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Māori Studies

What is Māori Studies?

Māori Studies examines the distinctive nature of Māori people - their language, culture past and present, and their place in relation to the other cultures of New Zealand, Polynesia and the world. A living and dynamic force in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Māori culture gives the nation many of its unique qualities. Historically, interaction between Māori and non-Māori has shaped the economic, social and political development of this country. A positive future will increasingly rely on both Pākehā and Māori having a greater understanding of Māori culture and society, and especially how colonial history impacts on current realities for Māori people. Māori Studies programmes focus on developing awareness, appreciation and understanding about the complexities of these issues.

Why Do Māori Studies?

Knowledge of kaupapa Māori (bodies of knowledge), and tikanga Māori (customs and protocols) is vital when working with Māori communities and their concerns. Examples are iwi development, resource management and environmental concerns, Māori business, health and education, Treaty of Waitangi and other social, legal and cultural issues. A sound knowledge of the Māori language is also an advantage.

The skills and experience acquired by Māori Studies graduates equip them to pursue rewarding careers in a variety of areas. Employment opportunities appear to have increased in recent years due to an increasing demand for proficiency in Māori culture and language. The Treaty of Waitangi and settlement of Māori land claims has generated many job opportunities. The launch in 2004 of the Māori Television Service and its impact on television production companies has also increased employment opportunities.

What skills Do Māori Studies Graduates Develop?

  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Research
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Cultural knowledge and skills

Where Do Māori Studies Graduates Work?

Traditionally, knowledge of Māori language and culture has been important in the areas of public health, education, housing, social and community services. Career opportunities are growing in many iwi, the legal profession, tourism, foreign affairs, environmental organisations, iwi development and international relations.

Combining Māori Studies majors with another major or degree is advantageous, for example: law, commerce/business, management, architecture, design, geography and environmental studies, teaching, public policy, history, information management and social science can be excellent complementary subjects.

  • Public Sector
  • Local Government
  • Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • Crown Research Institutes (CRIs)
  • Education
  • Human Resources
  • Business/Legal/Financial
  • Consultancies
  • Creative Industries
  • Museums and Art Galleries
  • Library and Information Management
  • Publishing
  • Social Services and Health
  • Translation and Interpreting
  • Tourism
  • Journalism/Professional Writing

Job Titles

A sample of job titles reported in graduate destination surveys. Some roles may require additional qualifications and training.

  • Assistant policy analyst
  • Communications officer/advisor
  • Council iwi liaison officer
  • Cultural adviser
  • Curator (art gallery, cartography, library, museum)
  • Curriculum advisor
  • Education officer/advisor
  • Editor
  • Facilitator/trainer
  • Health promoter
  • Human resources adviser
  • Information officer
  • Iwi representative
  • Kaitohutohu/career consultant
  • Kaiwhakaako Māori (teacher)
  • Learning adviser
  • Lecturer
  • Library assistant
  • Māori adviser, health
  • Māori art adviser
  • Māori liaison officer
  • Police officer
  • Probation officer
  • Programme advisor
  • Policy advisor/analyst
  • Research analyst/assistant
  • Social science researcher
  • Social worker
  • Te reo Māori tutor/teacher
  • Television/radio presenter/producer
  • Travel and information consultant
  • Writer

More in-depth information and profiles of graduates now working in the field can be found in the Māori Studies Career View (PDF 22KB)

Further information about Māori Studies at Victoria University of Wellington can also be found on the Te Kawa a Māui (the School of Māori Studies) website.