Skip Content

The first Masters programme offered by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is proving so popular it has already expanded once and is likely to do so again.

He Waka Hiringa – Master of Applied Indigenous Knowledge – was initially offered only at Mangakōtukutuku campus but due to its popularity, it is now offered at Māngere as well.

However, with more than 100 potential tauira still on the waiting list, kaiako Dr Hohepa Tamehana is hoping the programme can next be offered in Wellington or Palmerston North, to cater for the lower North and South Island.

“We want to open more streams but we have to get it right first,” he says.

“We expanded to Māngere to cope with some of the waiting list but they ended up with their own waiting list.” 

The two-year applied master’s degree offers tauira the opportunity to enhance their education and practice and to contribute to a community project.

Hohepa says the levels of experience needed to be accepted onto the programme cannot be underestimated.

“With this masters, to get in you have to have practice that is guided by Māori or indigenous principles and values,” he says.

“You can get on with practice and no degree but not with a degree and no practice. It acknowledges the experience of the practitioner.”

He says the programme is proving increasingly popular because “it gives us the right to sit in the academic space and to challenge in that space. It places our lived experiences and principles at the forefront.”

It also enables tauira who have vast experience but no formal qualifications to achieve a higher degree.

“Many of our tauira left school with no qualifications or were quite afraid of academia,” Hohepa says.

The programme involves tauira identifying, researching and carrying out a community project, along with completing a 20,000-word exegesis.

That means their knowledge is being applied in the community - which can mean more than whānau, hapu and iwi – and Hohepa says the focus is not to find out what we are doing wrong.
“We are not identifying problems and fixing them. We look at what you do and rangahau how to do that better.”

Hohepa says the key difference between He Waka Hiringa and a traditional masters degree is the necessity of tauira to be experienced in their subject area.

“With a usual masters, you can study anything you want and don’t need any experience in that field. We don’t do that.”

Tauira are placed into one of three streams, depending on their specialisation, and carry out their rangahau and community project from home while also attending noho each year.

Tauira include teachers, health practitioners, social workers, environmentalists, carvers, weavers, kai kōrero, and kaikaranga, among others, and Hohepa says it is likely many will go on to complete a PhD, but they will also continue to work in their communities and to share their knowledge.

“Our rangahau is about sharing knowledge, not gathering knowledge.”


 Back to news & events

Published On: 16 Aug, 2016

Article By: Tracey Cooper



Other Articles

  • 20 October, 2020

    Wānanga strengthens tie to Police and Māori Wardens

    Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Gisborne is strengthening its ties with Police and Māori Wardens as part of its ongoing push to help local communities./sitecore/media library/Images/TeWananga/News and Events/2020/Clint_Parsons

  • 19 October, 2020

    Wānanga offering new kapa haka and elder care courses

    The strong passion for developing kapa haka skills in Tairāwhiti has prompted Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Gisborne to offer a targetted new course next year.

  • 19 October, 2020

    Telling tamariki the Tūwharetoa story

    One of our Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) graduates Kristy Northcroft has been closely involved in the development of a Lake Taupō cultural knowledge and educational cruise that tells the story of her Ngāti Tūwharetoa iwi to students.

  • 15 October, 2020

    Sharing smarts, inspiration and dignity

    Ngarangi Toko has been no stranger to struggle street in the past but the challenges she’s faced help inspire her today to support others.