Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

MAORIHTH 710 - Kaupapa Māori Theory

15 Points

Semester 1



Kaupapa Māori Theory (KMT) underpins a range of approaches employed to ensure policy, research and intervention processes emphasise Māori ways of knowing and being and work to prevent the further marginalisation of Māori. Students learn about the development of KMT and its use in the context of Māori health and development. They experience and learn from a range of initiatives and projects that have KMT at their core.


Prerequisites: MAORIHTH 301 or 701

Restriction: MAORIHTH 702 

Course aims and outline

Kaupapa Māori Theory (KMT) aims to encourage academic practice that is cognisant of the central role of theory in underpinning policy and interventions, and informing research practice. This course is designed for students who are interested in critical approaches to Māori development and Māori health.


Goals of the course

Students will be supported to develop an understanding of the relationships between knowledge, power, and colonisation, focusing especially on frameworks that label themselves as Kaupapa Māori theory. Particular attention will be paid to developing critical thinking and critical reflection skills. With these skills, students will build an understanding of processes and contexts that are transformative for indigenous peoples or risk marginalisation. Students will use this understanding to critique population health practice, including teaching, analysis, ethics, research, evaluation and interventions.

Students will be encouraged and supported to read widely on this subject, develop critical reflective practice, and present their work in written and oral presentation formats.


Learning outcomes 

On completion of this course students should be able to:

• Understand what is meant by theory and its role in science and academic practice

• Understand relationships between science, knowledge, power and academic practice, including processes of marginalisation and colonisation

• Reflect on various theoretical positions and how indigenous peoples are represented within these

• Describe one’s own theoretical positioning

• Describe the origins of Kaupapa Māori theory

• Outline positions of Kaupapa Māori theorists and reflect on how these resonate with one’s own worldview

• Critically analyse population health approaches using Kaupapa Māori theory

• Develop skills in critical reflection and self-directed learning


Content outline

Day One: Knowledge, power and science – ways of knowing 

Knowledge systems

Knowledge, power and science

Colonisation and marginalisation


Day Two: Re-presenting Māori health 

Colonisation and representation

Representing Māori and Māori health


Day Three: Kaupapa Māori (Theory) – definitions and principles 

Colonialism, marginalisation and liberation

Development of Kaupapa Māori theory


Day Four: Kaupapa Māori Theory – ways of seeing and being 

Kaupapa Māori Theory - contexts and contestations

Kaupapa Māori Theory and population health


Day Five: Positioning and researcher standpoint 

Critical thinking and self-reflection

Sites of resistance and transformative population health

Additional information

Teaching methods include lectures, interactive discussions, on-line discussions and small group work, organised around 5 teaching days (see details below). Guest lecturers are involved in the course. Course resources will be available to students online through CANVAS and through the library.


Campus Teaching Dates 

Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.


Learning Resources 

Students will have online access to CANVAS pages for this course (which is our online Student Learning Management system) from the first week of the semester. These pages will provide an overview of the course, assessments, teaching content, readings and resources.

Students are encouraged to find additional resource material to support learning and required assignments. Library and computer facilities with internet are available to students. Support in developing internet skills and library usage is included in the orientation package.

The key required text for this course is:

Smith, L.T. (2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples (second edition). London & New York: Zed Books.



The assessment is based on regular reading reflections, and three written assignments. The relative weightings are shown below:

• Assignment 1: Reading reflections, regular contributions throughout the course, 40%

• Assignment 2: Critical discussion piece, (1000 – 1500 words), 15%

• Assignment 3: Critical self-reflection, (1000 – 1500 words), 15%

• Assignment 4: Essay, (2500 – 3000), 30% 


Programme and Course Advice 

This course is a required course for the Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma in Public Health in Māori Health and an optional course in general Health Science programmes including the Masters of Health Sciences.

Prerequisite: Students need to have taken MAORIHTH 301 or MAORIHTH 701 before taking this course.

Restriction: Students who have already taken MAORIHTH 702 are not permitted to enrol in this course.

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator