New name signals new direction for Māori and indigenous studies at Waikato

16 September 2016

Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies

The School of Māori and Pacific Studies is now the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies.

The School of Māori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato will now be known as the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies - a name change that will bring enhanced programme offerings and pan-University teaching and research collaboration.

Distinctiveness still a feature
Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says the new name reflects the University’s strength in teaching and research in Māori language, culture and knowledge, its relationships with iwi, and its commitment to indigenous studies as it relates to New Zealand and around the world.

“We have a high proportion of Māori students and outstanding research capability in the areas of Māori and indigenous studies, and the name change is a formalisation of our commitment to those areas,” he says.

The new name for the Faculty comes within the context of the University’s plans to create more flexible degree programmes under the Curriculum Enhancement Programme, and Professor Quigley says the addition of Indigenous Studies places the Faculty within the broader international indigenous discipline.

“Indigenous studies is an important area of teaching and research, and the concepts it explores are very much applicable on a global level – which ties in well with our aim of producing graduates who are globally work-and-research-ready.”

Since its establishment in 1965, the University has been committed to fostering and valuing Māori knowledge. Te Kotahi Research Institute was established in 2011 to undertake collaborative Kaupapa Māori research, and a PhD student made Waikato history by being the first to defend his thesis in te reo in 2012.

New programmes for 2018
Professor Brendan Hokowhitu, Dean of the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, says the name change is especially timely as the Faculty works to refine and enhance its academic offerings and appeal to a wider range of students.

“There’s a myth that we only cater for Māori and indigenous students, and that students from outside our Faculty can’t take papers in te reo and/or tikanga,” he says.

“We want to be more accessible to students, and staff, across the entire University, which is why part of our offerings for next year will include a ‘Māori for absolute beginners’ paper and collaborative teaching with other faculties.”

From 2018 the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies will offer two majors in its degree programmes: Māori and Indigenous Studies and Te Reo Māori. A third major, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, will be taught in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

New scholarships available
To celebrate the new Faculty's name and status, 15 new scholarships are available to outstanding school-leavers to support entry into one of the Bachelor of Arts' majors in the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies. 

Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao, The Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies Scholarship for Academic Distinction recognises the importance the University assigns to supporting the growth of Māori and indigenous knowledges in academia. Each scholarship is worth $10,000 and applications close 31 October.