Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

MAORIHTH 301 - Māori Health and Practice

15 Points

Semester 1



Māori health knowledge is used to develop effective public heath practice for Māori contexts. Areas of focus include critical thinking, reflective practice, advocacy and the application of Kaupapa Māori principles.


Prerequisite: MAORIHTH 201
Restriction: POPLHLTH 201

Course Description

This course is intended to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills required to effectively operate in a health sector that seeks to improve Māori health and reduce ethnic inequalities in health. Māori experience significantly poorer health than non-Māori in Aotearoa/New Zealand: these pervasive inequalities represent a breach of the rights of Māori on many levels. International conventions note the right to health as part of the Universal Human Rights, a theme echoed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Treaty of Waitangi.

The course is founded on the assertion that Māori health is for everyone. The implication of this is that everyone in the New Zealand health sector has a responsibility to address Māori health in the context of improving the health of all people. It is important that health professionals continuously strive to create a positive difference for Māori. In order to do so, health professionals need to be able to engage competently with Māori individuals, whānau and communities. This course will provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge, skills and networks in this area.

This course aims to build on foundational knowledge gained by students to date. In particular it seeks to:

• strengthen understanding of historical issues;

• provide greater insights into contemporary initiatives;

• inspire a commitment to improving Māori health and eliminating Māori health inequities;

• and provide a platform for lifelong learning in Māori health.

Key Course Objectives

By the conclusion of the course, each participant will be expected to:

1. Participate in Māori protocol.

2. Describe how the Māori population is defined in terms of ethnicity, ancestry and indigeneity

3. Explain the relevance of New Zealand’s history to the contemporary health and well-being of Māori.

4. Provide arguments for intervening to improve Māori health and reduce inequalities, including an analysis of national and international treaties and other rights-based instruments.

5. Describe, in general terms, current Māori health status and Māori:non-Māori inequalities in health.

6. Critically appraise approaches to research, policy and health service provision in terms of their impact on Māori health.

7. Describe key principles in Kaupapa Māori health development.

8. Engage in a continuous process of reflection on their own practice and actively participate in self-audit in respect of the Treaty of  Waitangi.

The student will also be expected to have acquired skills in:

1. Participating in a pōwhiri process.

2. Participating appropriately in a marae setting.

3. Introducing themselves in te reo Māori.

4. Ability to connect broader determinants of health, including colonisation, to contemporary health outcomes.

5. Self-reflective practice.

6. Locate, evaluate and interpret information on Māori health issues.

At the conclusion of the course the student should have an appreciation of:

1. Māori culture.

2. Their own culture and its influence on their worldview.

3. Historical and contemporary impacts on Māori society and health outcomes.

4. The relevance of te Tiriti O Waitangi on Māori health outcomes.

5. Key Māori health inequities.

6. Kaupapa Māori theory and practice as a means to address health inequities.

Course Structure

There are two one hour lectures and one hour tutorial each week.

The course comprises four modules, as follows:

Module 1: Understanding Māori culture and Māori contexts

In this module we provide a broad overview of Māori culture, Māori history and the multiple contexts in which Māori live today. A profile of the Māori population before and after European arrival will be presented, including demographic characteristics and social, cultural, political, economic and physical environments. It is important to understand how the Māori population is defined and explore multiple expressions of Māori identity including ‘indigeneity’. As part of this module you will have the opportunity to engage with Māori protocol via participation in a pōwhiri on a marae. This module provides foundational knowledge of Māori culture so that students can be better prepared to operate within Māori contexts and respond to Māori health challenges within their future roles as health practitioners.

Module 2: Understanding the Treaty of Waitangi

This module involves an in-depth exploration of the Treaty of Waitangi and the relationships between the Treaty, indigenous rights, human rights and health. We will discuss what the Treaty says and present a history of key events and issues. A case study of local hapū Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei will be presented to demonstrate the process of colonisation and the effect of Treaty breaches on their development. The power of protest within New Zealand’s history, the role of the Waitangi Tribunal and Treaty settlements and the implications of Treaty breaches on the determinants of health and health outcomes are reviewed.

Module 3: Understanding Māori health inequities

This module presents a summary of key Māori health inequities. Advanced exploration of less common (but very important) drivers of inequity is facilitated by reviewing racism and privilege in the context of international and national evidence. Understanding the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of how to contextualise Māori health inequities is pivotal for health science graduates who intend to have a role in the health sector.

Module 4: Understanding Kaupapa Māori

‘Kaupapa Māori’ is the conceptualisation of Māori knowledge and is connected to Māori philosophy, theory, principles and models of health. This module examines Kaupapa Māori approaches in a range of health sector activities, such as research, policy and health service provision. It is important to understand how Māori solutions can be applied to address critical public health problems, and to reflect on the roles of both Māori and non-Māori health workers in these contexts.

Lifelong learning can, and should continue and is expected that this course is only the beginning of your journey towards becoming a competent health practitioner who is able to understand, describe, monitor and intervene appropriately to address Māori health inequities.

Course Assessment

Assignment 1  15% 
Assignment 2  25% 
Assignment 3  20% 
Final Examination  40% 

Lecture Schedule



Session Title

Module 1: Understanding Māori Culture and



Introduction to Course and Māori society

The Māori population - pre and post-European contact


Definitions of being ‘Māori’ 

Colonisation -  Ngāti Whātua Case Study Part 1


Rituals of encounter - the Pōwhiri

Marae visit 

Assignment 1 Due  

Module 2:

Understanding the

Treaty of Waitangi


Introduction to the Treaty and Ngāti Whātua Case Study Part 2

The Treaty of Waitangi – Background Context/Articles


The Treaty of Waitangi – Relationship to Health Outcomes

The Waitangi Tribunal and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Module 3:


Māori Health Inequities

Mid-Semester break  


What are the key inequities in Māori health?

Assignment 2 Due 


Deconstruction exercise






Case Study: IHD


Reflective Practice – What is my role in Māori health?

Module 4:


Kaupapa Māori


Kaupapa Māori ‘Theory’


Assignment 3 Due 


Kaupapa Māori ‘Models of Health’

Kaupapa Māori in ‘Health Policy’


Kaupapa Māori in  ‘Research’

Guest lecture


Course Review – Pulling it all together

Tutorial Schedule

Week  Module  Topic 



Te reo Māori and mihimihi



Preparation for marae visit/Assignment One



Marae visit during tutorial time



Treaty of Waitangi



Treaty of Waitangi/Assignment Two



Deconstruction exercise/ Māori health inequities



Deconstruction exercise/Racism



Deconstruction exercise/Privilege



Reflective Practice/Assignment 3



Kaupapa Māori



Kaupapa Māori



Exam preparation

Recommended readings/textbooks

A list of recommended readings is given for each session. Students will be expected to have read these prior to the sessions, and to be prepared to discuss the issues and questions arising from them.

Most readings will be available on the library resource page: http://coursepages.library.auckland.ac.nz/maorihth/301/

Some readings may not be provided due to copyright restrictions.

Useful websites

Resources for learning te reo Māori can be found at: http://www.korero.maori.nz/forlearners/

A Māori dictionary can be found at: http://www.maoridictionary.co.nz/

Additional information

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator