Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

The University's commitment to iwi aspirations and Māori development is articulated in its Māori Strategic Framework, which is a platform for the collective commitment to excellence in educational outcomes for all who come to Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka. We wish our students and our staff every success in their academic and professional endeavours.

The University’s Vision 2040 identifies being a Te Tiriti-led university as a strategic priority of the highest order as we approach the 200th anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. In service to this priority, Vision 2040 sets aspirational, future-focused goals.

To be genuinely Te Tiriti-led, however, the University must itself, first and foremost, honour Te Tiriti. If we are to do this with conviction and integrity, we must seek to understand our colonial histories and its continuing impacts on Māori. Reflecting on and growing our shared understandings of our history will be integral to our journey to be Te Tiriti-led.

The University’s Māori Strategic Framework 2030 builds on the proud foundations and achievements of its predecessors, the inaugural Māori Strategic Framework (2007) and the Māori Strategic Framework 2022.

The first iterations of the Māori Strategic Framework sought to uphold the mana of Te Tiriti o Waitangi while making concrete the University’s commitment to Māori advancement through seeking equitable Māori participation and success; advancing Māori development aspirations; and embedding mātauraka Māori within the University’s core functions.

This new iteration of the Māori Strategic Framework, reflecting the confidence its predecessors have helped usher in, charts a more ambitious path that is focused tightly upon embedding Te Tiriti o Waitangi throughout Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka. It builds on the important foundational work led by the Office of Māori Development with the wider University in forging Iwi relationships and partnerships.

The Māori Strategic Framework 2030 supports and triangulates with the University's pinnacle strategic documents, Vision 2040 and Pae Tata: Strategic Plan to 2030, which both foreground the University's key aspiration towards becoming Te Tiriti -led. In support of those documents, the Māori Strategic Framework 2030 details how the University can concretely progress its Te Tiriti aspirations across four key areas ¬ kāwanataka (leadership), rakapūtaka (partnership), mana taurite (equity)1 and tino rakatirataka (sovereignty).

The Māori Strategic Framework 2030 approaches this work in the knowledge that New Zealand’s demographics are increasingly diverse. By 2040, more than half of New Zealand’s population will be Māori, Pacific or Asian. We need to prepare our graduates for this changing world; to have increased cultural competencies and skills to work with and for diverse populations.

Specific to Māori, between now and 2040, thirty-eight percent of all population growth in New Zealand will be Māori2, and more than half the population growth in those aged 15-64 will be Māori. By 2040, more than one in five people aged 15–64 will be Māori. Many will have come through kura kaupapa Māori and have te reo Māori as their first language.

At present, there is a gap between New Zealand’s prevailing demographic trends and the University’s capability as an environment in which takata Māori, taoka Māori and te ao Māori can flourish. We have work to do if we are to become the university of choice for New Zealand’s burgeoning Māori population.

Over the years, the University has set numerous aspirational goals for its Māori students and staff. While good progress has been made in some areas, particularly with regards to Māori student academic achievement, progress in other areas has been slower. To date, the University has articulated good Te Tiriti intentions, the Māori Strategic Framework 2030 provides the opportunity and the mechanisms to significantly advance the progression of these intentions into actions.

The success of the Māori Strategic Framework 2030 will be contingent upon having considerably larger Māori presence at the most senior levels of our leadership and decision-making. Māori voices are needed to reframe dominant narratives, to share in imagining bold new educational approaches, to help determine the allocation of resources, and to ensure professional accountabilities are maintained. All of these expectations are at the heart of successful Te Tiriti-led partnerships.  This is important for Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka because we want all our staff and students to be successful.

Achieving these things will require the University to be courageous.

Ki te tuohu koe, me he mauka teitei, ko Aoraki anake

If you must bow your head, let it be to the loftiest mountain, Aoraki

1While Te Tiriti speaks of equality in order to achieve our aspirations of being a Te Tiriti-led university, we need to take an equity approach.
2Puta-i-Tua: A Māori Future Skills Strategy for an Equitable Aotearoa, December 2022 (citing Statistics New Zealand data).

