Te Rauhī i te Tikanga– A Tikanga Companion

This project is the first stage in designing a rich digital resource, a ‘companion’, to assist those in the learning, teaching and practice of law in Aotearoa New Zealand to understand how tikanga Māori operate as legal norms for Māori communities, and how those norms can and do interact with the general legal system. 

About the project

The New Zealand legal system is undergoing fundamental shifts in regards to the role and importance of tikanga Māori. The courts and Parliament are increasingly recognising that tikanga Māori comprises law in its own right and may be appropriate in resolving disputes between Māori. The Supreme Court has gone so far as to consider that tikanga Māori principles can apply to people who are not Māori. Furthermore, all law schools in Aotearoa New Zealand will be required to include tikanga Māori as a substantive and compulsory element of the law degree from 1 January 2025.

To ensure this shift is a positive one, we consider students, practitioners, researchers and teachers of law will need a substantial resource that will guide them to better understand core concepts and associated practices derived from tikanga Māori.  They will also need to know how to ask the right questions without exploiting misunderstanding or distorting tikanga Māori.  Accordingly we are designing a digital resource, a ‘companion’ to guide those wanting to learn about tikanga Māori and its interaction with the New Zealand legal system.  

This project (Te Rauhī i te Tikanga- A Tikanga Companion) is based at the Law School at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington


Grant amount

$220,000 over 2022 and 2023.


About the leadership group

The leadership group includes Māmari Stephens (Te Rarawa), the project lead and Reader in Law based at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. Dr Carwyn Jones, Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Aitanga a Māhaki, is co-editor of The Māori Law Review, author of New Treaty New Tradition, and is Pūkenga Matua in the Ahunga Tikanga (Māori Laws and Philosophy) programme at Te Wānanga o Raukawa. Paul Meredith Ngāti Maniapoto, was co-editor of Te Mātāpuenga – A Compendium of References to Concepts and Institutions of Māori Customary Law (VUW Press 2013) and is the Deputy Chief Executive, Māori, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision. Tai Ahu, Waikato, Ngāti Kahu (Te Paatu) was recently the Chief Executive of Hineuru Iwi Trust and part-time General Counsel for Te Ohu Kai Moana. Tai is a director of Whāia Legal.



Māmari Stephens, Project lead, Faculty of Law Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington.