What can I do with a degree in Māori and Indigenous Studies?

Maori weaving workshop

The academic study of Māori and indigenous language, politics, history and culture has become an increasingly popular degree option and is increasingly seen as central to education in New Zealand. Students majoring in other subject areas such as History, Sociology, Political Science, English, Education and Social Work often take Māori courses to support their chosen field of study.

Through their Māori and Indigenous Studies degree, graduates develop a valuable set of skills that are transferable to a range of careers. These skills include:

  • Analysing complex textual and cultural phenomenon
  • Understanding of tikanga Māori values
  • Ability to implement kaupapa Māori perspectives
  • Understanding of the influences on contemporary society
  • Thinking critically and creatively, and challenging ideas
  • Writing persuasively
  • Research and computing skills
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Problem solving skills
  • Oral and written communication.

Applied learning

Opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom are available in this subject, for example Arts internships, consulting projects (through the Māui Lab) and fieldtrips. These experiences deepen your skillset, awareness of others, working knowledge, and employability.

Graduates of Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies are found all around the world. Examples of specific employment sectors in Aotearoa New Zealand are:

  • Most professional career pathways want people to have had some exposure to te ao Māori
  • The diverse Māori sector, spanning private business, tribal organisations, Māori land incorporations and a raft of ‘third sector’ health, education and social services
  • Central and local government organisations have roles dedicated to working with Māori communities and/or addressing Māori interests eg, Whānau Ora
  • Most professional service companies, such as lawyers, accountants, engineers, and clinicians are building their capability to engage with the Māori sector.

Māori and Indigenous Studies alumni are valued in such sectors as:

  • Governance including public policy
  • Education
  • Criminal justice
  • Health
  • Social services.

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Policy analyst / advisor | Kaitātari kaupapa

  • Identifies and investigates issues and opportunities eg, in society, law or governance
  • Interprets existing policies and briefs leaders
  • Prepares reports and recommends changes

Guide / leader / mentor | Kaiārahi

  • Supports people to reflect biculturalism
  • Identifies opportunities and reviews processes to achieve organisational Māori aspirations
  • Connects with contributors, leaders and knowledge guardians

Conservator | Kaitiaki taonga

  • Examines artefacts, taonga and their storage
  • Keeps records and identifies restoration work
  • Cleans and repairs sensitive objects and recreates historically accurate finishes

Curator, collection manager | Kaiatawhai whakaora taonga

  • Selects taonga for display at museums/galleries
  • Manages documentation and conducts research
  • Provides access to collections, and fields queries

Manager / assistant manager | Kaiwhakahaere

  • Oversees the effective use of resources
  • Responsible for certain aspects or overall operation of an organisation or unit
  • Plans, budgets, supervises, advises, implements, solves problems, and initiates ideas

Secondary school teacher | Kaiako kura tuarua

  • Plans and delivers instructional lessons
  • Evaluates performance and provides feedback
  • Sets and marks assignments and tests

Primary school teacher | Kaiako kura tuatahi

  • Prepares learning activities for 5–13 year olds
  • Teaches and marks subjects including social studies, art and literacy
  • Develops children’s social skills and behaviours

Resource management planner / officer

  • Reviews and implements policy initiatives and submissions on a region’s natural resources
  • Ensures adherence to environmental regulations
  • Processes resource or building consent requests

Māori health worker | Pūkenga atawhai

  • Provides cultural support to the tangata whaiora, their whānau, the clinician and service
  • Improves service delivery to these groups

Librarian | Kaitiaki

  • Categorises and catalogues library materials
  • Selects materials for library use
  • Helps customers find and use materials

Historian | Pouherenga kōrero o-mua

  • Analyses sources to uncover the history of a period, place, person, group or aspect
  • Publishes findings and shares knowledge

Lecturer | Pūkenga whare wānanga

  • Prepares and gives lectures and tutorials
  • Sets and marks assignments and exams
  • Conducts research, writes and publishes articles

Research advisor / assistant | Kairangahau

  • Organises and conducts research surveys
  • Tests theories and interprets the results
  • Writes reports and makes recommendations

Social / youth / case worker | Kaimahi taiohi

  • Provides support for individuals and whānau
  • Builds trust and links people to resources
  • Writes reports and coordinates budgets

Entrepreneur, CEO | Rakahinonga, tumu whakarae

  • Develops an idea to form their own business
  • Offers their services as a freelancer or consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here.

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies or organisations relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network with others in a community.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Māori and Indigenous Studies subject page