Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts

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Tihei Mauri Ora!

Unique to Massey University, the Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts encompasses contemporary Māori art, Māori language, Māori culture, and tikanga

What is it like?

Massey was the first - and is still the only - University to offer degrees in Māori Visual Arts. All degrees at Toioho ki Apiti are taught with a strong Māori kaupapa, with te reo, tikanga, and manaakitang at their core.

Toioho ki Apiti faculty recognise that language, culture, tikanga and art are intertwined and inseparable. We cater for all levels of proficiency in te reo whether you have grown up through kohanga and kura or are an absolute beginner.

As a Māori visual arts student you will develop perceptual and conceptual skills in two- and three-dimensional art practice alongside a cultural foundation for verbal and visual communication. Exhibitions and community courses allow you to interact with the broader Māori community to further develop your awareness and understanding of relevant issues. Over time you will develop your own art practice that is deeply grounded in culture. As well as Maori, we have students of Pakeha and international indigenous heritage who want to explore a kaupapa-driven approach to contemporary art.

The BMVA will provide you with:

  • A culturally-based education in design
  • Two and three-dimensional art theory and practice
  • Discussion on art issues relating to the development of Maori art
  • Development of your perceptual and conceptual skills
  • A cultural foundation for verbal and visual communication
  • Interaction with the broader Maori community through exhibitions and community programmes

Exhibitions and cultural opportunities

The BMVA experience can be a rewarding and rich cultural encounter.

BMVA students are encouraged to become involved in Maori cultural activities, including noho marae, waiata sessions, kapa haka, participation in powhiri, and attendance at hui.

Third and fourth year students are required to exhibit their work in a professional manner. Their exhibitions are considered to be among the highlights of the year. They are held towards the end of the second semester and are open to whanau, the wider University, and the public.

The standard of work has been uniformly high and attracts very favourable comment from visitors and art critics. Much of the work is sold during the exhibitions, introducing students to the commercial side of visual art and providing experience in marketing and presentation.

International recognition

When you join Toioho ki Apiti, you become part of the internationally recognised College of Creative Arts - ranked in the top 100 by QS University rankings, second in Asia Pacific for design concept by Red Dot. The College of Creative Arts is also NASAD approved as Substantially Equivalent.

If you are an international student, please check out how to apply.

Living in Manawatu

The BMVA is offered at Massey’s Palmerston North campus., which has many relaxed green spaces. Most BMVA students choose to be part of Manawatahi - the Maori Students’ Association on campus - and consider them to be whanau. There is safe student accommodation available on site.

Toioho ki Apiti has a particularly strong, long-standing relationship with Te Manawa in Palmerston North; the gallery regularly hosts exhibitions of work by students, staff and alumni. We also offer opportunities to visit art galleries, museums and cultural events in other centres.


Toioho ki Apiti First Year Tuition Scholarships

$5000 each for up to ten students. Apply by 30 November.

We offer $5000 scholarships for first year Maori Visual Arts students. For details of this and other scholarships, check the College of Creative Arts website.

How to plan your degree

There is more detail under the “Planning” tab at the top right of this page, and at

How to apply

The Application due date to start in February 2019 is 1 October. Late applications will be considered subject to space being available.

International applications

It is recommended that international students apply at least three months before the start date to allow for processing.

A good fit if you:

  • Want to express your identity through art
  • Enjoy making and thinking creatively
  • Seek a supportive, whanau environment for learning
  • Want to be mentored by respected contemporary Māori artists
  • Value the international credibility that comes with a university degree
Student profile photo
Puawai Taiapa-Aporo
Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Kauwhata, Rakahanga (Cook Islands)
Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts
Graduated in 2016
Presenter on television show Pūkana

“It gave me the skills to express myself, new passion gained through my art pieces, and confidence in where I come from, in my pepeha…”

From art student to television presenter, Massey University graduate Puawai Taiapa-Aporo has found her groove, thanks to her Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts.

Puawai’s role as presenter on iconic youth television show Pūkana grew from her passion for performance art developed at Massey.

“When I started I was really passionate about painting but the course also offers other art forms like photography and media studies. So over the years my focus changed and I started creating videos. The amazing lecturers are open to different whakaaro, different types of work and you’re appreciated for your ideas. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the BMVA…it gave me the skills to express myself, new passion gained through my art pieces, and confidence in where I come from, in my pepeha.”


The Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts can lead to a number of rewarding and interesting careers:

  • Teaching Māori art at secondary or tertiary levels
  • Gallery work
  • Museum work
  • Work in design-related industries
  • Work in Iwi and Māori cultural development
  • Work as an artist

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