Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM) has three main research themes:

  • Whai Rawa: Māori Economies
  • Te Tai Ao: The Natural Environment
  • Mauri Ora: Human Flourishing

These research themes, are guided by and infused with the principles of Te Reo me Ngā Tikanga Māori - Māori Language and Protocols - the key interweaving programme of our research and activities.

Whai Rawa - Research for Māori Economies

Māori economic activity is a dynamic, deep-rooted, complex and evolving space. Stewardship of natural resources, issues around intergenerational wealth, maintenance of cultural identity, and the wellbeing of our people must effectively inform policy, decision making and the strategic development of economic activity within a Māori narrative. 

We use the term Whai Rawa to acknowledge and describe the diverse elements of the Māori economy - where regional iwi and hapū led economic networks, both rural and urban, engage with national and international business. These networks include independent Māori enterprise, small whānau businesses, units within hapū or iwi structures, tribal incorporations and larger pan-tribal entities, across often interconnected resource sectors.

The productivity and profitability of the Māori freehold estate, needs to fit within Māori forms of business practice which are derived from traditional tribal perspectives and the socio-historical, culturally interconnected backgrounds that provide the foundations to the creation of resilient Māori organisations, and enduring modes of self-determination.

Unique to the Māori economy will be the transition between historic Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi claim settlements and the ever increasing post-settlement activities. Most iwi will have settled by 2018, and have established their post settlement governance entities with often significant financial and phyical resources to manage.

In partnership with communities across the country, NPM will identify, explore and develop the research needs and opportunities that surround their economic, environmental, social and cultural investment priorities. 


Te Tai Ao - The Natural Environment

Te Tai Ao is our research platform within the domain of environmental integrity and sustainability and will build on a unique body of knowledge and practice, bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of Māori researchers with expertise in developing solutions derived from Indigenous knowledge and science.

The conceptual and practical resources we draw on and develop, will be applied to global, national and local environmental issues including climate change, natural hazards, water, resource management, geothermal energy assets, resource extraction, and bio-protection, and will contribute to the advancement of Māori land based enterprises and land use based upon Māori values and knowledge.

Te Tai Ao will also address national and local freshwater issues and their links with estuarine and oceanic health, to ensure waterways and catchments are restored as thriving ecosystems and also on a sustainable basis for human/environmental flourishing and sound economic prosperity.


Mauri Ora - Human Flourishing

This research theme articulates the high level objectives of an integrated and comprehensively targeted social wellbeing research programme focused on Māori flourishing.

For Māori, flourishing cannot be achieved without special attention to the many Māori world views that exist, as well as their heritage concerns. Our researchers will lead, develop and implement Indigenous knowledge and innovations to complement and inform community and national approaches to enhance prosperous Māori futures.

Mauri Ora recognises the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead requiring a step back from a preoccupation with Māori deficits, and instead a focus on a commitment to embrace and build on practices that sustain, strengthen and liberate communities.

Our view will widen to consider histories, heritage and life-course development. Attention to education, health, cultural and economic wellbeing will produce positive legacies and determine a future entwined with that of the broader nation. In its broadest sense, Whānau Ora is captured in this research theme and is seen as an expression of tino rangatiratanga.

Within two decades two out of five New Zealand children will be Māori or Pasifika and they will play a significant role in shaping 21st century New Zealand and beyond. How we invest our resources now will determine our collective future wellbeing. To capture the potential of all Māori means we must also attend to those who are presently in the margins and work alongside them to become active agents of their own change.

Engaging Māori and their whānau in hard-to-reach communities is critical as these whānau are likely to have a higher risk of inter-generational transfer of social inequalities. Action requires researchers who are involved and trusted in communities and are able to work in trans-disciplinary environments. To achieve significant outcomes, our research methods will be engaging, meaningful, mutually beneficial and transformative. 


Te Reo me Ngā Tikanga Māori: The Māori Language and Protocols

Mā tini, mā mano, ka rapa te whai
With collaboration, worlds can be conquered

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are essential expressions of Māori philosophy, knowledge, practice, identities, and indeed the uniqueness of Māori culture. They will always be critical components of Māori wellbeing.

Māori language, values and practices pervades our entire research programme, and is embedded into the fabric of the work of NPM. Te Reo me Ngā Tikanga Māori has its own distinctive programme of research and action to achieve the goals and outcomes of the centre.

Aspects of language – te reo ōkawa (formal: written or spoken), te reo ōpaki (informal: written or spoken), kupu ā-kaupapa (lexicons), me ngā tikanga o te reo (grammar of the language) – and ngā tikanga Māori (culture and cultural practices), are also acknowledged and woven into the kaupapa of all the above research themes. 

NPM plays a key role in advancing knowledge in this field by bringing together practitioners steeped in mātauranga Māori and contemporary, creative solution-based approaches. Responsibility for the revitalisation and maintenance of the language is shared between Māori and the Crown and this programme will see the development of new techniques and new technologies, alongside capacity building and experience-based succession planning for the future of te reo and ngā tikanga Māori.