Skip to main content

Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku programme

Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku 

Pānui tēnei i roto i te reo Māori

Ko tā te Wānanga he maioha, ko tā te Maire he tāpiri, ko tā te Tapere he manako,
Ko tā te Tū Tauā he tiaki, ko tā te tangata he whai.

The house of knowledge grows intellect, the house of arts and crafts brings unity, the house of song and dance gives hope and aspiration, the house of weaponry brings courage and strength, the purpose for mankind is to succeed


The Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku programme provides $24.5 million over three years to fund at least 18 diverse initiatives which will support iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities to safeguard at-risk mātauranga from the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

The programme was first announced in May 2020 as part of the Arts and Culture Covid Recovery Programme with $20 million in funding for two years. This was extended in July 2022 for a further year with an additional $4.5 million.

The pandemic has brought into sharp focus significant existing risks to mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge systems), which is central to Māori cultural identity and wellbeing, and of vital importance for Aotearoa.

This mātauranga is, in many cases, held by a small number of knowledge holders and arts practitioners – often kaumātua – who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Among the initiatives funded through Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku are wānanga and training programmes, as well as initiatives that increase access to mātauranga and taonga in national heritage collections. Within the $24.5 million programme there is also contestable funding, which will support new projects that protect and revitalise mātauranga Māori, including the $9.2 million Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund.

These initiatives are being coordinated by government and cultural agencies with specialist expertise around mātauranga and taonga Māori, and their preservation and conservation. These agencies are working in partnership with arts practitioners and whānau, hapū and iwi to deliver the initiatives across the motu.

The agencies involved in Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku are: Creative New Zealand Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Te Matatini, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand and and Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs.


Initiatives funded through Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku

Below is a list of the diverse initiatives funded through Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku.

More information on each initiative will be available on the coordinating agency’s website in the new year.

For general updates on Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku as well as the other initiatives in the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme being led by Manatū Taonga, you can subscribe to the programme newsletter. For general enquiries please contact: [email protected]


Ongoing Initiatives

Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund

Coordinating agency: Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs

This contestable Fund provides $9.2 million over three years to support iwi, hapū and whānau with projects that protect and revitalise mātauranga and taonga on marae.

The Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund offers support for a range of marae-based projects. This includes, for example, the development of conservation plans for whare and wharenui arts, the establishment of harvest areas for cultural materials such as pā harakeke and tōtara, and the preservation of taonga such as waka tīwai, korowai and photographs. Funding is also available to assist with the creation of archives, small whare taonga or publications as a way to both preserve and provide access to taonga and mātauranga on marae.

The Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund has been developed in partnership between Manatū Taonga, Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. It is being administered by DIA. As at July 2021, the Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund has granted $6.5 million to 116 projects.

More information about the next round of the Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund will be available later in 2022.

Community digitisation wānanga of at-risk audio-visual taonga

Coordinating agency: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

This wide-reaching community digitisation project is designed to save at-risk audio-visual material stored on magnetic media, which degrades over time. Ngā Taonga are providing training and field kits that iwi across the country can use to preserve their own audio-visual mātauranga for future generations.

More information: ngataonga.org.nz 

Revitalising Māori built heritage conservation mātauranga

Coordinating agency: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

This programme focuses on joint projects with iwi, hapū, marae hapori, tohunga, pūkenga and kaitiaki to support and revitalise vulnerable areas of mātauranga. These include place-based hanga whare mātauranga and practice (traditional arts and whare building construction), taonga and mātauranga related to mahinga kai, māra kai and waka.  

These programmes are delivered through pūkenga-led wānanga to develop practices and knowledge within community networks to retain, conserve and sustain mātauranga. Small grants in this area are also accessible to all iwi, hapū, and hāpori Māori.

More information: heritage.org.nz 

Revitalising Mātauranga Māori in ancestral landscapes (wāhi tapu and wāhi tupuna)

Coordinating agency: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

This programme focuses on joint projects with iwi, hapū, marae hapori, tohunga, pūkenga and kaitiaki to support and revitalise vulnerable mātauranga areas relating to wāhi tapu and wāhi tupuna. Through pūkenga-led wānanga, project participants will explore the use of publications, on-site interpretation, cultural mapping and hīkoi to revitalise ancestral landscape histories, pūrakau and pakiwaitara.

Small grants in this area are also accessible to all iwi, hapū, and hāpori Māori.

More information: heritage.org.nz 

Taonga conservation wānanga programme

Coordinating agency: Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

Te Papa are coordinating taonga conservation wānanga with iwi, marae, hapū, whānau and Māori conservators from the museum sector. The initiative empowers iwi Māori as kaitiaki of their taonga and promotes succession planning for the small pool of Māori conservators who work directly with iwi, hapū and marae.

More information: tepapa.govt.nz 

Wānanga series on endangered mātauranga Māori practices

Coordinating agency: Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

Te Papa are holding a series of wānanga for tohunga and emerging artists on endangered mātauranga Māori related to taonga in Te Papa collections, including toi moko, taonga raranga, toki, hīnaki and kākahu. This initiative will improve access and connection for iwi Māori to their taonga and mātauranga and support the revitalisation of these endangered artforms.

More information: tepapa.govt.nz 

Virtual capture, access and tour of taonga

Coordinating agency: Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

Te Papa are supporting two Iwi in Residence to develop and produce a virtual tour of their exhibitions, starting with Rongowhakaata and the exhibition Ko Rongowhakaata Ruku i te Pō, Ruku i te Ao. The initiative will produce a digital record of the taonga and mātauranga in the exhibitions which will be provided to the Iwi in Residence, so that uri (descendants) can access the taonga and kōrero from their exhibitions wherever they reside, beyond the term of the Iwi in Residence.