To show strong, determined leadership that will achieve the Māori and Te Tiriti-focused priorities and goals of Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka.


This goal focuses on representative and accountable leadership that will hasten the University’s transition towards being Te Tiriti-led.


  1. Senior Māori academic leadership across the University will be increased.
  2. Senior Māori leadership across the range of the University’s operations will increase to reflect the Māori proportion of New Zealand’s general adult population.
  3. Responsibility for achieving the Māori Strategic Framework will lie with all staff and ultimately with the Vice-Chancellor.
  4. The Māori Strategic Framework will be embedded within key University documents and processes, including academic review, promotions and recruitment processes.
  5. Annual reporting across the University against the Māori Strategic Framework will be established.

To pursue strong, trust-based partnerships with mana whenua and other Iwi or Māori communities and entities with whom Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka holds formal relationships.


This goal seeks true partnership that upholds and embodies the mana of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.


  1. The Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka Council holds the University's paramount relationships with mana whenua.
  2. The University understands its relationship with mana whenua is dynamic and ongoing.
  3. The Office of Māori Development will support and manage Te Tiriti relationships on behalf of the University and will support and advise the University in its engagement with mana whenua whose takiwā overlap its campuses.
  4. The Vice-Chancellor, with support of the Office of Māori Development, will work to ensure mana whenua Te Tiriti rights are understood and upheld across the University.
  5. International partnerships between Indigenous First Nations, students, groups, communities and the University will continue to be developed, providing opportunities for students and staff to connect, study and work together.

To seek equality for Māori across the range of activities at Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka in fulfilment of Ko te tuatoru (Article III) of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, an equitable environment for Māori staff and students will flourish.


This goal promotes equity of participation, wellbeing and success for Māori students and staff at the University.

3.1: Te akitūtaka o kā tauira Māori | Māori student success

To ensure an integrated, well-resourced environment in which tauira Māori are supported as Māori to confidently achieve to their potential.


  1. Tauira Māori will feel valued and supported at Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka.
  2. Tauira Māori will be empowered to study and live as Māori while at Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka.
  3. Strategic objectives, linked to the University’s Vision 2040 and Pae Tata 2030, will pursue improved participation, retention and achievement rates for tauira Māori from undergraduate to postgraduate study.
  4. The University will increase the delivery of te reo Māori-medium teaching, learning and assessment.
  5. Tauira Māori achievement and success at the University will be showcased locally, nationally and internationally.

3.2: Te whakapakaritaka o kā kaimahi Māori | Strengthening our Māori staff

To increase the number of kaimahi Māori at Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka and support their influence, success and wellbeing.


  1. Kaimahi Māori will feel valued and supported at Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka.
  2. Kaimahi Māori will be empowered to work and live as Māori. This will include support for professional development specific to kaimahi Māori requirements and aspirations, including opportunities to upskill in te reo Māori, tikaka Māori and mātauraka Māori.
  3. The hauora of kaimahi Māori will be safeguarded by establishing clear boundaries around cultural workload and service expectations and commitments.
  4. Through proactive recruitment and retention, the number of kaimahi Māori employed across the range of our functions and operations will increase to reflect the Māori proportion of New Zealand’s general adult population.
  5. The number of kaimahi Māori with expertise in te ao Māori, te reo Māori and mātauraka Māori will be increased in all academic departments through targeted recruitment of new staff and by strategically “growing our own” through development from undergraduate study through to academic appointments.
  6. Kaimahi Māori will be remunerated for cultural service that is additional to their academic or professional roles. This service will also be acknowledged within promotion processes.
  7. Māori leadership will participate in assessment and interview panels for all senior appointments, whether academic, research or professional.
  8. Kaimahi Māori will help lead the development and review of University strategy, planning and policy.
  9. Opportunities to showcase kaimahi Māori achievement and success at the University will continue to be supported.

3.3: Kā wheako Māori mō kā tauira, kaimahi katoa | Cultural opportunities for all students and staff

To support the Māori cultural enrichment and literacy of all students and staff at Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka, so as to ensure the delivery of culturally safe, Māori-responsive teaching, learning and research.


