Towards a fairer and more ‘tika’ political science and politics: Are political science programs equipping students adequately for Aotearoa realities?




Political Science, Māori politics, Indigenous politics, tika, kaupapa Māori, rangatiratanga, kāwanatanga, Māori education


Social and political change is occurring in Aotearoa New Zealand and tikanga, mātauranga, te reo Māori (the Māori language) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) are increasingly being recognised in diverse political and legal contexts. This article explores whether the political science discipline is keeping pace with these political changes, whether research and course content is adequately reflecting these new realities, and if students are appropriately equipped to participate. In particular, we examine the state of university politics programs and outline the form and quantity of Māori politics in the teaching and research of these programs. From the assessment of the current state of politics programs, we make some observations about what changes may be required to ensure politics programs, their students and academics are fully equipped to work in the unique political and legal landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand. Approximately 1% of political science lecturers are Māori, 1% of content taught can be classified as Māori politics and approximately 1% of publications in the New Zealand Political Science journal can be classified as kaupapa Māori politics. This 1–1–1 crisis provides a bleak picture of the existing arrangements in politics programs in Aotearoa New Zealand and must change.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Annie Te One, Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka

Annie Te One (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Mutunga) is lecturer at Te Kawa a Māui School of Māori Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka. Her research interests include Māori and Indigenous politics, mana wāhine and Indigenous feminisms, Indigenous international relations and the intersections between Indigenous political institutions and the state.

Maria Bargh, Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka

Maria Bargh (Ngāti Awa, Te Arawa) is a professor of politics and Māori studies at Te Kawa a Māui School of Māori Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka. Her research interests focus on Māori politics including constitutional change and Māori representation, voting in local and general elections, and Māori resource management economy including renewable energy, freshwater, mining and biodiversity.


Ashworth, C. (2022, April 29). Support of second iwi would stretch Taranaki kaimoana ban to 100 kilometres. NZ Herald.

Bargh, M. (2013). Multiple sites of Māori political participation. Australian Journal of Political Science, 48(4), 445–455. DOI:

Bargh, M., & Malcolm, T. (2022). Te taiao and biodiversity. In M. Bargh & J. MacArthur (Eds.), Environmental politics and policy in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 282–300). Auckland University Press.

Bargh, M., & Tapsell, E. (2021). For a tika transition: Strengthen rangatiratanga. Policy Quarterly, 17(3), 13–22. DOI:

Battiste, M., & Henderson, J. Y. (2009). Naturalizing Indigenous knowledge in Eurocentric Education. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 32(1), 5–18.

Charters, C., Kingdom-Bebb., K., Olsen, T., Ormsby, W., Owen, E., Pryor, J. Ruru, J., Solomon, N., & Williams, G. (2019). He puapua: Report of the working group on a plan to realise the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Te Puni Kōkiri Ministry of Māori Development.

Elkington, B., Jackson, M., Kiddle, R., Mercier, O. R., Ross, M., Smeaton, J., & Thomas, A. (2020). Imagining decolonisation. Bridget Williams Books.

Ellis v. R (2019) NZSC 49/2019.

Falleti, T. (2020). Invisible to political science: Indigenous politics in a world of flux. The Journal of Politics, 83(1), 5–12. DOI:

Ferguson, K. (2016). Why does political science hate American Indians? Perspectives on Politics, 14(4), 1029–1038. DOI:

Fitzmaurice & Bargh (2021). Stepping Up: COVID-19 Checkpoints and Rangatiratanga. Huia Publishers.

Gaudry, A., & Lorenz, D. (2018). Indigenization as inclusion, reconciliation and decolonization: Navigating the different visions for indigenizing the Canadian academy. AlterNative, 14(3), 218–227. DOI:

Goodman, N., Bird, B., & Gabel, C. (2017). Towards a more collaborative political science: A partnership approach. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 50(1), 201–218. DOI:

Gudgeon, P. (2021). Decolonising psychology. In B. Hokowhitu, A. Moreton-Robinson, L. T. Smith & C. Andersen (Eds.), Routledge handbook of critical Indigenous studies (pp. 100–113). Routledge. DOI:

Hindess, B. (n.d.). The very idea of a universal history [Unpublished paper].

Hindess, B. (2006). Terrortory. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 31(3), 243–257. DOI:

Jackson, M. (2013). Research and the colonisation of Māori knowledge. He Pukenga Korero, 4(1).

Jones, C. (2014). A Māori constitutional tradition. New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law, 12(1), 187–204.

Jones, C. (2020). Tikanga Māori in NZ common law. LawTalk, (943), 20–21.

Kuokkanen, R. (2007). Reshaping the university: Responsibility, indigenous epistemes and the logic of the gift. University of British Columbia Press. DOI:

Ladner, K. (2017). Taking the field: 50 years of Indigenous politics in the CJPS. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 50(1), 163–179. DOI:

Markham-Nicklin, H., & Wharehoka, T. (2021, July). Legal education – Reflecting on a bijural, bilingual and bicultural law degree. Māori Law Review.

