Mātauranga Māori

The term mātauranga Māori literally means Māori knowledge and is closely aligned to the period of pre-European contact as it encompasses traditional concepts of knowledge and knowing that Māori ancestors brought with them to Aotearoa/New Zealand.  The survival of the Māori language is a cultural and historical marker linking us back to this period and demonstrates a continuum from pre-contact to the present day.  Post first-contact, mātauranga Māori evolved in important and significant ways as the ancestors encountered new environments and contexts such as flora and fauna, climate and geography and in terms of the need to respond to new technology, languages and cultures they had not known or experienced before.


Te Ara Poutama embraces mātauranga Māori as a field of study for a raft of topics ranging from traditional knowledge such as te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and whakapapa to more contemporary areas of study such as kaitiakitanga, the Māori performing arts, Māori identity and  Māori language revitalisation which are topics which reflect and respond to a changing world.

Research Active Staff:

Professor John Moorfield
Professor in Māori Innovation and Development

Research and Supervisory Interests include:

  • Māori language, culture, literature, history and traditional Māori knowledge
  • Second language teaching
  • Māori grammar and lexicon
  • The development of Māori language resources including print, digital and television
Professor John Moorfield

Professor Tania Ka’ai
Professor in Māori Innovation and Development, Head Postgraduate

Research and Supervisory Interests include:

  • Māori language revitalisation initiatives, strategies and developments which advance the status of the Māori language
  • Māori culture, epistemologies, pedagogies and knowledge transfer
  • Indigenous peoples as agents of change in the transformation of institutions, organisations and their communities
  • Māori repositories of knowledge and leadership
  • Comparative Cultural Studies especially (but not limited to) language and cultures of Polynesia

Professor Tania Ka'ai

Current PhD and Masters students