Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, the School of Māori Knowledge provides an academic focus for Māori cultural, educational, social and economic development. We seek to retain and develop New Zealand's heritage and contribute to the advancement of indigenous peoples.


Although the School of Māori Studies was not established until 1988 with the appointment of Professor Sir Mason Durie, its origins go back further. In 1971, Professor Hugh Kawharu was awarded a personal Chair and founded the Department of Social Anthropology and Māori Studies. Working under his direction the late Hone Kamariera, Ted Nepia and Te Pakaka Tawhai helped lay the foundations for the School of Māori Studies up until June 2013.


On Saturday, 8 June 2013 the former School of Māori Studies, Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, and the School of Māori & Multicultural Education, Te Uru Maraurau, merged to form a new School known as Te Pūtahi-a-Toi – the School of Māori Art, Knowledge and Education. This merger is the culmination of a three year period of discussion and consultation that was begun by Professor Emeritus Sir Mason Durie.

From 1 January 2015 the Māori Visual Arts Programme moved to the College of Creative Arts but Staff will still be located in Te Pūtahi-a-Toi.

February 2018 the School name changed to Te Pūtahi-a-Toi - School of Māori Knowledge.


The School complex, Te Pūtahi-a-Toi was opened in 1997. It is located on Bourke Road on Turitea Campus, Palmerston North. Within Massey University, the School of Māori Knowledge is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and contributes to programmes in the Colleges of Business and Science and the Institute of Education.


The School has active links with iwi and the wider Māori community, and participates in hui, wānanga, conferences and seminars. Strong connections have been built with heritage communities at regional and national levels, and an academic leadership role is taken in the Museum Studies programme.

Consultation on aspects of Māori development is provided to local and central government, art and cultural centres and educational institutes. Staff also serve on a variety of advisory and planning committees.

Our networks extend to Māori Studies departments and wānanga elsewhere in New Zealand and to teaching and research institutions with common aims and methodologies. Agreements have also been forged with indigenous studies centres and departments in Norway, Canada, the US and the Pacific (including Hawai'i) and with museums internationally. These agreements facilitate student exchanges, joint research and information sharing.

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