Master of Māori and Indigenous Leadership


Are you a professional working in an Iwi, Māori organisation, or another body that works with Māori communities, looking to progress into leadership? Would you like to take on a position of influence within the growing Māori economy, currently valued at $40 billion in New Zealand? Do you have a passion for furthering the aspirations of Māori and indigenous communities? 

This applied professional programme aims to equip the next generation of leaders across a wide variety of sectors with the skills, knowledge and attributes necessary to advance the aspirations of Iwi Māori and other indigenous peoples. Whether it be in a social, cultural, environmental, political or commercial context.

Features of the Master of Māori and Indigenous Leadership

  • Developed in response to growing market demand for managers, governors and other leaders within all spheres of the 'Māori sector'.
  • Students go on an international research tour to Commonwealth and North American jurisdictions, providing exposure to a broad range of indigenous communities and organisations.
  • Advance your theoretical and applied skills, by conducting both a research project and an internship in a relevant community or organisation.
  • Highly customisable, with the ability to specialise in an area of interest.
  • Delivered through a culturally appropriate blended learning model, including marae-based block courses run in wānanga format, guest lectures and student workshops.
  • Our staff in Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies operate as a whānau and we pride ourselves on being accessible, supportive and engaged with a number of research kaupapa that focus on the advancement of Māori development and knowledge.
  • Some scholarships available for this programme – contact the College of Arts for details.

Entry requirements

Normally the minimum requirement is a three-year bachelor’s degree from a New Zealand university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered to be equivalent.

If you gained your qualifications overseas, these will need to be assessed to make sure they are of an equivalent standard.

Qualification specific requirements

The Master of Māori and Indigenous Leadership (MMIL) is open to:

  • Graduates of any bachelor's degree with at least a B average in 60 points at 300-level and who have at least three years professional experience in the Māori sector; or
  • Applicants without an undergraduate degree (or equivalent qualification) but have qualified for the Postgraduate Certificate in Māori and Indigenous Development.

Note: Applicants will also be required to submit a portfolio of professional experience, and attend a selection interview.

For more entry details, please see the Regulations for the MMIL.

Qualification structure and duration

The MMIL programme comprises 180 points and has five components:

  1. 60 points of core courses
  2. 30 points of elective course
  3. 30-point practical community project (PACE 495 Professional and Community Engagement Internship)
  4. 30-point cross-cultural research tour
  5. 30-point research dissertation.

Wānanga format

Each cohort will comprise up to 20 people, creating a connected group of next generation leaders.

Ten monthly weekend wānanga are to be held at a marae, and will involve presentations from established leaders in the Māori sector. The wānanga format will enable students from outside Canterbury to participate.

A four-week hīkoi to North America will connect students with First Nations peoples and develop a comparative understanding of indigenous approaches to development and self-determination.


This master's starts in February (Semester 1) and can be completed within 12-18 months by full-time students. Part-time students are welcome and can take up to three and a half years to complete the degree.

Subjects and courses

The Master of Māori and Indigenous Leadership programme involves 180 points as follows:

150 points of coursework

Compulsory courses

The four compulsory courses (120 points) are:

  • MAOR430 Māori Leadership
  • MAOR431 Comparative Indigenous Models and Theories of Development
  • ARTS495 Professional and Community Engagement Internship
  • MAOR679 Cross-Cultural Research (which involves an international tour).
Elective courses

Students can choose 30-points of relevant courses.

30 points of research

MAOR680 Research Essay

See the regulations for the MMIL for the up-to-date course schedule.

Further study

Doctor of Philosophy

Career opportunities

Graduates of this qualification will be in an ideal position to enhance the leadership capability in organisations working with Māori, including Iwi, Māori, government, community and private sector organisations.

The graduating cohort will be expected to critically engage with and advance Māori aspirations in their strategic leadership careers. They will show the skills and attributes needed to lead and implement change in Māori and indigenous contexts.

Knowledge of indigenous development in a global context opens up job opportunities and scope too.

Useful resources:

More information

For full requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Māori and Indigenous Leadership.

Aotahi School of Māori and Indigenous Studies

Phone +64 3 364 2597
Email artsdegreeadvice@canterbury.ac.nz

1st Floor, Hikuraki (Te Ao Mārama)
See campus maps

Postal address
College of Arts
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
New Zealand