  1. Acknowledgement of, respect for, and engagement with tikaka Māori, te reo Māori and mātauraka Māori will be promoted across the University.
  2. Cultural enrichment opportunities will be available for all staff around te reo Māori, tikaka and mātauraka Māori.
  3. Bicultural competency programmes will be available for all staff to help build shared understandings of our colonial histories and continuing impacts.
  4. Whare- based learning spaces for whanaukataka and manaakitaka opportunities will be available for all students and staff.
  5. Engagement with tikaka Māori, te reo Māori and mātauraka Māori will be a consideration in academic and professional promotion processes.
  6. All students, including our international cohort, will be provided with opportunities to engage with te ao Māori.

To acknowledge Māori authority over, and guardianship of, te reo Māori, tikaka Māori and mātauraka Māori and provide an environment in which these taoka will flourish.


This goal safeguards the wellbeing of taoka Māori in four interlinked ways:

  • Upholding Māori ownership of taoka
  • Embedding te reo Māori and tikaka Māori within institutional structures and practice
  • Embedding te reo Māori, kaupapa Māori and mātauraka Māori within our teaching and learning
  • Resourcing and supporting outstanding Māori research

4.1: Te kaitiakitaka o kā taoka Māori | Chieftainship of Māori treasures

To support Māori authority over, and guardianship of, te reo Māori, tikaka Māori and mātauraka Māori at the University in fulfilment of Ko Te Tuarua (Article II) of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.


The University recognises Kāi Tahu rakatirataka and mana within the takiwā of Kāi Tahu whānui and will be guided by mana whenua in regard to tikaka within the Kāi Tahu takiwā.

For campuses outside the Kāi Tahu takiwā, the University recognises the rakatirataka of the mana whenua in the land upon which our campuses sit.

The University will continue to ensure its information systems and internal processes are secure with regards to Māori intellectual property, including biodata.

4.2: Te tautetaka o kā taoka Māori | Institutional support for Māori treasures

To provide a safe, encouraging environment in which te reo Māori, tikaka Māori and mātauraka Māori are celebrated and flourishing.


A stronger Māori identity will continue being developed across the range of the University’s functions and services adding new strengths of vitality to the University’s enduring foundations.3

A whare will be established on the Dunedin Campus in which mātauraka Māori, tikaka Māori, can be nurtured and can flourish.

Uptake and proficient use of te reo Māori and tikaka Māori will be promoted, celebrated and increasingly normalised.

Ongoing review of the University’s policies, procedures and guidelines will more deeply embed te ao Māori and Te Tiriti within all of the University’s operations and functions.

Te reo Māori-medium hui will be encouraged at the University.

4.3: Kā whakahaereka pai | Quality teaching and learning

To support exemplary teaching and learning environments that enable all students and staff to engage confidently and competently with te ao Māori and mātauraka Māori.


Under the guidance of its Māori leadership, the University will strengthen Māori content and delivery across its curricula, including kaupapa-driven teaching and learning and mātauraka Māori solutions to local, national and global issues.

The University will strengthen its capability with te reo Māori-medium teaching, learning and assessment.

Professional development opportunities will be available to all staff to learn best practice and innovative approaches to supporting tauira Māori success.

Excellent, inspiring and engaging kaupapa Māori teaching will be supported, and outstanding teachers will be profiled throughout the University.

4.4: Te akitūtaka o te rakahau Māori | Outstanding Māori research

To strengthen Māori participation and representation throughout all aspects of research at Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka.


Increased resourcing and support for Māori researchers and Māori-focused research will be a priority as set out in Pae Tata 2030.

The University will resource and support mātauraka Māori solutions to local, national and global issues.

The University will continue showcasing mātauraka Māori research, Māori research impact, and outstanding achievement by Māori staff and students.

Māori research leadership will guide the University’s response to external Māori research imperatives.

Māori research leadership will have membership of key University research bodies and will help guide the development and review of research-related strategy and policy.

3Tuakiritaka marks a significant milestone on this journey.

Pou whenua statue with the University of Otago clocktower in the background

Our new pou whenua Tāwhaki – unveiled in October 2023 – stands proudly on the Ōtepoti Dunedin Campus

Back to top