Wananga landing Wananga landing

Mana whenua of UC

20 November 2023

UC is a committed bicultural university that operates in an intercultural world. We acknowledge the partnership and role of Tangata Whenua and we aim to embed a bicultural perspective in all our learning, teaching and research. Learn more about the mana whenua of UC.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi


Aotearoa New Zealand is premised on Te Tiriti o Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi, the founding partnership document of the nation signed in 1840. Whilst it was originally an agreement between Māori and representatives of the British Crown, in a modern day context it can be viewed as an agreement between Tangata Whenua, the people of the land, the indigenous Māori people, and Tangata Tiriti, people of the Treaty; this includes not only descendants of original settlers but people of all other ethnic origins who now reside in Aotearoa.

UC is working towards an education system that includes te ao Māori | Māori world views, and mātauranga Māori | Māori indigenous knowledge systems, the land and their relationships with Tangata Tiriti. Our Graduate Profile provides a framework for bicultural competence and confidence, which is the ability to interact confidently and appropriately with people from different backgrounds. It goes beyond an awareness of, or sensitivity to, another culture to include the ability to use that knowledge in cross-cultural situations. It is focused upon the inclusion of mātauranga Māori and mātauranga Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tahu knowledge, within undergraduate degrees. The sense of belonging and commitment to Māori aspirations is made manifest for Māori.

UC is a committed bicultural university operating in an intercultural world. We not only acknowledge the role of, and partnership with Tangata Whenua, we also aim to embed a bicultural perspective in all our learning, teaching and research. 


Partner with Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu 

At the heart of UC’s connection with our community is our relationship with mana whenua, the people of the land, Ngāi Tūāhuriri and with Ngāi Tahu more broadly, which is supported by the UC-Ngāi Tūāhuriri Partnership agreement to guide our collaboration and drive outcomes.

UC will realise the objectives of the partnership through ongoing engagement with Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāi Tahu, and city partners to recognise mana whenua, and support Māori learning and aspirations.


Tangata Tū, Tangata


Engagement underpins the Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury Strategic Vision 2020 to 2030: Tangata Tū, Tangata | Ora Engaged, Empowered, Making a difference

From this a key objective is to:

  • Partner with Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu to uphold the mana and aspirations of the mana whenua.

Under the strands of engagement, UC seeks to uphold the following:



  • Create a diverse and inclusive community where all staff and students have a sense of belonging, building on our bicultural foundations.



  • That UC graduates are known for their bicultural competence and confidence, global understanding, community engagement, employability and innovative thinking.



  • Develop and support transdisciplinary research to better impact local and global challenges



  • Promote understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand’s place in the world and its cultural distinctiveness, including Māori as Tangata Whenua and our responsibilities to Pacific nations.

Ngāi Tahu has always understood the relationship between knowledge, social cohesion and progress, and our relationship with the University is based on that understanding. 

Dr Te Maire Tau

Ūpoko o Ngāi Tūāhuriri

Engaged, Empowered, Making a difference

Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora

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