full time, students opt for either a dissertation or thesis. This is the exciting time in a master’s degree where students are often completing research on a topic close to their hearts – it might be to do with their hapū or iwi; the school they teach in; or a social service, health or community issue. Alternatively, your thesis might have a business, economic, art or environmental focus.

Every year an increasing number of our students also choose to write their thesis in te reo Māori. This is expanding the depth and breadth of Māori literature across all subjects – in te reo.

There are 8 options available in the two masters' degrees (Master of Māori Studies and Master of Indigenous Studies). These enable students to study and research fields such as Māori Studies, Environment, Māori Performing Arts, Business, Health, Creative Arts, Indigenous Studies and Education


The master's programme takes at least two years (and no more than six years part-time).  Students can choose between the following options:

  1. four papers (120 credits) and a thesis (120 credits)*; OR
  2. six papers (180 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits)**; OR
  3. seven papers (210 credits) and a research project (30 credits)**

including 30 credits from IHI803 (Research Methods and Methodologies) and in the case of 3, a further 30 credits from IHI806 (Selected Topic).

* This option will lead to the PhD programme offered at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

** These two pathways can lead only, in the first instance, to the Professional Doctorate offered at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

Visit the Careers NZ website for more information on this qualification.

Cross credit application

If you have completed any papers at Level 8 these may be considered for cross-credit in to the programme. Only papers to the value of 60 credits can be cross-credited. When enrolling please indicate if you wish to apply for a cross-credit and an application form will be sent to you.

Online activities

Courses have an online element through eWananga LMS, so access to a laptop and internet connection is needed for postgraduate study.


Commencement and venue of all papers may change and is conditional on achieving required student enrolment numbers and geographical location of students.

Start Date
Sem 1: 7 Feb to 24 Jun 2022, Sem 2: 11 Jul to 25 Nov 2022. Thesis intakes 7 Feb to 25 Nov 2022, or 11 Jul to 14 Apr 2023
40 weeks per year, 20 weeks per semester
Blended learning including noho, wānanga, online learning and self-directed learning
Applications Close
Applications close
7 Feb 2022 (Sem 1), 11 Jul 2022 (Sem 2)
Campus Location
Whakatāne, Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tai Tokerau
View link for details
Pathway to
View link for details
Paper or Research project, $1519.00 each. Dissertation, $3039.00 per year. Thesis, $3691.00 per year.

Thesis (120 credits)

The thesis embodies the results obtained by a candidate in an investigation relating to some part of the subject of specialisation. Choose the discipline that relates to your topic:

IND800 - Indigenous
MAO800 - Māori
AKO800 - Education
MPA800 – Māori Performing Arts
MIB800 – Māori/Indigenous Business
TAI800 - Environment
TOI800- Creative Arts
ORA800 – Health Studies

IHI801 Research Project (30 credits)

  • Description: The research project embodies the results obtained by a candidate in an investigation relating to some part of the subject of specialisation as outlined in the student's research proposal and as supervised by the Supervisor. The research project will entail a literature review, research methodology/methods and results of a research investigation. The research project shall not normally exceed 10,000 words.

IHI802 Dissertation (60 credits)

  • Description:  The dissertation embodies the results obtained by a candidate in an investigation relating to some part of the subject of specialisation as outlined in the student's research proposal and as supervised by the Supervisor. The dissertation contains a thorough literature review, research methodology/methods and results of an extended research investigation. It usually doesn't exceed 20,000 words.

IHI805 Special Topic - Māori and Indigenous Futures - The Gift of Intergenerational Thinking (Subject to approval) (30 credits) 

Kaiako:  Prof Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Course Type:  Elective

  • Description: Our futures- what’s time got to do with it? This course focuses on three things: (1) inter-relational thinking about futures (2) futures scenarios across contexts and (3) planning for our futures. This course invites us to imagine, think, research, discuss and plan our futures as whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori and Indigenous Peoples. The course will explore a series of scenarios covering for example, whakapapa futures, moana and whenua futures, tikanga and mātauranga futures. We will hear the perspectives of different Māori and Indigenous thinkers, artists, and practitioners on our futures. Students will draw on Kaupapa Māori and decolonising approaches to engage in some creative and strategic imagining and planning work.

IHI806 Selected Topic (30 credits)

Kaiako:  Professor Paul Kayes

  • Description: This course enables students to study in depth selected topics from the field of Indigenous or Māori Studies through a programme of readings, seminars, and directed research. Students will be supervised by a lecturer in whose area they are studying. The student will produce a research based project as a part of their assessment. This is a supervised topic.

COURSES (30 credits)


IHI803 Research Methods and Methodologies

Kaiako:  Dr Gary Leaf (Semester 1) and Professor Paul Kayes (Semester 2)

Course Type:  Core

Description: This paper will prepare students for the research component of their degree. Students will become aware of a range of ethical considerations informing future projects of research they may undertake and will develop familiarity with associated research jargon.

IHI808 Kaitiakitanga

Kaiako:  Miki Roderick (Semester 1)

Course Type:  Elective

Description:This course examines the current definitions and issues surrounding the concept of Kaitiakitanga relating to contemporary Iwi/ Māori experiences, challenges and potential considerations for current and future development options. Consideration and critique of current applications are examined in terms of relevancy and alignment to traditional cultural practices particularily as it relates to engagement with mainstream authorities including communities. Central to these discussions will be the interrogation of applied mātauranga and āhuatanga Māori mechanisms as a means of informing as well as measuring and/or evaluating current interventions relating to sustainable best practice applications of resource management.

IHI812 Mana Wahine Leadership

Kaiako: Prof Virginia Warriner (Semester 1)

Course Type:  Elective

Description: This paper will undertake research where Māori women’s leadership contributes to Māori and Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination. Mana Wāhine underpins Māori women’s leadership theories, principles and practices. ‘Herstories’ are used to examine Māori women’s discourses of mātauranga wāhine, tikanga Māori, the politics of difference and diverse realities that affirm Mana Wāhine leadership.

IHI813 Contemporary Māori/Indigenous Policy Development

Kaiako: Miki Roderick (Semester 2)

Course Type:  Elective

Description:This paper will critically examine and critique the conceptual frameworks and applications of policy development across a range of settings and experiences as it relates to Māori/Indigenous advancement. Moreover, this paper will provide students with culturally appropriate theoretical and practical policy frameworks for successful engagement within Māori/Indigenous best practice organisational settings.

MAO815 Advanced Study of Mātauranga Māori

Kaiako: Dr Gary Leaf (Semester 2)

Course Type:  Elective

Description: This course incorporates the notion of knowledge in its broadest sense, as it is associated with the many cultures of Māori/Indigenous communities, past and present. Research and analysis will be centred on defining the concept of the term Mātauranga Māori and the examination of its characteristics with emphasis on changes in perception over time.

MAO820 Te Whakarauora (Te Reo)

Kaiako: Dr Agnes McFarland (Semester 1)

Course Type:  Elective

Description: Ko tēnei pepa Paerua, ko tāna he tātari, wetewete i te tino toi mataora o te karanga, poroporoaki, whaikōrero me ōna hononga ki ngā taumata kōrero o Toi te kupu, Toi te mana, Toi te whenua.

He āhuatanga nui tonu ki te āta tātari, āta whakawāwā i ngā kōrero ā-waha, ā-tuhituhi o ngā kawa, me ngā tikanga hāngai tonu ki te karanga, poroporoaki, me te whaikōrero hai whakaara i te nui, i te ora, me te hā o te reo.

MAO822 Te Reo o te Mōteatea

Kaiako: Prof Taiarahia Black (Semester 1)

Course Type:  Elective

Description: This core subject of this paper is mōteatea. Mōteatea will be examined in the reo and English in terms of its analysis, interpretation, inquiry of advanced Māori oral and written literature relevant to Mātaatua Waka; whānau, hapū and iwi-marae wānanga-mōteatea. Traditional and contemporary mōteatea contains insightful poetic commentaries, philosophies, values, biographies, prophetic identities, quotes, biblical passages, historical literature that explain complex views on a range of important and endure knowledge issues. 

