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Our mātauranga Māori cluster highlights groups that show leadership in bringing indigenous knowledge and practice to their research with a commitment to advancing Māori aspirations.

Research consultation with Māori is integral to the development of all University of Otago research proposals.

Visit the listings of our research groups or our featured projects:

Many of our researchers also excel in teaching and have been recognised in national teaching awards.

Coastal People: Southern Skies

A Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE)

Responding to climate change

Anne-Marie Jackson and Chris HepburnCoastal People: Southern Skies is a Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) based at the University of Otago.

Our vision is flourishing wellness (mauri ora), of coastal social-ecological systems and communities.

The collaboration connects communities with world-leading, cross-discipline research to support transformative change to rebuild coastal ecosystems.

The focus is on the changes resulting from ocean warming and acidification, sea-level rise, and climate change. Research includes responding to the decline in culture, local economy, and well-being of coastal people in New Zealand and across the Pacific.


Department of Māori Indigenous Health Innovation (MIHI)

University of Otago, Christchurch

Research, teaching and community service to support Māori health advancement

The Department of Māori Indigenous Health Innovation (MIHI) undertakes and supports research that explores Māori health inequities and building excellence in research evidence that contributes to Māori health advancement.

Tel: +64 3 364 3688

He Kaupapa Hononga - Otago's Climate Change Research Network

A University of Otago Research Network

Fostering climate change research using interdisciplinary and co-created knowledge

St Clair beach He Kaupapa Hononga is a network of researchers committed to climate action including assessment, mitigation, adaptation and restoration. We are also committed to supporting collaborations between mātauranga Māori / mātauranga Kāi Tahu and western scientific knowledge.

Our network also works collaboratively with established research groups, He Kaupapa Hononga also supports postgraduate students studying climate change and the Otago Climate Change Postgraduate Network (OCCPN).


Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga

A Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE)

Māori leading New Zealand into the future

Taurepo native flower drawing credit: Ariki Creative Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga is New Zealand's Māori Centre of Research Excellence, hosted by the University of Auckland in partnership with the University of Otago and other leading New Zealand research organisations.

Established in 2002, we have a focus on producing transformative research that produces real outcomes and results for Māori communities and the nation. Much of the emphasis has been on nurturing and increasing Māori participation and success in tertiary education and research training.

Our three themes support a central strategy of Te Reo me Ngā Tikanga Māori, and articulate a vision of Māori leading New Zealand into the future.

  • Whai Rawa – Research for Māori Economies
  • Te Tai Ao – Research into the Natural Environment
  • Mauri Ora – Research into Human Flourishing

Recent collaborative publications:


Ngāi Tahu Māori Health Research Unit | Te Rōpū Rakahau Hauora Māori o Kāi Tahu

Improving Māori health outcomes and addressing health inequities

The Ngāi Tahu Māori Health Research Unit (NTMHRU) contributes to a wide range of Māori health research projects and initiatives within the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, the University of Otago and our communities to ensure important and beneficial outcomes for Māori are attained.


Poutama Ara Rau

A University of Otago Research Theme

How mātauranga Māori can transform tertiary teaching and learning

Poutama research graphicPoutama Ara Rau brings researchers together to stimulate new research collaborations and practices that lead to more mātauranga, tikanga and reo in tertiary teaching and learning.

We are a multidisciplinary research collaboration that is:

  • Developing and encouraging translational Māori research embedded in theory and methods for application across research, supervision and teaching
  • Offering unique opportunities for Otago's staff and students
  • Building on significant disciplinary-specific Māori successes in ako at Otago to create new knowledge in curricula, leadership and innovation aligned with national strategies and positioned for external funding possibilities:
    Indigenising legal education


Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare

Improving Māori health outcomes and eliminating inequalities through quality science and ongoing theoretical development

Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare strives to create a Kaupapa Māori space committed to improving Māori health outcomes and eliminating inequalities through quality science and ongoing theoretical development. We takes a rights-based approach consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi, and are engaged with community through a spectrum of influence from community development, policy advocacy, research dissemination and Māori health research workforce development.


Mātauranga Māori featured projects | Rangahau Mātauranga Māori

Foundational change

Jacinta Ruru thumbnailRecalibrating New Zealand's state legal system in order to challenge the Crown's assumption of sovereignty over lands and waters treasured by Māori is no easy task. However, Professor Jacinta Ruru says it's essential for future Māori health and prosperity.

Learning in the dark

Karyn Paringatai thumbnailThe revival of an ancient Māori method of teaching in the dark has had spectacular results for Dr Karyn Paringatai and her students.

Sovereign rights to health and wellbeing

Dr Paula Toko King imageDr Paula Toko King completed a medical degree at the University of Auckland and was on track to become a paediatrician before switching to public health, a move prompted by seeing children return again and again with preventable illnesses.

The Māori home front: An untold story

Paterson Wanhalla thumbnailBy March 1943, 29,000 Māori  – or one third of the Māori  population – were contributing to World War II, many of them civilians. A new study will provide the first sustained examination of the Māori home front from the perspectives of women, young people, whānau and communities who experienced the war at home.

Ako Aotearoa teaching excellence awards

Many of Otago's leading researchers excel as teachers and mentors to aspiring researchers.

Ako Aotearoa Kaupapa Māori Award

Ako Aotearoa Prime Minister's Supreme Award

Research in our four academic divisions | Te rangahau ki ō mātou whare mātauranga e whā

View more research activity in our academic divisions:

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