26 January 2022

3 reasons to add a Māori course to your degree

Hailey Suina
Native American Student at Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

No matter your degree, making it a priority to learn about Māori culture will make your study abroad experience all the more enriching! Find out why taking a course in Māori culture will make your study abroad experience all the more enriching.

For many students looking to study abroad in New Zealand, it is often the wild, majestic beauty of the land and sea that draws students to seek a greater adventure. 

But in any country one chooses to go to abroad, the culture and people play a significant role in what makes that country unique. New Zealand is no different - the Indigenous Māori people are renowned for their rich culture and hospitality.

Most universities in New Zealand encourage you to take general interest courses as part of your studies, even if they're not directly related to your main subject area. Here are 3 reasons why you should add a Māori culture or language course to your degree:

1. Cultural Knowledge

Adding a Māori course to your degree gives you immediate exposure to the people, culture, and language. This brings awareness of the Indigenous people who are sharing their home with you and how to respect them as such.

Through the cultural knowledge taught in class, you will learn how to properly pronounce Māori names and landmarks as well as know their meanings. You will learn to understand the cultural protocols of visiting a marae and partaking in any ceremonies. When you visit any of New Zealand’s beautiful landmarks, you will know all the legends and stories surrounding any mountain, river, or forest; nothing beats the feeling of knowing the history and lore of the places you visit!

The cultural knowledge that you gain from your Māori course will provide a new insight in the way you interact with your new surroundings.

2. New Perspectives

A big part of the study abroad experience is not only expanding your horizons (literally) but expanding your mindset as well!

Many Māori courses incorporate cultural leadership centered around the proverb: “Ngā mātātahi o nāianei,” the youth of today are leaders of tomorrow. This focuses on strengthening who you are as a person so that you can learn how to be a better leader for your family and community.

This is all done through Māori traditional knowledge which offers a new perspective on the way you view the world and your place in it. 

3. Lifelong Transformation

The knowledge and experience that you receive from your Māori course will be just as special as any souvenir you bring home.

You will return with a new mindset that will allow you to see the world differently with cultural insight. The traditional Māori concepts will continue to be a source you tap into as you continue with your life an career.

The time you spend learning about the Indigenous Māori people throughout your time in New Zealand will inspire you to return home and learn about the indigenous cultures and people in your own countries. Not only will you be changed as student but as a person.

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About the contributors
Hailey Suina
Native American Student at Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

Hailey Suine is a creative writing student with a major at the Institute of Indian American Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hailey Suina is a descendant of the Cochiti Pueblo people. In her tribal creation story, all Indigenous people are connected to one another. Hailey wanted to explore the cultural connections between the Indigenous Māori people and the Indigenous people of North America.