More information: tepapa.govt.nz 

Recording and sharing of Taikura Kapa Haka regional performances

Coordinating agency: Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

Taikura Kapa Haka is an annual celebration of haka and waiata, performed by kaumātua from across Aotearoa. Usually held at Te Papa during Matariki, COVID-19 has uncertainty to this live event. This joint project between He Kura Te Tangata Trust, iwi and haahi groups has instead allowed for performances by participating Taikura rōpū to be filmed at their respective kāinga, for broadcast during Matariki in 2021 and 2022.

More information: tepapa.govt.nz 

Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund

Coordinating agency: Creative New Zealand Arts Council of New Zealand To Aotearoa

The Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund provides funding to support marae, hapū, iwi, whakapapa-based rōpū and mātāwaka to protect, cultivate and retain mātauranga Māori related to heritage ngā toi Māori (Māori arts) and foster the distinctive arts and cultural practices and knowledge of hapū and iwi.  

More information: creativenz.govt.nz 

Protection and retention of critically endangered artforms – Tārai Waka

Coordinating agency: Creative New Zealand Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Led by tohunga, pūkenga and collectives of senior and emerging practitioners, this initiative promotes the retention and revitalisation of Tārai Waka (waka building knowledge), a critically endangered artform. The programme is being developed by specialists in the building of waka and the generational transfer of mātauranga and skills pertaining to Tārai Waka.

More information: creativenz.govt.nz 

Protection and retention of critically endangered artforms – Taonga Pūoro 

Coordinating agency: Creative New Zealand Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Led by the Haumanu Collective, a national body of practitioners who work with Taonga Pūoro (traditional Māori musical instruments), this initiative  supports the revival which started in the early 1980s led by the late Dr Hirini Melbourne and many others to ensure the mātauranga, cultural and artistic practices associated with Taonga Pūoro can be retained and revitalised to flourish.

More information: creativenz.govt.nz 

Cultural agency internship programme

Coordinating agency: Te Matatini and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ngā Taonga and Te Matatini are coordinating paid internships programmes, providing opportunities within their respective areas of work. The Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision internships will support the development of iwi capability through the provision of access to iwi mātauranga and taonga. The internships at Te Matatini will support the Te Matatini national Kapa Haka Festival.

More information: ngataonga.org.nz or tematatini.co.nz 

Kapa haka regional wānanga

Coordinating agency: Te Matatini

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata Festival 2021 has been postponed to 2023, leaving a gap in the kapa haka calendar. This gap has limited opportunities for transmission of mātauranga Māori amongst kapa haka communities. The Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku initiative enabled Te Matatini to provide financial support to the teams who qualified for the 2022 national festival. This funding allows each team to host a series of wānanga to maintain momentum in their practise and the transmission of mātauranga through waiata, mōteatea, poi and haka, as well as support continued community participation and connectivity.

This initiative complemented funding allocated directly to Te Matatini through the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme to support a programme of 12 regional kapa haka ngahau (non-competitive) events in 2021.

More information: tematatini.co.nz 

Application of Traditional Knowledge Labels to national documentary heritage collections (pilot)

Coordinating agency: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

In partnership with Whakatōhea, Ngā Taonga supported a pilot programme applying Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels to taonga Māori held by Ngā Taonga and other cultural heritage institutions. TK Labels are an internationally recognised archiving tool, designed to help Native, First Nations, Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples assert their intellectual property rights; add important context to cataloguing; and ensure appropriate use of and access to their mātauranga and taonga.

More information: ngataonga.org.nz 

Preservation and digitisation of Tangata Whenua Film series

Coordinating agency: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ngā Taonga undertook the preservation, digitisation and description of the iconic six-part television series Tangata Whenua (1974), as well as preserving and compiling the non-broadcast interviews footage. This project was delivered in consultation with relevant kaitiaki, whānau, hapū and iwi.

More information: ngataonga.org.nz 

Completed Initiatives

Protecting, nurturing and growing mātauranga toi in rohe

Coordinating agency: Creative New Zealand Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival

This initiative provided support for Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival to protect, nurture and grow the mātauranga toi and ngā toi Māori within Te Tairāwhiti, with a specific focus on working with tohunga, pūkenga and emerging practitioners in rāranga, uku and whakairo. The Festival’s role as an organisation is to connect local artists with audiences, provide platforms for stories that need to be told, create spaces that uplift community, and curate moments packed with aroha.

This initiative provided support for Toi Ngāpuhi to retain at-risk mātauranga related to whakairo and to build a foundation of pūkenga and practitioners of Te Taitokerau who hold this knowledge and mātauranga o ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi. Toi Ngāpuhi works across Te Taitokerau in the Far North through its broad networks to protect and revitalise the distinctive Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu cultural heritage, expressions and identity; improve hapū wellbeing through cultural expression; establish benchmarks of cultural integrity and authenticity; and foster talent and opportunity.

More information: creativenz.govt.nz 

Continuation of Te Tai Whakaea Treaty Settlements Stories programme

Coordinating agency: Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Te Tai is a digital storytelling programme that aims to increase understanding of the past by exploring Treaty settlements and their enduring impact. It preserves the stories of iwi and people who played key roles in settlements through audio-visual interviews, and publishes authoritative, accessible multimedia histories online. This funding accelerated the pace at which Manatū Taonga and iwi were able to research and produce stories over 2020-21. Te Tai continues to be supported by Manatū Taonga.

More information: teara.govt.nz/en/te-tai 



Updated on 11th August 2022