Te Tohu Paetahi

Te Tohu Paetahi, our total immersion Māori language programme, has paved the way for the revitalisation of our ancestral language since 1991.

The main focus of this programme is to provide students with a unique Māori language immersion pathway or context in which papers in te reo Māori are concentrated/fast tracked into the first year of their degree programme, with a goal of producing students who can fluently, competently and proficiently speak in te reo Māori. Secondly, to provide students with a safe, conducive and supportive whānau-based learning environment, which operates in a culturally rich context.

The University of Waikato created the first intensive te reo Māori immersion programme in response to concerns that the language proficiency of students completing their Bachelors degree with a major in te reo Māori was not at a high enough standard to make a significant impact on the growth and retention of the language.

Twenty-five years on, te reo Māori is flourishing at Waikato. All students enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Māori and Pacific Development (BMPD) who are majoring in Te Reo Māori have the opportunity to further develop their knowledge with our Te Tohu Paetahi specialisation. The programme is taught predominantly in te reo Māori and usually takes three years to complete.

All applicants are required to attend an interview and are assessed on their academic ability, level of commitment to the development of te reo Māori, and willingness to contribute to the positive well-being of local communities.

In their first year of study, students are required to take six compulsory te reo Māori papers. This is an intensive workload, and classes are held between 9am - 3pm Monday to Friday. Each day begins with a karakia, mihimihi and kapa haka.

In 2017 the Hukatai stream (for beginners) will be offered on campus. This will run from Monday 27 February - Friday 20 October.

If you are interested in applying to the programme please contact the Faculty on 07 838 4737 or email

For more information visit


Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies
Phone: 0800 924 528 ext: 4737 or + 64 7 838 4737