MAO823 Advanced Māori Oral and Written Literature

Kaiako: Prof Taiarahia Black (Semester 2)

Course Type:  Elective

Description: This course examines and gives Reo and English analysis, interpretation, inquiry of advanced Māori oral and written literature relevant to Mātaatua Waka; whānau, hapū and iwi-marae wānanga. This paper brings together relevant, enduring literature to support the oral traditions of knowledge legacy of marae-tikanga protocols and etiquette to ensure marae-tikanga within the whānau, hapū and iwi knowledge is sustainable into the future. Key concepts of teaching practice include the oral traditions of whaikōrero (formal speech) and karanga (ceremonial calls), whakatauāki (proverbs), pepeha (tribal sayings), karaipiture, (biblical passages), tauparapara (chants), mōteatea (sung-poetry) kōrero tuku iho (inherited stories) and kōrero paki (creative amusing stories).

MIB810 Advanced Māori/Indigenous Economic Development

Kaiako: Miki Roderick (Semester 1 in Whakatāne)

Course Type:  Elective

Description: In this paper, students will gain an understanding of the complexities of balancing competing or complementary economic influences facing Māori and indigenous communities. More specifically it will examine traditional and contemporary notions of economic development, as well as relevant theory, and its application in Māori and indigenous contexts. Furthermore, this paper will provide students with theoretical frameworks and futures-oriented solutions, which will enable them to develop, apply and implement economic development models within Māori and indigenous settings.

REO803 Tā Te Māori Rangahau Kōrero

Kaiako: Dr Agnes McFarland (Semester 2)

Course Type:  Core - Te Reo Māori Thesis writers

Description:  Ko te ngako o te kaupapa nei he wānanga i ngā tūāhuatanga o te rangahau mō te hunga kei te tuhituhi ki te reo Māori, kei te whai hoki i te tirohanga Māori.  Ka āta tirohia te āhua o ngā putunga rangahau a te Māori, mō te Māori anō, i tuhia ki te reo Māori, i whāi rānei i ngā tikanga a te Māori hei huarahi rangahau mā rātou e mārama ai te āhua o tā te Māori tāna rangahau kōrero.  Ko te tikanga ia he āta wānanga i ngā whare kōrero, i ngā marae kōrero, i ngā pātaka kōrero o te Māori, ngā āhuatanga i kīia ai te Māori he iwi whai tikanga, he kawa anō ōna hei āhuatanga rangahau māna.  Ka mutu ko te reo Māori te tāhuhu o te kaupapa nei.  Māna e kōkiri, māna anō e hua ai te ora o te mātauranga, o te wānanga, o te rangahau ki te whai ao, ki te ao mārama.

TAI805 Freshwater Use and Management

Kaiako: Prof Virginia Warriner (Semester 2)

Course Type:  Elective

Description: This course examines freshwater fisheries and catchment issues for Māori and how these issues are managed in today’s environment. It examines the changes from traditional models of freshwater management to modern day ‘conflicts’ with use of freshwater systems by large corporates (e.g., power, dairy and forestry companies), and the pollution problems being encountered by marae, hapū, iwi. This course is designed to assist students gain skills in freshwater system and catchment management by being required to think critically about the various competing pressures on those freshwater systems.

TOI803 Te Tapere nui ā-Whatonga (subject to approval)

Kaiako: Dr Haturini McGarvey (Semester 2)

Course Type:  Elective

Description: This paper provides a post-graduate level introduction to the various methods and genre of Māori storytelling. This paper will also explore the origins and evolution of Māori storytelling and its importance to the identity of whānau, hapu and iwi. The paper familiarizes students with a range of Māori storytelling techniques, styles, mediums, and language with the aim of developing an in-depth understanding of the skill set and knowledge base required to create pakiwaitara or pūrākau (Māori storytelling or narration). This paper will assist in developing the various genres of te reo pōhewa (creative language) and its application and significance to the art of Māori storytelling.

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Whakapā mai/Contact us

Dr Gary Leaf
National Programme Co-ordinator - Masters Programmes

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