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Solving Sustainability Challenges with Te Ao Māori (Māori World View)

Explore the principles of a Māori world view and how indigenous perspectives can help enrich sustainability practices.

A group of young Maori people collaborating in a shared office space

Understand the value of Te Ao Māori

Learning from other cultures gives you the opportunity to question your own assumptions about how the world works. It’s also a chance to draw on knowledge and values that have been validated by generations of practice.

On this four-week course, you’ll explore the Te Ao Māori (Māori world view) to understand how to approach sustainability issues through a different lens.

This course will help you discover how indigenous knowledge and values can help us go beyond reacting to environmental challenges and instead, adopt a mindset for resilience.

Explore the water cycle from a bicultural perspective

As you examine the complex issues of sustainability, you’ll delve into the challenges laid down in United Nations SDG #6 “How to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

To explore this further, you’ll be introduced to Mautauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) as a concept and a method for understanding sustainability from both a scientific and bicultural perspective.

You’ll also learn how to apply design thinking to a sustainability challenge using Māori knowledge.

Discover the importance of Matauranga Māori

Indigenous views in particular explore the symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth – recognising that safeguarding the health of nature is one of the most important ways to protect human health.

With your insight into Matauranga Māori, you’ll uncover how in the realm of climate action and sustainability, indigenous views of the world are of high value.

Learning from the experts at Wintec, you’ll finish the course with a firm understanding of how a bicultural view of sustainability can help us tackle the pressing climate issues we face today.


  • Week 1


    • Lets get to know each other - Whakawhanaungatanga

      Our first activity is to get to know who we all are, introduce you to the course and to be introduced to the tools that we use. We are looking forward to you sharing the journey together.

    • Our Challenge - Te Wero

      What is the context of this course? Lets learn about the challenge that we will use as a base to apply a bicultural lens too.

    • Empathy/Wananga

      The first stage of our process will be Empathy/Wananga. Empathy/Wananga means to gain a deep understanding of the people we are serving. So lets go!

    • Reflection/Āta Whakaaro

      For us to learn we should reflect on the learning that we did. Carry out the activity on the page below.

  • Week 2

    Define our challenge and come up with some ideas

    • Define/Ako

      In this stage we make sense of our findings from the Empathy stage so that we can create fit for purpose solutions. Tau Tikanga means to find the common ground.

    • Ideate/Whakaaro Whanui

      Lets have some fun coming up with potential solutions to our challenge. Whakaaro Whanui means to think broadly - which is what we do in this divergent stage.

    • Introducing Prototyping/Anga Whakamua

      Prototyping is the fourth stage of the Design Thinking process - though we tend to iterate back and forth with User Testing. Anga Whakamua refers to both prototyping and user testing showing the link they have to each other.

    • Reflect/Āta Whakaaro

      For us to learn we should reflect on the learnings that we did. Carry out the activity on the page below.

  • Week 3

    User test and reflect

    • User Testing/Anga Whakamua

      In the final phase we test. When we test our prototypes we seek to understand whether our ideas are desirable, feasible and viable. We test to learn how we can improve our concept or if we need to throw it out completely!

    • Refine and Communicate

      Lets see how we can communicate our solution back to the stakeholders

    • Reflection's of the course

      Congratulations and well done. Lets step back and look over what we have learnt over the last 3 (or more) weeks.

    • Next Steps

      These pages give you an overview of further studies you could take in Maori knowledge and Design Thinking.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply Design Thinking to a sustainability challenge using Matauranga Maori (Maori Knowledge).
  • Discuss Matauranga Maori and link it to your own cultural experience.
  • Examine sustainability from a bicultural and cross-cultural perspective.
  • Apply Design Thinking to the sustainability challenge incorporating Matauranga Maori.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in and motivated to solve global sustainability challenges.

You could be an environmental engineer, a sustainability professional, or you’re simply interested in tackling sustainability in cooperation with indigenous cultures.

Who will you learn with?

Kia Ora, I am an educator in cultural capacity here at WINTEC, Aotearoa, New Zealand.
I was born and raised in the Kingitanga movement and a passionate advocate for Te Reo me nga Tikanga Maori.

I am a Principal Academic Staff member at WINTEC with 20 years experience in tertiary education. Most recently I have been successfully leading Design Thinking teams in solving industry challenges.

Who developed the course?


The Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) is a leading tertiary education provider and one of New Zealand’s largest Institutes of Technology. Established in 1924, Wintec delivers technical, vocational, and professional education across a broad range of qualifications, domestically and internationally.

Te Pūkenga

Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology is the New Zealand governmental network of 16 subsidiary tertiary education providers, which were formerly known as institutes of technology and polytechnics. The network delivers world class professional, vocational, and applied learning from certificate through to PhD level.


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