Mataamua, R. (2021). Matariki and the decolonisation of time. In B. Hokowhitu, A. Moreton-Robinson, L. T. Smith & C. Andersen (Eds.), Routledge handbook of critical Indigenous studies (pp. 65–77). Routledge. DOI:

McAllister, T., Kidman, J., Rowley, O., & Theodore, R. (2019). Why isn’t my Professor Māori? A snapshot of the academic workforce in New Zealand universities. MAI Journal, 8(2), 235–249. DOI:

McGill University. (2017). Truth and reconciliation at McGill.

McRae, J. (1984). The function and style of ruunanga in Māori politics. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 93(3), 283–293.

Mercier, O., Asmar, C., & Page, S. (2011). An academic occupation: Mobilisation, sit-in, speaking out and confrontation in the experiences of Māori academics. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 40(1), 81–91. DOI:

Mikaere, A. (2005). The Treaty of Waitangi and recognition of tikanga Māori. In M. Belgrave,

M. Kawharu & D. Williams (Eds.), Waitangi revisited (pp. 330–348). Oxford University Press.

Mill, J. S. (1962). Civilization. Essays on politics and culture (G. Himmelfarb, Ed., pp. 51–84). Doubleday & Company. (Original work published 1836)

Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. (2007). Vision Mātauranga.

Moosavi, L. (2019). Decolonising criminology: Syed Hussein Alatas on crimes of the powerful. Critical Criminology, 27, 229–242. DOI:

Morar, M. (2021). Ka whawhai tonu mātou: Intellectual work and the settler-colonial university [Unpublished LLB Hons research paper]. Victoria University of Wellington.

Mutu, M. (2010). Constitutional intentions: The Treaty of Waitangi texts. In M. Mulholland & V. Tawhai (Eds.), Weeping waters: The Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional change (pp. 14–31). Huia Publishers.

New Zealand Council of Legal Education. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2021, from

New Zealand Political Studies Association. (n.d.). Political Science. Retrieved 26 October 2023 from

Ngata, T., (2019). Toppling Cook: On remembering vs misremembering. Overland, (236), 44–48.

Public Service Act 2020 section 14.

RadioNZ. (2021, November 30). Rāhui on pāua fishing around Waiheke Island starts 1 December. RNZ.

Ruru, J. (2018). First laws: Tikanga Māori in/and the law. Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, 49, 211–228. DOI:

Ruru, J., & Nikora. L. M. (2021). Ngā kete mātauranga: Māori scholars at the research interface. Otago University Press.

Ruru, J., Turei, M., Jones, C., & Quince, K. (2020). Inspiring national Indigenous legal education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Bachelor of Laws degree: Phase One [Project report]. Borrin Foundation.

Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies. Zed Books.

Smith, A., Funaki, H., & MacDonald, L. (2021). Living, breathing settler-colonialism: The reification of settler norms in a common university space. Higher Education Research & Development, 40(1), 132–145. DOI:

Smith, K., Napan, K., Perkinson, R., & Hunter, R. (2021). Practicing democracy from childhood: Democratic praxis in te ao Māori. Democratic Theory, 8(2), 19–38. DOI:

StatsNZ. (2019). New Zealand’s population reflects growing diversity.

StatsNZ. (2021). Mana Ōrite Relationship Agreement.

Stephens, M. (2013). A loving excavation: Uncovering the constitutional culture of the Māori demos. New Zealand Universities Law Review, 25(4), 820–843.

Takamore v. Clarke (2012) NZSC 116.

Te Arawhiti. (n.d.). Guidelines for engagement with Māori.

Te One, A. (2021). Kaupapa Māori politics. In J. Hayward, L. Greaves & C. Timperley (Eds.), Government and politics in Aotearoa New Zealand (7th ed., pp. 103–113). Oxford University Press.

Te Wake, W. (2022, February 28). Te kahu o te raukura – A call of protection and peace for Wellington. Te Ao Māori News.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Final report.

Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), 1–40.

Watene, K. (2020). Transforming global justice theorizing: Indigenous philosophies. In T. Brooks (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of global justice (pp. 163–180). Oxford University Press. DOI:

Williams, C. (2022, February 6). Rāhui tapū placed over Hauraki gulf to allow depleted scallop beds to recover. Stuff.

Williams, J. (2013). Lex Aotearoa: An heroic attempt to map the Māori dimension in modern New Zealand law. Waikato Law Review, 21, 1–34.

Xavier, S., Jacobs, B., Waboose, V., Hewitt, J. G., & Bhatia, A. (2021). Decolonizing law: Indigenous, third world and settler perspectives. Routledge. DOI:




How to Cite

Te One, A., & Bargh, M. (2023). Towards a fairer and more ‘tika’ political science and politics: Are political science programs equipping students adequately for Aotearoa realities?. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 52(2).