Bicultural Competence and Confidence

Engaging and understanding both New Zealand cultures

New Zealand is made up of two distinct cultures and UC aims to prepare its students to work alongside both cultures with confidence and understand how it is relevant to their study and career. Having Bi-cultural confidence develops awareness and the ability to relate to different ideas. Students will learn how to co-operate with both cultures with confidence, understanding the different customs associated with the two cultures and combining them into their work when needed. This skill also builds understanding with cultural identity, and the ability to see how culture connects with others, how ideas can be influenced and how it affects the work created.

Graphic of the bicultural themes (kaupapa)

The kaupapa outlined below are overarching ideas on which to base more specific pedagogy, activities and experiences. Learning outcomes can be linked directly to them, as can course assessments. They provide a macro view to inform curriculum and do not define how these are to be applied to individual programmes of study.

Bicultural Competence Kaupapa


A process of self-reflection on the nature of ‘knowledge’ and ‘norms’.



The nature of contemporary Māori organisational structures e.g. rūnanga, hapū, iwi, iwi corporations.


Local, place-based

Traditional and contemporary realities of Māori society e.g. tikanga and kawa, te reo Māori.



The Treaty of Waitangi and Aotearoa New Zealand’s bicultural history.



The processes of colonisation and globalisation.

National and international

Other indigenous models of development, knowledge and behaviours.



Application of bicultural competence and confidence in a chosen discipline and career.


Self, local, national and international

  • Present a public proposal or discussion to a range of audiences including local iwi.
  • Work on a community-based ‘problem’ or issue with a local iwi (e.g. develop resources for a school, a marketing report for a child-care centre, or develop public-health poster for a community).
  • Reflect on different perspectives on a single problem particularly from different cultural views.
  • Prepare a presentation that investigates the environmental, bicultural and socio‐cultural aspects of human relationship to the land.
  • Incorporate the mihi method in the classroom (learn more: contact the Office of the AVC Māori, enrol in: Tangata Tū , Tangata Ora or Culturally Responsive Pedagogy).
  • Design different ways to communicate information (e.g. social policies, public health, human rights) to different audiences and through different communication channels that reflects bicultural principles and understanding.